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"The Revolution of the Beaners"

Central American News
"The Revolution of the Beaners"
By Central American News • Issue #122 • View online

Dear Readers,
Guatemalans continue to demand the resignation of President Giammattei and legislators. The movement is now dubbed La Revolución de los Frijoleros (literally, the “Revolution of the Beaners”) after Congressman Rubén Barrios dismissed the protestors as “beaners”. The protestors were first indignant at the insult, then appropriated the word with #FrijolerosUnidos, which has spurred a lot of creativity in the protests. For breaking news in English, follow Sandra Cuffe and Jeff Abbott. In Spanish, follow Prensa Comunitaria and Ruda.
In this newsletter, you’ll also find how the U.S. suspended the deportation of detained women who allege non-consensual gynecological procedures and medical abuse at Irwin County Detention Center or how the U.S. organized regional forces to arrest 700 alleged gang members. Updates on the damage of the hurricanes in Honduras and Nicaragua are also covered.
Check out the cultural news this week – the Salvadoran short film “Imperdonables” applied for the Oscars and Nicaraguan singer Ceshia Ubau released a new single.
Salú,
Melissa
Social discontent in Guatemala is growing (Movilización 24N. Nelton Rivera)
Social discontent in Guatemala is growing (Movilización 24N. Nelton Rivera)
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Headlines
Central America
📰 Organized Crime: More than 700 members of transnational criminal organizations– primarily MS-13 and Barrio 18 gangs–were arrested in Central America with the United States’ assistance Operation Regional Shield (ORS).

Migration
📰 Migrant Defense: Through extensive political advocacy, the U.S. has agreed to pause the deportations of detained women who allege non-consensual gynecological procedures and medical abuse at Irwin County Detention Center. //  After being profiled and detained by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent two years ago for speaking Spanish, two women have reached a settlement in their lawsuit against the Trump administration.
📰 Detained Children: The same day that a federal judge blocked the Trump administration from turning away children at the border, the Trump administration deported 33 unaccompanied children back to Guatemala.  // In the past two months, CBP held dozens of children, including infants, in poor medical conditions at the border. 
📰 ICE: Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been relying on a mobile fingerprinting app to assist with tracking and deportation in the field. 
📰 Biden: As the Biden administration transitions into the presidency, Biden’s team prepares to deal with the many anti-immigrant policies enacted by the Trump administration. 

Guatemala
📰 Protests: This past Saturday, protests called “#28N” were held demanding the resignation of the president and political officials. Indigenous authorities from Solola also called for mobilizations. This peaceful protest was dubbed the “Revolution of the bean eaters” after Congressman Rubén Barrios dismissed the protestors as “bean eaters” earlier this week; through frijolero memes and selfies, protestors banded together as #FrijolerosUnidos. Thousands continue to demand his resignation on November 30 by blocking a highway. Giammattei promised a dialogue that included think tanks and the private sector.
📰 Giammattei’s Highway Promise: Giammattei’s administration is working on a highway to the municipalities of Santa María de Jesús, Sacatepéquez, and Palín, Escuintla, where his family owns buildings and land.
📰 La Pasión River: Following Eta and Iota, the municipality of Sayaxché, in southern Petén, has been cut off from land access and the only way to travel to and from Sayaxché is by boat. Local authorities had previously demanded a bridge to cross the Pasión River, but a budget that Giammattei promised for the project hasn’t been granted yet.

Belize
📰 COVID-19: Prime Minister John Briceño, Belize’s newly-elected leader, has tested positive for COVID-19. He is urging Belizeans to follow government protocols, including the new nightly curfew. As of 25 of November, there were over 5,000 active coronavirus cases.
📰 Politics: The government plans to present a budget plan to address the Central Government’s massive debt, a response to COVID-19, and relief for damages caused by Hurricane Eta. // Prime Minister Briceño has released a list of people he will appoint to his cabinet, raising concerns among some Belizeans over the integrity of the new government. 
📰 Forgotten Children: UNICEF is leading a campaign in Belize to help get unregistered children and adults birth certificates so that they are given full access to their rights as Belizean citizens.

Costa Rica 
📰 Sexual Harassment: The “Law Against Harassment or Sexual Harassment in Employment and Teaching” is moving through the legislative assembly. If passed in the second debate, employers of any workspace will have to guarantee public access to an updated registry of their workers with sanctioned, criminal or administrative sanctions for conduct related to sexual harassment.
📰 Economic Recovery: The government reported a sign of economic recovery since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, whereby data from the Finance Ministry indicated that tax collection during the first half of November increased by 2.2% compared to the same period in 2019.
📰 Asylum: The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the European Union presented an initiative called “Improving the protection of Nicaraguan asylum seekers in Costa Rica whose objective is to strengthen the system and expand assistance to asylum seekers and refugees in the country.

El Salvador
📰 Femicide Rate: El Salvador reported a lower femicide rate in 2020 so far than the previous year, according to statistics from the National Civil Police. But an anti-violence group says the pandemic is deteriorating Salvadoran women’s quality of life. The UN called on El Salvador to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for violence against women.
📰 Mass Arrests: Salvadoran authorities arrested more than 700 people accused of being involved in gang activity. The mass arrests were part of a regional effort to target gang control in the region.
📰 Sexist Violence: Attorney General Raúl Melara says President Nayib Bukele asked him via Twitter not to prosecute Walter Araujo, who is accused of sexist violence, and is running for office in the legislative assembly.
📰 Economic Loss: The Ministry of Finance says the country will have lost more than $900 million by the end of the year as a consequence of the pandemic.

Honduras
📰 Hurricanes Eta & Iota: More than three million Hondurans were affected by Hurricanes Eta and Iota according to authorities. // Many families living in the most vulnerable neighborhoods in Tegucigalpa lost their homes due to landslides caused by flash floods. // There are approximately $10.3 million  (250 billion lempiras) in damage to infrastructure and homes after the passage of Eta and Iota. Approximately 125 road points were damaged
📰 Corruption: The Sentencing Court on Corruption acquitted the nine defendants in the “Patuca III Collusion and Corruption” case, which involved crimes that caused a loss of $165,000.00 (four million lempiras). 
📰 Mel Zelaya: The Honduran ex-president and main opposition leader, Mel Zelaya, was detained in the Toncontin Airport in Tegucigalpa after authorities allegedly found $18,000 in his bag that he had not declared to customs. He was released eight hours later. If found guilty, he would have to pay a fine. 
📰 Violence: Honduras will close the year as the most violent country in Central America. 

Nicaragua
📰 Politics: The National Assembly dismissed deputy María Fernanda Flores from the opposition party, Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC) at the request of people from the same party. However, this removal did not follow legal procedure, since only the Supreme Electoral Council can remove deputies, not the Legislative Power. Flores is the spouse of former president Aleman, accused of corruption and of negotiating political agreements with Daniel Ortega. This not only affects PLC factions but the overall opposition strategy for 2021, experts say.
📰 Control of the media: Documents reviewed by Reuters show millions in state advertising at family broadcasters even as those channels dodge taxes. The government uses tax laws to squeeze rival outlets.
📰 Hurricanes: Losses by Eta and Iota amount to more than $742 million, according to the regime. A preliminary damage report shows that more than three million people were exposed to Hurricane Iota, which caused losses in 56 municipalities. The hurricanes have also caused damage to 15 natural reserves in the country, areas that were already undergoing a process of deforestation.

Panama
📰 COVID-19: The government has stockpiled unproven drugs for COVID-19. Scientists are alarmed that the purchase of over 2.9 million doses of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin has been approved. These drugs will be in a kit for people who have the virus and are self-isolating. // Despite rising cases, Panama has one of the lowest death rates in the region alongside Cuba.
📰 Serial Killer: Courts reduced the sentence of serial killer and two-time prison escapee, Gilberto Ventura Ceballos, from 50 to 30 years. Between 2010 and 2011, he killed five people of Chinese descent in La Chorrera. As the criminal is Dominican, the court indicated that this was done because of the Dominican Republic’s extradition laws. 
📰 Education: For the 2021 school year, students will have four hours of in-person classes as part of a hybrid education model.
Imperdonable
The Salvadoran short film won its category at the International Documentary Film Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA). It is now competing for the Oscars. The film is a love story between two former gang members and inmates and their fight against the prejudices of their gang, the church and the state.
Good Reads
📌Sweatshops: “The Government of Honduras subsidizes maquilas while not protecting their workers during the pandemic" (Contracorriente).
📌Honduras Drowns:  Hurricanes, poverty, and COVID have buried the Central American country, which is moving back 20 years after three weeks of rain (El País).
📌Legal Abortion: Struggles for the decriminalization of abortion in Central America: reflections on the argumentation and predominant narratives. (La Lupa)
Ceshia Ubau
Nicaraguan singer and songwriter Ceshia Ubau released her latest single, “Declaración (Manifesto)“, on the fight against gender violence.
Nicataguan singer Ceshia Ubau’s new single, “Declaración”, now on Spotify.
Nicataguan singer Ceshia Ubau’s new single, “Declaración”, now on Spotify.
Central American Studies & Multimedia
🎓 Better Journalism: A book to stimulate reflections among students and journalists on the need to report sexist violence: “Another Form of Journalism is Possible: Reports that Portray Gender Violence in Nicaragua.“
🎧 Interview with Carlos Martinez: Hurricanes Eta and Iota have hit more than five countries and affected the lives of millions of people. Journalist Carlos Martinez from El Faro tells us about the misery and corruption that he found in the rubble (El Hilo Podcast).
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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. 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. Irene Ledezma, Panama News. Jacqui Martinez, Guest Art Curator
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