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What's Wrong With You, Central America?

Central American News
What's Wrong With You, Central America?
By Central American News • Issue #71 • View online

Dear Readers,
People outside of Central America know little about the region. It’s a fact.
Salvadoran journalist Óscar Martínez, now teaching in New York, wrote about how he feels dealing with the recurring questions North American people ask him about Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. In this piece, he answers to questions such as: how do you stand living in Central America?, what is the solution?, variations of “why don’t you change?” and “do people go to the street to protest?” . The last one gets on his nerves.
A big takeaway for him, and for us, is how the Central American plight seems foreign to the United States, when it is not.
Answering these questions motivate us to prepare this newsletter week after week. Please subscribe and share so that people know more about Central America, its news, its plight, its brilliance and its history.
The Team
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Photo of the Week
The 11th Caravan of the mothers of missing migrants. Photo: PEP COMPANYS.
The 11th Caravan of the mothers of missing migrants. Photo: PEP COMPANYS.
Central America Asks
🎞️ If you could suggest two movies to know more about a country of Central America, what titles would you recommend? Answer this email and we’ll share the replies on our social media platforms. Movies can be fiction or nonfiction.
📰 Child Separations: The U.S. government watchdogs cannot confirm if there were more children separations than reported. // Migrant families have sent approximately 135 children alone across the U.S.-Mexico border after waiting in poor and unsafe conditions in Mexico.  
📰 Missing Migrants: Caravan of Central American Mothers of Disappeared Migrants was able to reunite two families with their missing migrants. The group demanded less promises and more action from authorities to locate missing loved ones.
📰 The Border: Two Congressmen visited a refugee camp where 2,000 asylum-seekers are living and claimed that the camps’ deteriorating conditions were “worse” than the camps they had visited in Somalia and Syria. // Whistleblower continues to shed light on how the U.S. is violating international law by sending asylum seekers with viable asylum claims to Mexico.
📰 Deportations: Salvadorans in the U.S. claim that ICE is “hunting them down” to deport them to El Salvador under the justification that it is now designated a “safe third country.” // Honduran construction worker was deported after he acted as a witness and a plaintiff in a federal workplace safety investigation. // The experimental deportation of a Honduran asylum-seeker to Guatemala under the Asylum Cooperative Agreement revealed the lack of implemented protocols.
El Salvador
📰 Violence Against Women: María Teresa Rivera was the the first case of asylum in the world by abortion. // Activists marched to the Presidential Palace to demand that the government address the high rates of violence against women, trans people, and the LGBTI community. // According to a new study, 204 women were murdered in El Salvador from January to October of this year.
📰 LGBTIQ: Given the recent streak of murders against members of the LGBTI community, the United Nations asked the Salvadoran government to act on these cases, which it has labeled hate crimes. // The majority of LGBT migrants arriving in Costa Rica come from El Salvador.
📰 El Mozote Case: The Presidential House claims to have located information in the archives that could be of “interest” for the judicial process in the El Mozote massacre case. Lawyers for the El Mozote victims hope the records will shed light not just on their case, but also other crimes against humanity committed during the civil war.
📰Corruption: Former Secretary of Public Works, Jorge Nieto, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for embezzling $20 million of state funds.
📰Local Activism: November 25th marked the first of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence in Belize. 
📰Economy: Belize launches the country’s first Investment Policy and Strategy // BELTRAIDE held its 5th annual Entrepreneurship Convention. 
📰 China: A Belizean-Taiwanese man is arrested in China for supporting the Hong Kong protests.
📰 Simone Biles: 19-time gold medalist and Belizean citizen Simone Biles received honorary keys to the island of Ambergris Caye during her Thanksgiving visit
📰 Police Violence: Three members of a family of well-known opponents of Daniel Ortega’s regime were tortured by Police Chief Fidel Dominguez, who—in an effort to humiliate them—recorded them. The recordings of this torture could be used as evidence in future trials
📰 Migrants: Spain’s Secretary of Migration States that in Nicaragua there are no generalized conflicts that support international protection requests, but that they will consider individual as well as documented cases. Here are the stories of exiles in Spain. // Nicaraguan women who emigrate to Costa Rica suffer from “structural violence” since the institutions are not responding to their needs.
📰 National Assembly: 48 of the 91 deputies in the National Assembly stay in charge between 8 and 28 years and 55 of them are at least 60 years old. La Lupa investigates how we have such an “adult” assembly in a mostly young country. 
📰 Genocide: Former Defense Minister, Colonel Luis Enrique Mendoza García, faces justice for the genocide against the Ixil People. // Benedict Lucas García, Manuel Callejas and César Noguera Argueta also faces prosecution for genocide, crimes against humanity, and forced disappearances against the Ixil community during the armed conflict. // Former member of the Civil Self-Defense Patrols, Juan Samayoa Cabrera, was deported from the United States and upon arrival was arrested for killing two men in Quiché during the armed conflict.
📰 Police Corruption: Police officers at a patrol exit in Guatemala were attacked when they were investigating some of their colleagues for the allegations of extortion payments to local gang members. Upon arriving at the scene, corrupt agents opened fire on their companions in an attempt to escape. 
📰 Environment: Guatemala monitors the increase in explosions of the Fuego volcano. Last year hundreds of people died and disappeared due to the violent eruption. 
Costa Rica
📰 Army: Costa Rica celebrates 71 years without an army. Deputy María José Corrales Chacón analyzes the challenges for Costa Rica.
📰 President visit to Uruguay: President Carlos Alvarado travelled to Uruguay to meet President Tabaré Vázquez. President Alvarado met with Luis Lacalle, the President-elect of Uruguay to discuss fostering regional integration based on democratic values and human rights. 
📰 Oil Theft: Figures from the Costa Rican Petroleum Refinery show that more than 14 billion liters of gas have been stolen between October 2016 and July 2019.
📰 Pacific Railroad: One of the Costa Rican Railroad Institute projects planned is the reactivation of the railroad to the Pacific, connecting the cities of San José and Puntarenas. 
📰Journalists: Jose Arita, a journalist who anchored La Hora de la Verdad television program, was murdered this week. From 2001 to date, 82 communicators and journalists have been killed in Honduras. 93% of these crimes remain in impunity.
📰Corruption: Leopoldo Crivelli, the mayor of Choloma, the third largest city in Honduras, was arrested for fraud and abuse of authority. The mayor is suspended from his duties while the hearing takes place and ordered to remain in the country. The defendant’s first hearing will take place on December 3rd. 
📰Police: An average of 2,000 new agents joined the ranks of the National Police of Honduras. The goal of this government is to reach twenty six thousand police officers by 2022. 
📰Economy: A representative of the Inter-American Development Bank noted the economy of Honduras could be at imminent risk due to climate change as it depends extremely on agriculture.
📰 Gini Index: Poverty levels have been reduced as Panama’s economy continues to grow, but it remains the third most unequal country in the region behind Brazil and Colombia, according to the Gini index. This means that the country’s wealth is concentrated in a tiny sector of society.
📰 Tax Haven: Panama’s mission to the Financial Action Task Force in Paris tried to dispel the image of the country as a tax haven ended this week. The team, headed by The Minister of Economy and Finance,  closed the foray outlining the progress of the Panamanian Government in terms of stability and transparency to attract investments to the country.
📰 China and Taiwan: China denied making multimillion dollar payments to Panama to break diplomatic relations with Taiwan and establish them with Beijing, in response to alleged revelations from the Panamanian press based on the so-called #VarelaLeaks.
📰 Constitution: The National Assembly will resume discussion on the new constitution on December 5.
Martial Arts in Guatemala
A group of indigenous girls in the village of Tipulcan have found confidence in martial arts, claiming a space that allegedly belongs to men, while battling gender violence. 
Guatemala suffers from high rates of violence against women – including femicides – and has yet to devote serious resources to tackling the problem. Photo: EFE. Souce: Telesur English.
Guatemala suffers from high rates of violence against women – including femicides – and has yet to devote serious resources to tackling the problem. Photo: EFE. Souce: Telesur English.
Good Reads
☑️ Criminalizing Environmentalists: Environmental defenders face intimidation, persecution, death threats, exile, and even death. Gato Encerrado, from El Salvador, spoke with environmentalists to discuss the criminalization and persecution they face.
☑️ The Trap of the Southern Capital: The Mexican city of Tapachula is a hotbed of people of different nationalities who come into contact with the invisible wall that López Obrador has built to satisfy Trump. Follow this report from El País and El Faro. 
☑️ Mental Health: Licensed clinical social worker Sofia Mendoza produced a DACA Mental Health Coping Guide as a tool for mental and emotional health for DACA recipients. 
☑️ Businessmen in Nicaragua: How the business people of Nicaragua knew a crisis was coming before 2018.
☑️ Central American Studies: The University of California, Los Angeles Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies officially voted in favor of expanding the department’s name to add “Central American Studies.”
🎧 Honduras: This podcast tells the story of a neighborhood of refugees that fled to another country after Hurricane Mitch, an event which devastated the country 21 years ago.
🎧 El Salvador: The SalviHistory podcast speaks with two queer scholar-activists about the history of post-war LGBT movements in El Salvador and queer experiences in Salvadorans in the diaspora. 
🎧 El Salvador: AJ+ produced a video reporting on how a Salvadoran family reunifed after being separated for 31 years. The Salvadoran mother had sent her children away during the war to protect them from violent backlash for her activism. 
🎧 Guatemala: Guatemalan film “Temblores” directed by Jayro Bustamante explores intolerance and homophobia towards gay people in Guatemala, according to the El Nuevo Herald movie review.
🎧 Nicaragua: Torovenado, spirit of Monimbó. De Humo TV analyzes the resistance of the inhabitants of Masaya and its indigenous Monimbó neighborhood.
🔢 Detention: On the last day of April 2019, ICE held about 50,000 people in detention centers nationwide. Nearly 32,000 - or 64% - of detainees had no criminal conviction on record, according to data obtained by TRAC Immigration Project at Syracuse University
The Honduran film “Café con sabor a mi tierra” (“Blood, Passion & Coffee”), becomes the second film from Honduras to ever be submitted for consideration for the Oscar’s Academy Awards.
📆 Ni Olvido, Ni Perdón: Student organizations at the University of California, Los Angeles, will host a talk with activists and scholars titled Ni Olvido, Ni Perdon: The Transnational Struggle for LGBTI Rights in Honduras during the #FueraJOH Movement on December 2nd. 
📆 Human Rights in Central America: A presentation on human rights and conflicts will be held on December 3rd in San Salvador, El Salvador, by human rights organizations.
The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder, Editor-in-Chief
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua News, Editor
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador News
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News
Jonathan Peraza Campos, Migration News
Jalileh García, Honduras News
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News
Natalie Leach, Social Media Officer
José Martinez, Social Media Officer 
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