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Three for One

Central American News
Three for One
By Central American News • Issue #65 • View online

Dear Readers,
“Guatemala, Honduras & El Salvador have all signed historic Asylum Cooperation Agreements and are working to end the scourge of human smuggling. To further accelerate this progress, the U.S. will shortly be approving targeted assistance in the areas of law enforcement & security,” U.S. President Trump said on Twitter.
The “targeted aid” - which bundles up Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador - promotes the vision of seeing these countries as a bloc, thereby erasing each country’s history and specificities. And one of these specificities is, for example, how the brother of the president of Honduras just got convicted on charges of drug trafficking.
Although there are many, many things to say about the agreement that leverages the lives of migrants with more U.S. security aid under the shadow of economic dependency, let’s be aware of the narrative of “packaging” Central America, and mainly, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. It enforces a specific perception on the region and promotes erasure. These countries are not “three for one.”
If you have any thoughts about this, pleaser reply and let us know!
Salú,
The Central American News Team
P.S.: We are looking for a volunteer for our social media accounts! So if you like to tweet and want to share Central American news with a growing audience, 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
"A young person holds a sign that says "Guilty," an allusion to the trial of Tony Hernandez in New York. Tegucigalpa, October 18, 2019." Contra Corriente/ Martín Cálix
"A young person holds a sign that says "Guilty," an allusion to the trial of Tony Hernandez in New York. Tegucigalpa, October 18, 2019." Contra Corriente/ Martín Cálix
Headlines
Migration
📰 Aid: The U.S. restored “targeted” aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras after migration deals. This comes after warning Guatemala that it must reach a migration agreement with the U.S. to receive development aid.
📰 Treatment of children: Documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) reveals years of alleged abuse of minors by Border Patrol agents while the youth were held in custody. // Since January, the U.S. government has ordered 16,000 underage migrants, including nearly 500 infants, to wait with their families in Mexico for U.S. immigration court hearings.
📰 Protests in Mexico: Nearly 200 people in Mexico gathered to protest the Mexican government’s plan to convert an empty building into a shelter for asylum seekers waiting for their cases to be heard in the U.S. // Immigrant rights groups protested the detention of hundreds of migrants in southern Mexico, declaring “We are not the Wall” (“No somos el muro”). // Caravan of 2,000 Central American, African, and Caribbean migrants marched to Mexico City to demand that the president take action on the precarious legal status of migrants in Mexico.
Honduras
📰 Drug Trafficking: Honduran President’s brother is found guilty of drug trafficking in U.S trial in New York. Witnesses at the trial describe how drug money buys protection at the highest level of Honduran politics.
📰 Denial: Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández said that he received news of his brother’s conviction with “great sadness” because it was a trial based “on testimonies of confessed murderers.” He said his government will continue to work with U.S. authorities to fight against drug trafficking. 
📰 Protests: Following the verdict in New York, people across Honduras took to the streets to protest against the government. 13 people have been arrested in connection with the protests.
📰 Opposition Coalition: Leaders of opposition parties agreed to create a coalition with objective to remove the current Honduran president from power. They have called for national protests to begin on Monday.
📰 Immunity Law: The National Congress reinstated a Parliamentary Immunity law, which protects lawmakers from criminal or civil prosecution while performing their legislative duties.

Guatemala
📰Sandra Torres: A judge ordered that former presidential candidate Sandra Torres to remain in jail during investigation of unregistered electoral financing for the 2015 UNE’s electoral campaign. She required the Public Ministry to investigate which authorities failed to report financial anomalies.
📰 Hogar Seguro Virgen: The first oral and public trial for the femicide of the girls of the Hogar Seguro will hold an advanced trial hearing with 8 of the surviving girls to share their statements. The trial has been rescheduled several times since February 2019.
📰 Asylum Case: An indigenous Guatemalan migrant, who survived a gunshot wound to the head and fled to a U.S. port of entry, won his asylum case after long-term detention and a series of medical crises.

Belize
📰Environment: The Clean Water Alliance has proposed several actions to address the pollution of Belize’s rivers.
📰Politics: Prime Minister Dean Barrow continues to press Joshua Perdomo, son of former Minister of National Security Carlos Perdomo, to repay $40,000 debt.
📰Agriculture: The agriculture sector continues to suffer due to the effects of the summer drought, especially the citrus industry.

Nicaragua
📰 Democracy: Nicaragua is the “least democratic” country in Latin America, according to the latest Barometer of the Americas report. 
📰 Pesticides: Sterilized workers seek to collect damages against Dow Chemical in France for hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid damages awarded to them by courts in Nicaragua.
📰 Drug Trade: A government official tied to the ruling party in Nicaragua is alleged to have led a sophisticated drug trafficking ring that moved cocaine through Central America, adding to longstanding suspicions of official party links to the international drug trade. // Army captures plane with 400 packs of cocaine on southern border.
📰 Human Rights: Amnesty International launched the campaign “What we leave behind: fleeing repression in Nicaragua”, while warning the international community that the human rights crisis in the country persists. Human Rights Procurator (PDDH), Corina Centeno Rocha, resigned from her position due to alleged health problems but will continue to be secretary general of the National Workers Front (FNT) and the National Federation of Health Workers (Fetsalud). 

El Salvador
📰Asylum Agreement: Acting DHS secretary Kevin McAleenan traveled to El Salvador to finalize the asylum agreement with the Salvadoran government. The agreement to accept asylum seekers diverted from the US border will be funded by newly reinstated US aid.  
📰Politics: The Legislative Assembly named José Apolonio Tobar the new Human Rights Ombudsman (PDDH) with support from both ARENA and the FMLN. President Nayib Bukele and human rights activists expressed concern over Tobar’s election because of pending criminal investigations against him. 
📰Severe Flooding: The government issued a national alert and suspended schools nationwide after heavy rains and flooding caused landslides, 6 reported deaths, and the evacuation of hundreds of families.
📰Gangs: President Nayib Bukele announced that 400 newly trained soldiers will be deployed to rural San Miguel and Santa Ana as part of anti-gang security strategy. // MS-13 gang leader and witness said that the FMLN bought the votes of imprisoned gang members in the 2014 presidential election.

Panama 
📰 Energy: A U.S.-based company opened a billionaire natural gas terminal in Panama on Friday - the first of its kind in Central America - with which it will seek to commercialize fuel regionally.
📰 Human Rights:  The National Assembly has began discussions to reform the constitution to legalize same sex marriage. // The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed concern about the dismissal of the Ombudsman, Alfredo Castillero Hoyos, by the National Assembly on October 9, 2019. 
📰 Martinelli: The UN Human Rights Council determined that the preventive detention of former President Ricardo Martinelli was “arbitrary” and violates five articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. His defense will seek for a redress. 
📰 Study: Panamanian women are more likely to receive proposals for sexual bribes in services such as education, health and justice, according to experts.

Costa Rica
📰 Budget Cuts: The rectors of the four state universities announce technical closures, layoffs and impact on scholarships and student services if budget cuts are approved. Students have occupied university buildings as a protest.
📰 UN Human Rights Council: The UN General Assembly elected Venezuela over Costa Rica to serve on the Human Rights Council. Costa Rica had presented itself as an alternative candidate to Venezuela to serve on the UN Human Rights Council earlier this month. 
📰 Afro-descendants: Costa Rica hosted the World Forum on the Rights of Afro-descendants in Latin America and the Caribbean. The four day event seeks to ensure that Afro-descendants are part of the democratic construction of their countries and that they have equal access to education, justice, health services, employment and housing.
📰 Asylum seekers: More than twenty-four Nicaraguan asylum seekers who have fled persecution in Nicaragua now rent a former tin factory in San José, Costa Rica where people live in large groups in makeshift shelters.
La Transportapueblos
"Coyota and her puppy represent the thousands of migrant mothers and their children who are forced daily to leave their home country in search of a better life." The sculpture was placed next to the train tracks "The Beast" and in addition to paying tribute to the migrants, it will guide them as they pass through the country through a map with information on each hostel. Find more information here. Photo published by Sandra Cuffe.
"Coyota and her puppy represent the thousands of migrant mothers and their children who are forced daily to leave their home country in search of a better life." The sculpture was placed next to the train tracks "The Beast" and in addition to paying tribute to the migrants, it will guide them as they pass through the country through a map with information on each hostel. Find more information here. Photo published by Sandra Cuffe.
Good Reads & Multimedia
🔎Daily Kos puts a spotlight on the often marginalized and unknown history of the afro-indigenous Garifunas of Central America, their struggles, and their legacy of resistance.
📹 “Why Are Indigenous People Dying At The Border?:” Maya immigrants speak about the immigration crisis in video produced by AJ+.
🖊️ The Los Angeles Times covers the story of a Honduran asylum seeking family with identical twins but two different trajectories for their asylum cases, revealing the arbitrary application of asylum policies.
🖊️ On October 21, Panama celebrates its black Christ, part of protest against colonialism and slavery.
💬 Centro Ambulando interviews Guatemalan American artist Kiara Aileen Machado about her artwork and recent exhibit “Quiubo Maje.”
🖊️ A year after his canonization, murals of Monseñor Romero are fading away in El Salvador, while churches are hanging photocopied images of him. “Is he still the saint of the people?” some Salvadorans ask. Melissa Vida’s reporting for America Media.
Pay Attention to Honduras
Jalileh Garcia, our writer on Honduras, spoke about the socio-political and human rights situation in Honduras at the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate during the OAS’s Youth and Democracy in the Americas Summit. Here is one of her speeches, in Spanish.👇
Jalileh García
Este fue uno de esos discursos. Le digo — póngale atención a Honduras. También es un país donde se vive represión, militarización, migración, elecciones fraudulentas. No tenemos petróleo, pero si tenemos algo un sinfín más importante — personas, con dignidad y derechos. https://t.co/wNx3vOK3c6 https://t.co/kozOJXqvBY
10:20 PM - 19 Oct 2019
Call for Papers
The Central American Studies Conference UCI 2020 released a call for papers for their upcoming conferences on April 16th and 17th, 2020. The theme is “Moving Beyond the Border Crisis. Central American Visions: Past, Present & Future.”
Film
🎬 Dias de Luz (Days of light) will be premiered on November 8 during the Festival Icaro in Guatemala. This movie was produced in six Central American countries and follows the lives of six different people.
Días de Luz - Trailer
Días de Luz - Trailer
The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder and Editor in Chief
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador News and Editor
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua News and Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News
Jonathan Peraza Campos, Migration News
Jalileh García, Honduras News
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News
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