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Salvadoran Transwoman to Run for Regional Parliament

Central American News
Salvadoran Transwoman to Run for Regional Parliament
By Central American News • Issue #109 • View online

Dear Readers,
In Februrary 2021, Salvadorans will not only vote for their national parliament, but also for regional representatives at the Central American Parliament (PARLACEN). One of the candidates running is Alejandra Menjívar, from the left-wing party FMLN. She appears to be the second transwoman to run for this political body, after Honduran candidate Kendra Jordani in 2017.
“I made the decision to compete for the Central American Parliament, because I think we must also look beyond national [borders], the region is more connected than we think, because undoubtedly in all countries of Central America there are similar situations for all people of sexual diversity,” Menjívar told Washington Blade.
PARLACEN has had the reputation of being an ineffective body composed of nearly-retired politicians - something Menjívar wants to change. Her party, the FMLN, too, has lost prestige, especially since 2017, due to allegations and charges of high-level corruption.
Yet, the candidacy of Alejandra Menjívar - along with a recent turning point within the Salvadoran justice system, as three policemen were sentenced for the murder of Camila Díaz - marks a positive step for transgender peoples’ rights and perspectives in El Salvador, a country where violence and discrimination against the LGBTQI+ population are rampant.
Keep on reading our news of the region! And follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
Photo of the Week
Alejandra Menjivar launching the #PrideFest of El Salvador, 2014.
Alejandra Menjivar launching the #PrideFest of El Salvador, 2014.
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Central America
📰 Taiwan: Taiwan lends US$130 million to the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) to finance small and medium businesses affected by COVID-19 in Central America.

📰 COVID-19: Now with almost 900 active cases of the virus, Belize’s border may be set to stay closed for the remainder of 2020.
📰 Indigenous Communities: Indigenous communities are being hit the hardest by COVID-19 due to not being able to travel for work and not having internet access to apply for federal assistance, among other reasons.
📰 Labor Amendment Bill: The Chamber of Commerce is pushing the Government of Belize to revise their recent Labor Amendment Bill draft, which was rejected by unions for not reflecting employee rights.

Costa Rica 
📰 Use of masks: The Health Ministry announced that starting on September 9, wearing only a “face shield” is no longer going to be sufficient in spaces where face masks are required.
📰 Anti-COVID-19 protests: Dozens of people marched in San José towards the presidential palace to protest against the health measures made by President Carlos Alvarado in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
📰 Tourism: Tourism Minister Gustavo Segura announced that Costa Rica will be accepting tourists from more states from the U.S. starting on September 1st.

El Salvador
📰 Breaking Barriers: Alejandra Menjívar, a transwoman, is running for office in the Central American parliament. Menjívar began her work for social change in 2008 as an advocate for LGBTQ+ people. She has been Secretary of Sexual Diversity for the left-wing FMLN party since January of this year.
📰 Disappearances: The Attorney General’s office registered 824 missing people in the first half of 2020. That is lower than the registered number of missing people during the same period in 2019. An average of 4 to 5 Salvadorans go missing each day.
📰 One out of Seven: The guild of medical professionals reports that more than 100 healthcare workers, including 53 doctors, have died from COVID-19 in the country. One out of seven reported deaths from the virus in El Salvador are medical professionals. 
📰 El Mozote: A judge for the investigative court of San Francisco Gotera issued a measure to protect the archives that documented military communications involving El Mozote massacre, called one of the most atrocious crimes in the country’s past. 
📰 Indigenous Territories: Three indigenous communities have recovered ownership of their ancestral lands this past year, but other communities are still fighting obstacles such as narcotrafficking, hydroelectric projects, and racism for the right to their land.
📰 Laguna Larga: The 111 families that were evicted from their homes and settled on the border between Guatemala and Mexico are surviving during the pandemic thanks to a Mexican paramedic Elmer “El Gringo” Córdova while still waiting for humanitarian relief and assistance from Giammattei’s administration.
📰 Justice: Fugitive and former Minister of Infrastructure, Housing and Communications, Alejandro Sinibaldi, turned himself in on August 24. He worked under President Molina and is allegedly connected to major corruption cases. He will be facing charges of money laundering and bribery.
📰 COVID-19: Coronavirus cases have reached 73,679 cases and the director of the Presidential Commission for Emergency Care of Covid-10 (COPRECOVID) is planning the protocol to open La Aurora Airport for travelers.
📰 Human Rights Defenders: An open letter was sent to President Giammattei demanding that the State of Guatemala create a protection policy for human rights defenders which had been ordered six years ago by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

📰 Berta Cáceres Case: David Castillo, one of the alleged masterminds of Berta Cáceres’ murder, will have an oral and public trial by order of the Court of First Instance. Berta’s family and human rights organizations celebrate this step towards justice, truth, and reparation.   
📰 COVID-19: In five months of the pandemic, more than 40 doctors and 26 nurses have died. Meanwhile, the figures pertaining to COVID-19 given by the State do not reflect the reality on the ground, denounced Doctor Suyapa Figueroa. 
📰 Labor Violations: More than 42 sweatshops companies in northern Honduras are laying off workers who are pregnant or have a medical condition, the coordinator of the Honduran Women’s Collective Codemuh denounced. 
📰 “Development” Zones: After the installation of the first Zone for Employment and Development (ZEDE) in Roatán by a U.S. development group in coordination with the Honduran government, citizens face a lot of uncertainty due to the lack of consultation at the local and national level. There has been no referendum to approve the project, and the right of the people to know the socioeconomic and environmental consequences has been violated. 

📰 Migrants and exiles: Three out of four Nicaraguan refugees in Costa Rica are hungry, eating only once or at most twice a day, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). // “Face of the rebellion” and activist Valeska Alemán, twice a political prisoner in Nicaragua, was deported from the United States. The US State Department “supports” the fight for democracy in Nicaragua but U.S. Customs deports Nicaraguan activists. // Eleazar Blandón’s body is repatriated from Spain, where he had died due to harsh working conditions on a farm. Her sister, Ana Blandon, will remain in Spain to seek justice. // 97 Haitians migrating to the United States are waiting to enter Nicaragua, despite the restrictions to enter Nicaragua. 
📰 COVID-19: At least 18 political prisoners are ill with coronavirus symptoms. // The Russian ambassador declared that Russia considers it “possible” to produce COVID-19 cure in Nicaragua’s laboratories. 
📰 Business: Nicaragua is the most complex country to do business in Central America.

📰 COVID-19: Panama exceeds 90,000 cases of the new coronavirus within a population of four million; 18 new deaths are reported. However, the fatality rate, is 2.2%, the third lowest in America.
📰 Stranded Nicaraguans: Approximately 300 Nicaraguans who are stranded in Panama due to the COVID-19 pandemic could miss their repatriation trip if the rains do not stop. They must cross the Costa Rican territory within the 72 hour window to present the negative COVID-19 test that Nicaragua requires for their entry. Nicaragua’s government demands such negative test but is not supporting or helping citizens obtain this test. 
📰 Politics: A criminal complaint was filed against Mauricio Valenzuela, political activist and director of media outlet Foco Panama, by political official Roberto Gómez Posso from the PRD party. Valenzuela allegedly hurt Posso and stole his identification documents after exiting a restaurant bar. If punished, Valenzuela could face a prison sentence of seven to twelve years for robbery and another four to six years for personal injury.
📰 Cuban Doctors: Plans by the Cortizo Administration to hire Cuban specialist doctors to support intensive care units in Panama were halted after receiving a visit from national security officials from the United States, a key commercial partner, and national health unions.

📰 Detention in Hotels: The Trump administration has continued its use of hotels to detain migrant children for deportation despite public outcry. At least 660 minors have been detained in this secretive detention system. 
📰 Trump’s views: Former Department of Homeland Security official Miles Taylor recounts how Trump devised schemes to hurt migrants entering the U.S.; he would have even suggested a heat ray to deter them. // Taylor said that Trump offered presidential pardons to DHS officials who carried out illegal policies at the border. // President Donald Trump announced he is nominating Chad Wolf  to lead the Department of Homeland Security. 
📰 ICE: Vietnamese refugee and Virginia jail overseer Tony Pham was named the new leader of ICE, officials say.  // A fifty-year old Honduran migrant who contracted COVID-19 in ICE custody has died at a Texas hospital. // Migrants in ICE detention have avoided reporting COVID-19 symptoms due to fear of being placed in solitary confinement
📰 Immigration Policy: The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program continues to be under attack by the Trump administration. // U.S. restrictions to hand work permits to asylum-seekers is increasing their risks of homelessness and hunger.  
Our COVID-19 Map
Click on the image to see updated official data. For Nicaragua, we have included suspected cases.
Click on the image to see updated official data. For Nicaragua, we have included suspected cases.
Good Reads
📌 US Intervention’s Impact in Nicaragua: “Despite Ortega’s rather surreal transformation over the years, his political platform has maintained one common thread: its anti-imperialist rhetoric” (The Globe Post).
📌The CIA’s Fake News Network in Guatemala: An investigation into the fake news network orchestrated by the CIA to overthrow President Colonel Guzman in the 1950s and the playbook they wrote on how they did it. (Narratively)
📌Justice for Camila: The trial for the murder of Camila Díaz broke, for the first time, a pattern of impunity that dates back to the mid-1990s: 600 cases of murder against the LGBTI population remain without justice (El Faro). 
📌COVID-19 Testing for Nicaraguans: Women in San Francisco’s Bay Area in California raise funds to provide COVID-19 tests for stranded Nicaraguans in Costa Rica (El Tecolote
📌Redesigning the Brooklyn Bridge Involves a Guatemalan forest: “Replacing the bridge’s wooden walkway with sustainable tropical wood shows, in the words of the architect, that ‘the city takes responsibility for the global nature of its networks.’” (Fast Company)
Black Heritage in Central America
This image, from Afro Guatemalan-Salvadoran artist Breena Nuñez, “is part of a larger comic that gives voice to the experience of many Black people in the Latin American community and beyond, through its recognition of the historical factors that contribute to our understanding of Black heritage” - From Put In Black Instagram.
"Whose interest is it to silence the bones of Guatemala?"
Hoy 30 de agosto es Día Internacional de las Víctimas de Desapariciones Forzadas y
recordamos esta historia:
¿A quién le interesa callar los huesos de los desaparecidos de Guatemala?
Central American Voices, Events & Studies
🎙️Berta Cáceres Murder: In the Thick podcast talks with journalist Nina Lakhani about the legacy of Berta Cáceres and how racism, misogyny, and capitalism played a role in her murder. 
✍️ Panamanian Jazz in the time of COVID-19: The Panama Jazz festival is presented in a digital format this year. The “Panamá Jazz Festival Online Series” aims at relieving the stress felt during the pandemic. Tickets range between $5-$10 per performance during the festival which will run from August to November.
📅 September 2, 2020: Author and co-founder of the first Central American Studies program in the country at CSU Northridge, Roberto Lovato, will discuss his memoir Unforgetting: Family, Migration, Gangs, Borders and Revolution in the Americas with Haymarket Books.
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The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder, Editor-in-Chief // Rodrigo Peñalba, Editor & Nicaragua News // Melissa Orellana, Editor // Jonathan Peraza Campos, Migration News // José Martínez, Podcast Producer, Social Media Officer // Natalie Leach, Social Media Officer // Cecilia Rivas, Podcast Co-host // Isabeau J. Belisle Dempsey, Belize News // Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News // Pablo Arauz Peña, El Salvador News // Jalileh García, Honduras News // Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News // Fátima Ramírez, Panama News // Nicole Ramsey, Writer // Jacqui Martinez, Guest Art Curator
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