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The Ups and Downs of Central American Politics

Central American News
The Ups and Downs of Central American Politics
By Central American News • Issue #46 • View online

Dear Readers,
 Welcome back to another week of Central American news. This week, the news has been edited by Jonathan and Rodrigo.
 Honduras has faced national protests against education and healthcare reforms and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was found to be investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega has diplomatic deadlines to meet and possible sanctions to confront this month.
Further north, migration from Central America continues to overwhelm U.S. immigration facilities and asylum seekers remain in inhospitable and illegal conditions with a trans-Salvadoran asylum seeker who died while in U.S. custody on the first day of Pride Month. President Trump threatened Mexico with new tariffs until Mexico hinders migration. Mexico is seeking more diplomatic solutions. 
El Salvador, however, is brimming with hope. A new president has arrived and with him, the expectation for a new country free from corruption. Nayib Bukele, a young, digitally connected president who claims to be above the left-wing and right-wing divide and political parties, was sworn in a public square in El Salvador. There are some concerns about his communication style and renewed relations with the United States.
Thanks for joining us, readers, for another edition of Central American News.
Salú,
 The Central American News Team
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The newsletter was born with the vision of making Central American news accessible to all because we believe that information is power. Not only that, we want it to reflect what is happening from the ground up instead of only focusing on what matters to external countries - like the stereotypical coverage of only migration or violence.
Photo of the Day
Tires burn at the entrance of the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa on May 31. Photographer: Orlando Sierra/AFP
Tires burn at the entrance of the U.S. embassy in Tegucigalpa on May 31. Photographer: Orlando Sierra/AFP
Headlines
Migration
📰 Overcrowded Facilities: Many unaccompanied migrant children have been held in overcrowded U.S. Border Patrol facilities beyond the legal time limit of 72 hours for minors 12 or younger. The Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General found overcrowding and unsanitary conditions at an El Paso Border Patrol facility that held between 750 to 900 detainees in a facility with a maximum capacity for 126 people.
📰 Tariffs on Mexico: President Trump said he would impose a 5 percent tariff on imported goods from Mexico, that would “gradually increase”, until the Mexican government reduces the flow of migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. This threat of new tariffs on Mexico made automaker stocks drop. Mexican President Lopez Obrador stated that Mexico will not be provoked and will pursue dialogue with a delegation to Washington.
📰 Trans Migrant: Trans Salvadoran asylum seeker Johana “Joa” Medina died in U.S. custody on the first day of Pride Month.
📰 Migrants in Panama: The indigenous village of Peñita receives many migrants from Cuba, Nepal and Haiti who stop there on their way to the U.S.

Guatemala
📰 U.S DHS Agents to Guatemala: Trump Administration will deploy Department of Homeland Security agents and investigators to Guatemala to attempt to slow migration from Central America, with collaboration with the Guatemalan government.
📰 Jimmy Morales: Guatemalan President, Jimmy Morales attempts to penalize social activist Roberto Rímola for “insult and defamation” based on comments made by the activist at the 5th Labor Congress in 2018.
📰 Influence Peddling: Four witnesses gave testimonies in the “Influence Peddling” case, in which the Vice President of Congress, Felipe Alejos, was named as an intermediary.

Belize
📰 Opinion: Citizen calls to file a complaint against Guatemala at the UN Security Council  for border tensions at the Sarstoon River.
📰 Hurricane: The Mayor of Belize City and the Belizean Coast Guard brace themselves for hurricane season beginning June 1st.
📰 Eco-resort: Leonardo DiCaprio’s will open his Blackadore Caye island eco-resort in 2020 celebrating this as an important moment in the environmental movement.

Nicaragua
📰 New Poll: 62% of citizens call for anticipated elections as a solution to the sociopolitical crisis and an increasing number of respondents demand that Ortega resign, according to a recent Gallup Poll.
📰 Chinese investments: Nicaragua sends a delegation to People’s Republic of China to seek funds for public projects at forums organized by the Chinese government. Nicaragua still maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but “no Taiwanese bank wants to be involved in the transfer" of loans to Nicaragua “for fear of being sanctioned by the US.”
📰 Diplomacy: Here is a recap of all the diplomatic fronts and accords the Nicaraguan government will grapple with this June, including OAS, USA, UE, the release of political prisoners and the end of contract of the intercontinental canal.

El Salvador
📰 New President: Nayib Bukele was sworn in as the new president of El Salvador in a public ceremony early Saturday morning. During his inaugural speech, President Bukele called for “unity” from his constituents to better the country. Sympathizers of Bukele booed lawmakers and former President Sánchez Cerén.
📰 Amnesty Law: The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) orders the Legislative Assembly to immediately suspend attempts to pass the "reconciliation” law, stating that it conflicts with the State’s obligation to secure justice for the victims of the El Mozote massacre. The President of the Legislative Assembly says that they cannot follow through the order of the CIDH.
📰 1932 Massacre: The Supreme Court settles lawsuit with a relative of three indigenous people detained by state forces during the infamous 1932 indigenous massacre, opening the door for descendants of those disappeared and murdered to seek truth and justice.

Honduras
📰 National Strike: Strikers called for the repeal of government’s decrees that would privatize health and education sectors.” The private sector also asked the President to eliminate the decrees of Health and Education. Protestors lit tires on fire in front of the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa. Over the past two days, protestors on strike were met with massive repression from police forces, resulting in the UN High Commissioner’s Office in Honduras expressing concern about the heavy use of tear gas and firearms against protesters.
📰 President: Juan Orlando Hernandez was named in court documents as a target of “large-scale” DEA drug trafficking and money-laundering investigation. // A “March for Peace” was held Saturday in the capital city, where sympathizers of the National Party are showcasing their support for the current president.

Panama
📰 Constitutional Referendum: President Cortizo aims to reach a referendum to amend the constitution within this year to obtain “one of the most complete constitutional changes since 1972.”
📰 Green Bonds: The Panamanian Stock Exchange is the first in Latin América to join the Climate Bonds Partners Program, that develop and bolster standards in green bonds to address climate change.
📰 Park Guardians: The story of the justicieros del bosque or guardaparques (Park Guardians) who protect the forests and animals near the Panama Canal every day at all hours.

Costa Rica
📰 Sexual Harassment in Universities: Student groups declared on Monday a “state of emergency” in Costa Rican universities due to the reported increase in cases of sexual harassment and violence against women at institutions of higher education.
📰 Sergio Rojas: Professor of International Law Nicolas Boeglin Naumovic provides an analysis on state inaction and the involvement of human rights mechanisms following the murder of indigenous leader Sergio Rojas.
📰 Pesticides: Contrary to their desired effect, pesticides have actually increased mosquito numbers because mosquitoes evolve resistance while their predators, such as the damselfly, do not, according to a new study in Costa Rica.
Toma de Posesión in El Salvador
A boy dressed as El Salvador's new president Nayib Bukele is seen amid a crowd of supporters attending the new leader's inauguration ceremony in downtown San Salvador (AFP Photo/Oscar Rivera)
A boy dressed as El Salvador's new president Nayib Bukele is seen amid a crowd of supporters attending the new leader's inauguration ceremony in downtown San Salvador (AFP Photo/Oscar Rivera)
Good Reads
💡 As officials want to limit access to the National Police Archives because they contain “sensitive” information relating to “national security,” this op-ed in Prensa Libre argues that such limitations are a threat to historical memory.
📚 This investigation by Centro de Estudio para la Democracia (CESPAD) provides context on the protests against education and healthcare reforms in Honduras.
💬 In an interview with Revista Factum, Salvadoran investigator Jeannette Aguilar compared police forces in El Salvador and Nicaragua and argues that the creation of a “state of terror” in both countries has enabled security forces to terrorize the public with impunity.
📚 Rewire.News has created a three-article series on the treatment of pregnant migrants under the Trump administration’s immigration policies. The most recent article describes how newborn babies are taken from migrant mothers before returning the asylum seeking mothers to detention.
💬 Maya scholars, activists, and peoples denounce the deaths of indigenous children and youth seeking asylum in the U.S. and demand justice as well as an alleviation of the conditions that force Maya indigenous migration to the U.S.
Multimedia & Art
🎥 “Surgeries done under the light of cellphones.” Dr. Suyapa Figueroa explains why Hondurans are protesting in the streets in  a video by AJ+.
🎥 Piccen is the “Central American Netflix,” a special portal for cinema from Central American producers and directors. In this first phase the catalog is mostly short films and documentaries. Read the interview with the founder.
Quote of the Week
“The @FUERZARMADASV is ordered to immediately remove the name of Colonel Domingo Monterrosa, from the Third Infantry Brigade Barracks, in San Miguel.”
Nayib Bukele, El Salvador’s new president, gives his first presidential order via twitter. Colonel Domingo Monterrosa is responsible for El Mozote massacre in 1981.
The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder and Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua News
Jonathan Campos Peraza, Migration News
Jalileh García, Honduras News
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador News
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News
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