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What happens when it's not about gangs and migration

Central American News
What happens when it's not about gangs and migration
By Central American News • Issue #44 • View online

Dear Readers,
Welcome back to another week of Central American news!
This week, our journalist in charge of Honduras, Jalileh García, wrote an opinion piece in Remezcla on how international media tends to ignore Honduras when the topic is not gangs or migration. She writes:
We can’t just stop at being upset at a Honduran women being tear gassed at the US-Mexico border. We also need to be called to action when Honduras’ military police uses tear gas against protesters, who just want to see the education and health systems improve, rather than fall further into decay. 
I can only agree with Jalileh - international coverage needs to get smarter and more inclusive on what we cover from Central America.
That is the primary goal of this newsletter. So, thank you, readers, for reading and supporting Central American News. See you next week for more.
Salú,
Melissa
Patreon
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 migration or violence.
Photo of the Week
"During the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, a group of the Lesbian Network Catrachas, a feminist lesbian organization, arrived in front of government buildings to raise awareness to respect sexual diversity."
"During the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, a group of the Lesbian Network Catrachas, a feminist lesbian organization, arrived in front of government buildings to raise awareness to respect sexual diversity."
Headlines
Guatemala
📰 Elections: Guatemalan court ruled that Thelma Aldana is ineligible to run in next month’s presidential election and the Constitutional Court suspended the case against Sandra Torres for not reporting electoral financing back in 2015. She will be able to run.
📰 Corruption: Former Minister of Interior Mauricio López Bonilla was sentenced to 13 years in prison and a fine of Q62,500 for graft and fraud.
📰 Anti-Corruption: The Special Prosecutor against Impunity, Juan Francisco Sandoval, and some of his colleagues, are unable to apply for other positions within the Ministry because he is under investigation for criminal complaints issued by politicians against him.
Honduras
📰 Penal Code: Honduras passed a new penal code, which is deemed to curtail the right to protest and freedom of expression, while favoring crimes linked to corruption.  Two thousand people marched as a response to the new penal code.
📰 Drug-Trafficking: The newly unsealed testimony of Tony Hernandez showed that the Honduran President’s Brother admitted to having close relations with drug traffickers.
📰 LGBTI: The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was observed in Honduras as the Catracha Lesbian Network. The UN High Commissioner’s Office urged the country to “adopt comprehensive legislation and policies that contribute to full compliance with the rights LGBTI people.“
El Salvador
📰 Amnesty Law: Political Commission subcommittee of the Legislative Assembly moves to expedite approval of new amnesty law which would limit the prosecution of human rights violations committed during the civil war. The move has been condemned by survivors of wartime atrocities, local NGOS, US human rights organizations, UN Special Rapporteur Fabián Salvioli, and El Salvador’s President-elect.
📰 Customs Crisis: Central America agrees on regional “Emergency Plan” to facilitate trade after the failure of El Salvador’s new customs system, with limited success. Cargo carriers across the country protest shipping delays by forming blockades and shutting down points of entry on the border of Honduras and Guatemala. There are risk of shortages.
📰 Funes: Mauricio Funes, former Salvadoran president who faces corruption charges in El Salvador and his son, are listed as a “workers” for Nicaraguan foreign ministry.
📰 US Relations: US Attorney General William Barr meets with President Sánchez Cerén and promises continued financial support of El Salvador. // In speech before the Legislative Assembly, US Ambassador to El Salvador, Jean Manes, names the growth of El Salvador’s economy and the generation of employment as main priorities. // President-elect Nayib Bukele describes El Salvador’s relationship with the US as “more important than all other relations with all other countries combined,” during meeting in Washington.
Nicaragua
📰 International pressure: Following the evaluation of the United Nations on human rights situation in Nicaragua, majority of countries demanded that Ortega to free political prisoners and anticipated elections.
📰 Prison shooting: Eddy Montes, a US-Nicaraguan political prisoner was killed by a jail guard on May 16th. The government said on a press release that the guard shot Eddy Montes “in self defense and made only one shot with an automatic weapon”. Nicaraguan prisoners produced an audio telling how it happened.
📰 Economy: 98,000 people could lose their jobs in 2019, FUNIDES reports. Fiscal and social security reforms are among the main reasons. Despite the reforms, fiscal revenue have dropped 11.2.% just in the first quarter of 2019.
📰 Corruption: Oil company ALBANISA is part of a so-called “Bolivarian Joint Criminal Enterprise”, a network of “of allied companies, regional structures, and historically linked individuals” working together to move resources and funds from Venezuela into false projects, off-shore accounts, and other corruption schemes. PDF report here.
Costa Rica
📰 Earthquakes: A 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck Costa Rica this past Sunday.
📰 LGBT: Costa Rica commemorated the World Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia by announcing the creation of regional commissions against homophobia and discrimination.
Panama
📰 Foreign affairs: US Secretary of State Pompeo called President-elect Cortizo to express his support and assured both countries will work for the democracy in Nicaragua and Venezuela. President Cortizo will have to decide whether he wants to stick to China or to the US, according to La Prensa.
📰 Corruption: Panamanian citizens will be able to denounce corruption and money laundering anonymously.
📰 Data protection: An official investigation was initiated after reports of leaks of personal data of Panamanian citizens.
📰 IMF: The IMF praised Panama for the increase of GDP per capita in 2019. The IMF’s technical staff estimates that Panama’s potential growth is 5.5%.
Belize
📰 Referendum: People’s United Party urged to withdraw court case that claims Guatemala-Belize referendum is unconstitutional.
📰 Environment: Belize faces great environmental troubles due to “climate apocalypse”.
Migration
📰 Children: A ten year old Guatemalan girl died while under immigration custody in Mexico and a 2 ½ year old Guatemalan toddler who was apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border died after weeks in hospital.
📰 Border wall: U.S. Government waives laws to build the wall across the Arizona National Monument and wildlife refuges and a court will consider the emergency declaration to obtain funding to construct the border wall.
📰 DACA: Court ruled that Trump’s termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was unlawful.
📰 US legislation proposals: An “Asylum Seeker Protection Act” aims to defund the “Remain in Mexico” policy and another legislation aims to hold migrant children in detention from 20 days to 100 days. The White House is considering the possibility of deploying military troops to remove undocumented migrants in the U.S.
Multimedia & Art
"Photos of people who disappeared in the Guatemalan Civil War cover a wall in downtown Guatemala City. Cicig is part of a broader drive against impunity in Guatemala and includes an effort to hold those responsible for abuses during the civil war accountable." Daniele Volpe for The New York Times (link to story on photo)
"Photos of people who disappeared in the Guatemalan Civil War cover a wall in downtown Guatemala City. Cicig is part of a broader drive against impunity in Guatemala and includes an effort to hold those responsible for abuses during the civil war accountable." Daniele Volpe for The New York Times (link to story on photo)
🎥 Time reports on violence against women in El Salvador, a phenomenon “invisible” in the country’s general violence. A filmmaker does an excellent job putting this into images and illustrations.
🎧 Nicaraguan prisoners produced an audio telling how the shooting of Eddy Montes happened. Homemade on Soundcloud.
🎵 Mexican folk artist Lila Downs covered Manu Chao’s song “Clandestino” with a cumbia twist in protest of current U.S. immigration policies.
Lila Downs - Clandestino (Cover Audio)
Lila Downs - Clandestino (Cover Audio)
Good Reads
🗨️ Tim Muth explores the place of the army in El Salvador. In a 2017 poll, the armed forces came second in “most trusted institutions” in El Salvador.
📚 LGBT Hondurans are particularly at risk of being killed in their home country and so, many migrate north. “They kill us all differently”, says a LGBT activist to WorldPoliticsReview.
🗨️ El Pais presents an op-ed that challenges anti-Central American attitudes and rhetoric among Mexicans, given the long history of Mexican migration and backlash to Mexican migration in the U.S. (In Spanish).
Q/A On VoyageLA, Zaira Miluska, the founder of Central American Art & Beauty, explains how she got inspired for the social media page after a visit to a Latin American Art museum. Hint - she was tired of how Central America is portrayed internationally.
📚 Read about Costa Rica’s scientific inventions and innovations on BBC World News, like the plasma engine for space travel. (In Spanish).
The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder and Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua News
Jonathan Peraza, Migration News
Jalileh García, Honduras News
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador News
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News
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