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Trump's Harm to Central Americans

Central American News
Trump's Harm to Central Americans
By Central American News • Issue #117 • View online

Dear Readers,
It will not be news to you to know that the U.S. president has tremendous power over the lives of Central American people in the United States and in Central America itself. As the U.S. election day approaches, Central Americans have been watching out for who will occupy the seat of the Oval Office for the next four years, many recognizing that there is no perfect choice. Indeed, Biden has an unfriendly track record, to say the least, with regards to immigrants. Yet, President Trump has beaten records of harm inflicted to Central Americans both in his words and actions during his mandate.
Trump normalized hateful anti-immigrant narratives and accelerated a trend of anti-immigrant and anti-asylum policies, including the infamous family separations, of which he showed no sign of regret. In past years, he has also directly insulted our countries and leveraged U.S. economic power to pressure Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador into signing “asylum deals” with the U.S. In terms of indirect influence, he also set a poor example of democracy, transparency, and respect for the press for governments worldwide.
In this context, the majority of the catch-all category of the “Latino vote” appear to favor Biden, and some have campaigned for Democrats in swing states. Girls as young as 10 feel compelled to campaign so that their mothers do not get deported – Salvadoran girl Marilyn created a Facebook page to campaign for TPS and migrants (and for Biden).
Have a great reading of our Central American newsletter.
Salú,
Melissa
Niña tepesiana
Marilyn is a 10-year-old Salvadoran girl who is leading a campaign in Washington D.C. to protect immigrants from deportation and her mother, who has Temporary Protection Status (TPS). She “calls to join the struggle, to not be afraid and she defends the legacy that immigrants, like her mother and uncle, have given to the United States”. Marilyn shares photos of her activism on Facebook.
Headlines
Migration
📰 Irwin County Detention Center: More women detained at Georgia’s Irwin County Detention Center have come forward with allegations of medical abuse and non-consensual procedures.
📰 Asylum Seekers: Asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border await a US Supreme Court decision, hoping it will overturn the “Remain in Mexico” program. // Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials tortured asylum seekers in Mississippi detention to make them sign their own removal orders.
📰 Family Separations: Lawyers are having difficulty locating the parents of the 545 migrant children who were separated by U.S. officials at the southern border. Pope Francis calls the Trump administration’s family separation policy “cruelty of the highest form.” White House officials claim that migrant children have not been reunited with their parents because parents do not want their children back
📰 Trump on Immigration: Trump denies the severity of his administration’s zero tolerance policies that incarcerated and separated migrant families, furthering his characterization of migrants as criminals and “bad people.”
📰 DHS: The four progressive congresswomen nicknamed “The Squad” have called for a United Nations investigation into the human rights abuses committed by the Department of Homeland Security regarding migrants.

Belize
📰 November Election: Belize’s two main political parties, the People’s United Party (PUP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP), have each officially elected new party leaders in preparation for the upcoming general elections
📰 PlanBelize: PUP has launched their manifesto of political plans, called PlanBelize, which outlines their campaign promises from indigenous peoples’ rights to healthcare. 
📰 COVID-19: An outbreak of the virus has led to the Belize City magistrate court shutting down for at least 2 weeks // Travel by land and sea remains closed due to COVID-19.

El Salvador
📰 Insecurity: The homicide rate has been steadily increasing in the past four months, reaching 5.1 homicides per day in the first 22 days of October. Gang members would have been blocking the access of Uber drivers in 10 neighborhoods.
📰 Press: President Bukele (as well as Trump, Bolsonaro and AMLO) was pinned at the Inter-American Press Society for “practices of disqualification and stigmatization against journalists and media, often inciting violence” and for “use of troll networks.”
📰 Politics: The former Minister of Finance had resigned in July as he was pressured to pursue Bukele’s opponents, reveals El Faro. // Lawmakers are in favor of punishing with prison those who decide on putting military barriers (in the context of COVID-19 spread) without the consent of mayors.
📰 COVID-19/Pneumonia: Pneumonia deaths rise by 44.2% in El Salvador in 2020
📰 El Mozote: Judge of El Mozote case gives President Bukele five days to deliver military documents

Costa Rica 
📰 Tourism: Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism Gustavo Segura announced that the country will be dropping some of its COVID-19 testing requirements and will be reopening its borders to all international travelers beginning on November 1. 
📰 Multisectorial Dialogue: On Friday, President Alvarado held a dialogue with representatives from different sectors and organizations in Costa Rica with the aim of finding solutions to the health, economic and social crises facing the country.
📰 Fishing Bill: Costa Rican Congress approved last Thursday a controversial bill that reactivates trawling, a fishing practice which uses a wide net. Environmentalists criticize its high potential for environmental damage. President Alvarado still must determine whether to veto the initiative or sign it into law.

Guatemala
📰 Justice: Former communications minister José Luis Benito Ruiz has a warrant for his arrest for money laundering, after authorities found about $16 million in various currencies last week in a house in Antigua.
📰 Economy: The current government’s economic plans will result in a large public debt that has not occurred in decades due to the substantial increase in public spending and investments.
📰 October 20th Demonstration: Many people, including indigenous people and activists, gathered on the 76th anniversary of the 1944 revolution to protest Congress’s delay to elect judges to renew the Supreme Court which has been more than a year at this point.
📰 Health staff: The staff at the temporary hospital Parque de la Industria have not received their salaries since July 24. They have met all the procedures required by the Ministry of Health in this situation, but they blame Vice Minister Pezzarossi for the delay.

Honduras
📰 Feriado Morazanico: The Feriado Morazanico, which consists of a 3-day holiday, will take place from November 4th to the 7th. Many tourist companies have opened for business. Dr. Umaña predicted this holiday weekend will be the final trigger to reach the highest peak of the COVID-19 wave in Honduras.
📰 Reggaeton artist & COVID-19: Government authorities named a new Commissioner to lead the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic in Honduras.. This nomination has received a lot of backlash given that the new Commissioner used to be a reggaeton artist - many say he lacks the professional capabilities to carry out his duties. 
📰 Protests: The Workers’ Union of Strechline, a maquiladora company, protested to demand the reinstatement of 117 workers who were suspended due to the pandemic.
📰 Human Rights: The broadcast of the hearing to examine the proceedings against David Castillo, one of the alleged masterminds of Berta Caceres’ murder, could not be accessed remotely, limiting the transparency of the judicial process and right to truth.

Nicaragua
📰 Cybercrimes Law: The dubbed “Gag Law” is moving through the National Assembly. It will extend censorship & surveillance as internet providers will be required to “record” user data.
📰 Diplomacy: The Organization of American States (OAS) have set May 2021 as the deadline for the Government of Ortega to implement the electoral reforms necessary to guarantee free, fair and transparent for the presidential November elections that year. The US declared that it will not recognize an Ortega’s government in 2021 if reforms are not approved
📰 COVID-19: The Ministry of Health is hiding 98% of COVID-19 deaths, according to an analysis of excess deaths registered in 2020.
📰 Illegal Beef: 90% of Nicaraguan beef exports go to the US and it also its third biggest supplier of frozen meat, but reports have found that meat comes from protected indigenous lands which are being invaded by loggers. These “settlers” exercise violence and deforestation and produce meat that is exported to the United States. These ranchers deny that they are producing meat in indigenous forests and reserves.
📰 Human Rights: The Ministry of the Family, Adolescents and Children closed two residential centers for adolescent mothers and transferred adolescents and their children to an unknown destination.

Panama
📰 Guna Texts: The Ministry of Education began the distribution of first and second grade educational texts for four subjects in the Guna tongue, Dulegaya. This is a step in guaranteeing inclusive and equal education
📰 Protection of the Media: The Inter-American Press Association’s (SIP) Panama Chapter noted that there has been an increase in judicial actions against the press, journalists, and others in the field. The SIP’s recent resolution on Panama calls for authorities to legally forbid the seizure of assets owned by any kind of journalistic and media company.
📰 Panamá Solidario: President Laurentino Cortizo announced that Panamanian citizens being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will still benefit from the Panamá Solidario Plan until June 2021. The Cabinet Council recently approved USD 255 million for the plan. 
📰 Re-opening: A limited number of beaches and rivers have reopened in Panama under certain conditions. In addition, random COVID-19 tests will be conducted on beaches, and those who do not meet the sanitary requirements will be sanctioned.
Gender Gap in Latin America
Good Reads & Podcasts
📌Extractive Projects: “Mexico and Central America: Governments prioritise extractive projects over the rights of their citizens throughout the pandemic, according to report” (Business & Human Rights).
📌 Border Land: Hon'mana Seukteoma, a Tohono O’odham woman who has been organizing with her community on their land at the border, writes about their struggle to preserve their ancestral spring against the Department of Homeland Security’s invasion (Medium). 
📌 Policy Changes & Migration: This report by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) and the University of San Francisco documents the over 100 policy changes that have targeted migrant communities in the U.S. 
📌 Prudencia Ayala: Before Salvadoran women were given suffrage, indigenous activist and writer Prudencia Ayala became the first Latin American woman to run for president in the 1931 presidential election in El Salvador. (Americas Quarterly)
🎥 Honduras: In their podcast, Reveal follows up on the story of Honduran girl who was trapped in U.S. custody for six years by tracking down her family – something the government did not do. 
Tweet of the Week
Carlos Dada
La cruel separación de menores en Estados Unidos es ha sido objeto del debate presidencial. Se trata, en su mayoría, de niños provenientes del triángulo norte. Ni una palabra han dicho los presidentes centroamericanos. Ni un reclamo. Ni siquiera por mínima dignidad.
The cruel separation of minors in the United States has been the subject of presidential debate. These are mostly children from the Northern Triangle. Not a word has been said by the Central American presidents. Not one complaint. Not even for a minimum of dignity.
Central American Voices y Studies
✍️ Panama Canal: Panamanian historian Marixa Lasso received the American Historical Association’s Friedrich Katz Prize in Latin America and Caribbean History for her book, “Erased: The Untold History of the Panama Canal.“
✍️ Letter to Central Americans: Dichos de un Bicho writes a letter to Central Americans who have been disconnected from our homelands’ customs to remember our dead for Dia de los Difuntos.
🎓Ixil Maya Resistance: Giovanni B’atz wrote the academic article "Ixil Maya Resistance against Megaprojects in Cotzal, Guatemala,” which covers the movement against the Palo Viejo hydroelectric plant built by the Italian corporation Enel.
Sech is "Best New Artist of the Year"
Panamanian artist Sech won Best New Artist of the Year at the 2020 Billboard Latin Music Awards.
Sech interpreta 'Relación' en los Premios Billboard 2020 | Premios Billboard 2020 | Entretenimiento
Sech interpreta 'Relación' en los Premios Billboard 2020 | Premios Billboard 2020 | Entretenimiento
Events
📅 October 19 - November 1st: Starting on 26 October, Panama Fashion Week will be streaming all of its films on its website. Events, online shops, and workshops are also available on its website and Instagram
📅 October 27: The Dialogue on the “Anatomy of MS-13” – Policy Implications for El Salvador and the US. How can we understand its origins, causes, and impact?
📅 November 4: Salvadoran Childhoods: The Lasting Impact of U.S. Intervention in El Salvador “about the legacy of the U.S.-funded Civil War in El Salvador on the developmental trajectories of Salvadoran children and their families.”
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The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder, Editor-in-Chief, El Salvador News for this edition // Rodrigo Peñalba, Editor & Nicaragua News // Melissa Orellana, Editor // Jonathan Peraza Campos, Migration News // Cecilia Rivas, Podcast Co-host // Isabeau J. Belisle Dempsey, Belize News // Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News // Pablo Arauz, El Salvador News // Jalileh García, Honduras News // Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News // Irene Ledezma, Panama News // Nicole Ramsey, Writer // José Martínez, Podcast Producer, Social Media Officer // Natalie Leach, Social Media Officer
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