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Central American News
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By Central American News • Issue #66 • View online

Dear Readers,
Multiracial Belizean-American writer Kayla Angela Alamilla wrote for Remezcla on how her father’s identity had to be circumscribed in U.S. censuses as either “Other” or “Hispanic.”
Her story shines a light on how Belizeans struggle in colonial and U.S.-made identity boxes and pitches in the broad discussion of how Latin Americans, and their descendants, choose to identify themselves.
In the future, perhaps Central Americans could have the opportunity to first personally define their identity without having the exterior world impose their own view on them. What do you think?
Thanks for following Central American News and see you next week!
Salú,
The team
P.S.: We are looking for a social media team member and an editor ! So if you want to share Central American news with a growing audience or help edit the newsletter, reply to this email with your résumé and a paragraph or two of why you would like to join the team.
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Photo of the Week
Belize’s first female drum-maker: Daytha Rodriguez crafting a drum | © Jessica Vincent
Belize’s first female drum-maker: Daytha Rodriguez crafting a drum | © Jessica Vincent
Headlines
Migration
📰 Detention: U.S. Justice Department announced plans to collect DNA samples from migrants crossing the border to create a database of them. // U.S. immigration authorities separated more than 1,500 children from their parents at the Mexico border raising the total to over 5,400 separated children since July 2017. // Trump administration is implementing an experimental pilot program to expedite processing and deportation of asylum seekers in a matter of days while in detention.
📰 Immigration Authority Violence: A Honduran woman alleges in a federal lawsuit that an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent threatened her with deportation if she did not have sex with him and impregnated her three times. // The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) retrieved documents that report years of coercion, abuse, and violence from Border Patrol agents against migrant children in U.S. custody. 
📰 Keeping Secrets: Attorneys claim that ICE deleted surveillance footage featuring transgender asylum seeker Roxsana Hernandez who died in ICE custody while a wrongful death lawsuit is pending. // Human rights expert discovered secretive ICE detention centers that are holding child migrants. // ICE officials secretly deported a veteran who served in Iraq to El Salvador, his attorney says.  
📰 Resistance: Hundreds of physicians and healthcare workers in the U.S. plan to march to the White House to protest the Trump administration’s treatment of migrants and asylum seekers.
Panama
Students against Reform: The Constitutional reform passes to the third debate. University students protest against constitutional reforms as it would threaten university autonomy. The reform also keeps the marriage “a man and a woman”.
📰 The Canal: The Panama Canal Authority presented its annual account, which presents the highest result in a hundred years, with a revenue of 3.365 million dollars.
📰 Money Laundering: The Financial Action Task Force keeps Panama on the grey list of countries with strategic anti-money laundering deficiencies.
📰 Tourism: The government plans new measures to contribute to the tourism industry, which has not grown this year. 
Honduras
📰Drug-Trade: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) believes Tony Hernandez “funneled millions of dollars of drug proceeds to National Party campaigns to impact Honduran presidential elections in 2009, 2013 and 2017.“ His brother, Juan Orlando, won the presidency in the two last occasions. // People took to the streets to demand that Juan Orlando Hernandez leave power. // An imprisoned drug-trafficker was murdered whose ledgers were key evidence against Tony Hernandez and could also implicate President Hernandez. 
📰U.S. Relations: Michael Kozak, the Latin American representative for the U.S. Department of State, referred to Honduras as a “reliable partner.” // U.S. delegations met with the Honduran government to follow up on the migration agreements signed in September.
📰 Corruption: The Honduran National Congress approved two decrees which will allow Congressmen to liquidate projects and negotiate irregularities in particular cases. The anti-corruption body, Maccih, expressed their concern saying that these decrees will have “a negative impact on the fight against corruption. ”
📰Land defenders: Seven land defenders are kept in the maximum-security prison of “La Tolva” despite two judicial orders to release them, lawyers say. Organizations are demanding their transfer out of that prison.
📰 Lencas: The population of the area next to El Salvador - mostly of the Lenca indigenous ethnicity - took the decision to form their territory as a "Lenca provisional self-government”, after a popular consultation.
Guatemala
📰Maya Ixil Genocide Case: Former Head of Military Operations, Colonel César Octavio Noguera Argueta, was arrested and will be charged in relation to the Maya Ixil genocide case along with former Army chief and former head of intelligence.
📰 Indigenous peoples: A Congressional committee presented initiative 5416, “the Indigenous Peoples Consultation Law.” This initiative grants the State the power to decide what should be consulted and who should be consulted. Self-consultation would be illegal. Indigenous authorities reject this agreement because they were never consulted on this initiative and it would end the free self-determination of peoples.
📰 La Asunción Case: Ludwin Jacob Sandoval Jerez filed a lawsuit against the survivors of the case of the tragedy at the Virgen de la Asunción. The complaint alleges that the minors have committed 15 offences, including murder, disobedience, aggravated arson and aggravated robbery.
📰 Security: Guatemala’s incoming government plans to replicate the security plan adopted by El Salvador in an attempt to reduce gang violence and crimes.
Nicaragua
📰 Energy: Electricity subsidies will disappear for settlements and slums in 2020 and the price of energy has risen 16% in just the last year.// The Government will hold large businessmen accountable by reforming the Energy Stability Law. It aims to open criminal proceedings against clients who have defaulted their debts.
📰 Unemployment: Over 500,000 Nicaraguans are currently unemployed; The Economic Unit believes this number could rise in the year 2020 because of political and economic factors. 
📰 Refugees: Attaining jobs and health services are the biggest obstacles for refugees in Costa Rica. // Madelaine Caracas, a student leader in exile, opened a painting exhibition in San José, Costa Rica to reflect on her personal experiences as part of the resistance. Axel Palacio Molina, 15 years old, finally found safe shelter after escaping police violence.  
Costa Rica
📰 Finance Minister resigns: Costa Rican finance minister Rocio Aguilar officially resigned on Wednesday. She is accused of authorizing public debt payments last year without congressional approval.
📰 Strikes: The Constitutional Chamber wants the Costa Rican Congress to fix its bill on strikes. However, suspending the wages of strikers is legal when the protest has not been declared legal.
📰 Security: Seven members of a Costa Rican gang accused of carrying out two bomb attacks at the headquarters of the Legislative Assembly and on a television channel were arrested Tuesday in a series of raids in Cartago, authorities said.
📰 Abortion Rights: The President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado pledged to approve in the coming weeks a rule that guarantees access to therapeutic abortions in the case of risk to the health or life of women, but evangelical lawmakers and the Catholic Church have mobilized against it.
El Salvador
📰 Water: The Environmental Fund of El Salvador believes that by 2021 there will be “a precarious situation of water in the rural area.” // Water shortages are scheduled in Gran San Salvador metropolitan area from Friday 25th to Thursday 31st; the water authority and the Minister of Defense are distributing 100,000 water bottles in the colonias and places affected by the interruption of the service due to maintenance of the water treatment plant The Pavas.
📰 Violence: Homicide rate continues to decrease according to national figures and last Friday closed with 0 homicides, President Bukele tweeted. //The Minister of Justice and Public Security, Rogelio Rivas, said that there are signs of business and political involvement behind the upsurge in homicides on Sept. 20 and 21.// Gang members force families to abandon their homes in Santo Tomás and extortion continues.
📰 Mister Donut: Court orders reopening of two Mister Donut restaurants. Mister Donut restaurants were closed early October because of sanitary and working conditions, while suspicions arose about President Bukele’s role in closing restaurants owned by a political critic.
Los Angeles’ Black Panamanian Community
[Link on photo] The Black Panamanian community celebrate the parade of independence in Los Angeles, California.  Photo courtesy of Fernando Mendez Corona
[Link on photo] The Black Panamanian community celebrate the parade of independence in Los Angeles, California. Photo courtesy of Fernando Mendez Corona
Good Reads
🗨️ Belize. Remezcla writes on the complicated relationship between Belizeans and ethnic labels like “Latinx” and “Hispanic.”
🔎 Honduras. Contracorriente shares the intricacies of the construction of the Palmerola International Airport, which is currently being built in the city of Comayagua, Honduras. The contract has been given to Lenir Perez, a businessman with ties to cuestionable mining companies. While the government has high hopes for international investment, some people who live in the area fear that they will be displaced and will not be able to access jobs at the Palmerola Airport. 
🔎 Nicaragua. Confidencial has a three part report on the situation of social security - which had ignited the spark of social protests in 2018 - in Nicaragua:
🖊️📷 El Salvador. Disappearances presumably caused by gang violence or extrajudicial police killings are reviving Cold War fears in a community ravaged by the violence of the civil war, the Washington Post reports.
🗨️ The Border. A staff reporter from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) expresses her observations of the conditions that asylum seekers in Ciudad Juarez and Matamoros are enduring as the U.S. dismantles its asylum system. 
Multimedia
🎧 Central America Talks. The Central America Talks podcast has a new episode:“Honduras Narco State Wonderland”: In this episode they make a summary of the trial on the South District of New York against Tony Hernández, Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernández’s brother. Tony was declared guilty of four charges of drug trafficking. What does this mean for Honduras?
📺 Zero Tolerance. Frontline produced videos and an interactive platform featuring interviews with government officials, immigration advocates and activists, journalists and scholars - including Steve Bannon and Jonathan Blitzer - as part of their “Zero Tolerance” project.
Business
💲 Doing Business in Central America: In the ranking that monitors the conditions that entrepreneurs find to do business, Guatemala was the only country in the region that improved its position, while the others retreated.
The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua News, Editor
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador News, Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News
Jonathan Peraza Campos, Migration News
Jalileh García, Honduras News
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News
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