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Where migration begins

Central American News
Where migration begins
By Central American News • Issue #50 • View online

Dear Readers,
Welcome back to another week of Central American news!
This week, Remezcla shared a list of English-speaking journalists of Central American descent that cover immigration - we are glad they gave a shout out to Central American News and therefore helped getting the word out.
We are a team of nine people who work week after week to bring nuanced news from Central America’s seven countries and its migration, as well as a list of good reads, multimedia suggestions, photos and more. We were tired with the stereotypical coverage of violence and the cyclical coverage of migration, so we decided to consistently curate the news and good resources for you. We want to show where migration begins.
We also want to warmly welcome our new subscribers. Make yourself at home and don’t forget to share the newsletter with your colleagues, uncles, aunts, professors, cheros and cheras if you find it useful.
There are also many more projects planned in the near future, so be ready for that! ;)
Salú,
The Central American News Team. Meet us all the way at the end of the newsletter.
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Photo of the Day
A youth stands by the border fence that separates Mexico from the United States, near a makeshift memorial for migrants who have died during their journey toward the U.S., in Tijuana, Mexico, late Saturday, June 29, 2019. On the border fence at right hangs a cartoon depiction of a news photograph of the bodies of Salvadoran migrant Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria, photographed on the banks of the Rio Grande between Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas, after they drowned on Sunday, June 23. (AP Photo/Emilio Espejel)
A youth stands by the border fence that separates Mexico from the United States, near a makeshift memorial for migrants who have died during their journey toward the U.S., in Tijuana, Mexico, late Saturday, June 29, 2019. On the border fence at right hangs a cartoon depiction of a news photograph of the bodies of Salvadoran migrant Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his daughter Valeria, photographed on the banks of the Rio Grande between Matamoros, Mexico, and Brownsville, Texas, after they drowned on Sunday, June 23. (AP Photo/Emilio Espejel)
Headlines
Migration
📰 ICE & Border Patrol: Migrant families live in fear as the Trump Administration resumes threats of a “family operation” to detain thousands of families in surprise round-ups. // Mijente has released documents that exposes ICE’s plans for a massive immigration detention and deportation operation that had been called off in September 2017. // ICE is issuing thousands of dollars in fines to immigrants who have taken sanctuary in churches. //Customs and Border Protection officials have been aware for up to three years that a secret Facebook group was being used by current and former Border Patrol agents to post offensive and degrading messages about migrants.
📰 #CloseTheCamps: Demonstrators converged across the United States on Tuesday to demand the closure of detention facilities holding migrant children and families. // 200 Jewish people held a demonstration in solidarity with asylum seekers in U.S. custody, 36 arrested.
📰 Border Rulings: U.S. court rules that Trump cannot use Pentagon funds to build the border wall. // A federal judge blocks Trump policy ordering indefinite detention for asylum-seekers.
Guatemala
📰 Justice: The Vice-Minister of the Ministry of the Interior was captured for the murder of Manuel de Jesús Ramírez, a trade unionist. He was arrested along with two lawyers. // The Ministerio Público requested 11 and 8 years in prison for the brother and son of President Jimmy Morales. Both individuals along with 23 others are being prosecuted for the Botín Property Registry case that would have led to the deviation of Q3 million.
📰 Food: The 2020 food security budget was approved amidst non-conformity surrounding the amounts and distribution of the budget. The draft illustrates nearly a Q333 million reduction compared to the previous one.
📰  Indigenous peoples: A Guatemalan judge suspended the initial hearing for retired general Luis Enrique Mendoza García, who faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity against the Maya Ixil population. Plaintiffs fight back. // Ch'orti’ community members denounced attacks for opposing “Cantera Los Manantiales”, a company that extracts antimony without meeting requirements. The latest attack consisted of breaking and entering into Ch'orti’ ’s place of resistance, causing material damage while violating and intimidating the residents who were present with gunshots.
Nicaragua
📰 Economy: The Central bank has not published data on employment since February, leading people to not trust the state of the economy, while trade has fallen by 20% in 2019. The government is working on a new fiscal reform that would increase taxes.
📰 Mining: Calibre Mining Corp buys the B2Gold projects in Nicaragua, which includes El Limon and La Libertad Gold Mines the Pavon Gold Project and additional mineral concessions for US$100 million.
El Salvador
📰 Bukele’s Security Plan: President Nayib Bukele announces second phase of security plan that should focus on providing opportunities and recreation to vulnerable youth as a way to reduce recruitment into gangs. // After Bukele declared an indefinite state of emergency in all prisons, judges and magistrates present list of concerns to the Supreme Court, alleging that the permanent lock-down violates inmates’ fundamental human rights and undermines the judicial system. 
📰 Hate Crime: Three police officers are arrested for the murder of trans woman Camila Diaz Cordavo and will be tried in court for aggravated homicide with “motivations of hate.” 
📰 Taiwan Case:  A court in El Salvador absolves two former presidents and three leaders of the ARENA party of criminal responsibility for the embezzlement of $10 million donated by Taiwan to help victims of 2001 earthquakes. The court ruled that it was too late to criminally investigate those responsible, but confirmed that ARENA was the recipient of the diverted funds.
Honduras
📰 La Mosquitia: At least 26 people have died and another 47 rescued after a fishing boat capsized off the Caribbean coast of Honduras in the Mosquitia region. 
📰 Land defenders: Leonel George, member of the executive board of the Coordination of Popular Organizations’ of the Aguán, is being criminalized by a smear campaign. He is a beneficiary to protective measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). 
📰 Amnesty International: The human rights organization presented preliminary findings of the current situation in Honduras, expressing profound concern regarding the use of force by the government. 
Costa Rica
📰 Education for Nicaraguan children: In response to the increasing number of displaced Nicaraguan children in Costa Rica, local schools in Costa Rica’s border towns have simplified the requirements for children with no school records or documentation to register for primary school, regardless of their migration status.
📰 Demonstrations against VAT: Costa Rica is undergoing various protests and roadblocks due to truck drivers and public sector unions being opposed to the VAT (Value Added Tax), that came into effect on Monday.
📰 Education Minister resigns: Repeated demonstrations conducted by students against making a law proposal that would allow students to work for free in companies has led Costa Rica’s Education Minister, Edgar Mora to resign from his post on Monday.
Panama
📰 New Administration: The new president of Panama Cortizo- who took oath this past week-, called on Thursday to work “in teams” and “with discipline” to fight crime, one of the biggest concerns in the country which has a homicide rate of 9.6 every 100,000 inhabitants. Guests from all over the world participated at the ceremony, including China´s Special Envoy Han Changfu
📰Economy: In the last 25 years, Panama has had the highest economic growth in Central America, yet, analysts of the International Monetary Fund point out inequality. // More investments are coming in the next months, so are competitivity changes for trade zones and the administration will prepare a strategy for the country to leave the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
📰 Social: Panama is the country in Latin America with the lowest under-registration of births, of only 2%.
Belize
📰Tourism: Belize officials say tourism has taken a nose dive after a Virginia cardiologist and his tour guide were gunned down on a fly-fishing expedition.
📰Taiwan Relations: Belize’s Governor-General visits Taiwan, signs mutual agreement to promote “clean” and anti-corruption governance.
📰Legal Marijuana: Belize speculated to follow Mexico and other countries toward legalizing marijuana.
Inauguration of Nito Cortizo in Panama
Cortizo took oath last Monday in Panama (Photo Credit: Reuters)
Cortizo took oath last Monday in Panama (Photo Credit: Reuters)
Good Reads
🗨️ Mijente and the Jewish Voice for Peace present an open letter and petition by Latinx Jews to close the camps holding migrant families in the U.S.: “We Know This Moment in History, and We Will Not Stay Silent.“ On GQ, Andrea Pitzer, author of One Long Night: A Global History of Concentration Camps, examines how the U.S. immigrant detention centers fit into the history of global concentration camps. 
📖 This report by Contracorriente highlights the precarious situation of the Miskito indigenous community and the negative effect that the increasing militarization in Honduras has had on them. It tells the story of four Miskitos who were killed by security forces six years ago and the community’s search for justice, as well as the story of a Miskito man who suffered attempted murder for defending the forest.  
📖 ReVista, the Harvard Review of Latin America, puts a spotlight on Nicaragua, with works and opinions from poet Ernesto Cardenal, former ambassador Anthony Quainton, journalist Stephen Kinzer, dean José Idiáquez, S.J. (Universidad Centroamericana), historian Jeffrey L. Gould and professor Salvador Martí i Puig. Good resource.
🗨️ NACLA discusses how the image of the drowned bodies of Salvadoran refugee Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month old daughter Valeria “assumes that trauma experienced by migrants and the consequences of murderous immigration policies are only considered real and valid once their images are so shocking that they go viral.”
💸 The Madrid-Curazao route: how the owner company of Pollo Campero avoids paying part of its taxes by going international. On El Faro.
Multimedia & Art
🎥 The Opening Speech of President Cortizo in Panama (in Spanish).
🎥  Panama City, the first city that Spain founded in the Pacific coast, will turn 500 years on August 15: here’s a little of history and what to see if you visit the city (in Spanish).
🎥 Beautiful mini documentary by Jessica Alvarenga that explores the water crisis in El Salvador and how the phenomenon is fueling migration. 
🎥 In full-length interview with Sky News, President Bukele of El Salvador says it is vital to improve quality of life, infrastructure and job prospects in El Salvador to stop people from wanting to leave.
🎥 Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya talks to Democracy Now about how the 2009 U.S.-backed coup destabilized is a root cause of Honduran migration to the U.S.
🎥 Full Frontal with Samantha Bee discusses “How US Meddling in Central America Created the Modern Day Border Crisis.”
🎥 In East Boston, American children of Salvadoran descent, whose parents are at risk of deportation, create a play about their situation—and take it to Washington D.C. to perform for members of Congress.
Traditions of Panama
Women wearing Panamanian traditional dress rest under a tree near Fort San Lorenzo, on a bluff overlooking the mouth of the Chagres River, on Panama’s Caribbean coast, Friday, June 28, 2019. The fort was built 1587 to protect the entrance to the river in the narrowest section of the Panama isthmus, used by the Spanish empire to protect the terminus of the Camino Real de Cruces that moved South American treasure from the pacific coast on its way to Spain. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
Women wearing Panamanian traditional dress rest under a tree near Fort San Lorenzo, on a bluff overlooking the mouth of the Chagres River, on Panama’s Caribbean coast, Friday, June 28, 2019. The fort was built 1587 to protect the entrance to the river in the narrowest section of the Panama isthmus, used by the Spanish empire to protect the terminus of the Camino Real de Cruces that moved South American treasure from the pacific coast on its way to Spain. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
Close the Camps Movement
Here are resources if you want to contribute to #CloseTheCamps Movement:
🔊 Yopp!: “What You Can Do to Close the Camps”
🔊The Anarres Project for Alternative Futures: “Direct Action Will Work Against ICE”
📍 Maps of Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities 
The Team
Melissa Vida, Founder and Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala News
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua News
Jonathan Peraza Campos, Migration News
Jalileh García, Honduras News
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador News
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica News
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