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Your Central American News

Central American News
Your Central American News
By Central American News • Issue #38 • View online

Dear readers,
Welcome back to another week of Central American News.
CentAm Curator has become Central American News and we have a brand new logo thanks to our in-house designer Rodrigo Peñalba. He works as a freelance journalist and fixer in Nicaragua (should you need his services, you can contact him at penalba@gmail.com).
This week, a lot of ink flowed about the U.S.’s decision to cut aid to Central America. U.S. officials are confused to what this means and we wonder what effects this will have on the ground.
Nicaragua’s National Dialogue has stalled as the Ortega government refused two points out of four, which may mean that international sanctions could befall the country.
Guatemala has been in a lot of international coverage this week - about climate change, indigenous peoples demanding reparations for displacement, and indebted migrants looking to pay off loans by going to the U.S.
Hondurans go to the streets to keep the OAS-led anti-corruption body MACCIH in the country, while a pre-trial on the murder of Berta Cáceres for the alleged mastermind has started.
In Costa Rica, residents of protected areas feel “trapped” as they are constrained by what they can do on the land. The government is looking into this.
Belize postponed its referendum on land dispute with Guatemala and will receive help from Taiwan to deal with the effects of climate change. Meanwhile, Panama still bets 100% on China’s investments.
From my own reporting, I can tell you that two separate delegations of El Salvador - from the coffee industry and the parliament - traveled to the European Union this week to forge other partnerships than those with the U.S.
See you next week!
Salú,
Melissa
Headlines
Migration
📰Aid: The U.S. is cutting off aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras after President Trump claimed these countries intentionally set up migrant caravans and U.S. officials don’t know what to do. Central American lawmakers ask Trump to reconsider withdrawal of aid while Trump believes it is unnecessary to meet Central American officials.
📰 Mexico: Trump gives Mexico one year to curtail Central American migration before the U.S. closes its southern border. Meanwhile, Trump Administration will send more asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait for their court dates.
📰 3 Mexicos: TV media Fox News refers to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador as “3-Mexicos” in coverage
📰 In the U.S.: Presidential candidate Julian Castro wants to decriminalize immigration // ICE arrests over 280 at Texas business, largest workplace immigration raid in a decade.
Guatemala
📰 Displaced: Hundreds of Achi Mayan people displaced by the construction of a dam in the 1980s demanded that the government pay reparations.
📰Justice: Juan Francisco Sandoval, Guatemala’s lead prosecutor against impunity fears for his safety.
📰Elections: Thelma Aldana faces expulsion in the presidential race by the electoral tribunal as her legal battles continue.
📰 Migrants: F.B.I. raided a Chicago home and discovered 33 Guatemalan immigrants, some of whom were forced to work.
Honduras
📰 Berta Cáceres: The preliminary court hearing was held for David Castillo, general manager of the company Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA), as he is accused for being the mastermind behind Berta Cáceres murder in 2016 // U.S. and Mexico experts are said to present evidence in favor of Castillo.
📰 Electoral reform: Officials will begin to shape electoral reform projects with technical support from the OAS.
📰 MACCIH: Public Prosecutor and anti-corruption body MACCIH investigate a dozen of people accused of tricking the Honduran state for several million lempiras // Hondurans march in the streets to keep MACCIH
📰 Journalism: President of the Bar Association of Honduras says crimes against honor should be assessed using civil law proceedings instead of penal court, to stop jailing journalists for it.
Belize
📰 Referendum: Belize postponed next week’s referendum to take its border dispute with Guatemala to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
📰Taiwan: Belize partners with Taiwan to help build Belize’s resilience to climate change in new agreement.
El Salvador
📰 Corruption: Ex-first Lady Ana Ligia de Saca confesses to laundering money to avoid prison time. Public Prosecutor is criticized for how he handled her corruption case. // El Salvador asked to extradite former father-in law of Funes, who has been arrested in Costa Rica.
📰Indigenous peoples: El Salvador’s first indigenous radio station has been inaugurated in memory of the 1932 genocide.
📰 Health: Unions claimed that there were shortage of medicines in five public hospitals, which the Ministry of Health denies.
📰 U.S.: California governor Newsom announces political visit to El Salvador to study causes of migration. His visit has been met with criticism.
Nicaragua
📰 National Dialogue: Government and opposition Alianza Cívica agreed on releasing all prisoners and on protecting civil liberties but not on advancing elections nor on fight against impunity // International sanctions may be applied because of this // For now, Alianza Cívica wants the government to respect the first part of the agreement.
📰 Prisoners: Government released 50 political prisoners on Friday
📰 OAS: OAS permanent council held an extraordinary session on the situation on Nicaragua on Friday. Ambassadors from South America, Costa Rica, Canada and the U.S. are worried oppression has not stopped.
📰Press: InterAmerican Press Association laments the downfall of press freedom in Nicaragua - with journalists behind bars, over 60 exiled journalists, the murder of Angel Gahona, and the political oppression on independent media.
Costa Rica
📰Green policy: Costa Rica will install a network of charging stations for electric cars
📰 Asylees: Nicaraguan asylum seekers struggle to find jobs, food, shelter, and water sources in the outskirts of San José, the capital
📰Reproductive Rights: Debate sparks on whether the morning after pill used to prevent pregnancies should be freely available or whether it should be bought with a prescription from a doctor.
📰 Land Rights: The government of Costa Rica wants to change the borders of the country’s environmentally protected areas where construction was hindered and where residents of these protected areas felt “trapped” and have seen minimal acknowledgement of their property and land rights.
Panama
📰 Investments: Panama will host on April 9 and 10 the Global Business Forum of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, which seeks to explore new areas of cooperation and investment between Latin America and the Gulf States.
📰 Mining: The government seeks to ratify an agreement on copper mining investment for an amount of US$6.000M.
📰 China: President Varela began official visit to China and Japan and inaugurated a Consulate in Guangzhou //The bank of China might establish a headquarters for Latin America in Panama.
📰 Press: The InterAmerican Society of Press (SIP) stated that, in Panama, journalists still could be sued for op-eds.
Good Reads
📚The New York Times publishes a thoughtful and heart wrenching opinion piece by Sonia Nazario on how “women’s bodies have become the battlefield” in Honduras. With photos.
📚 According to Sheba Crocker, “the people of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala need more partnership, investments and support from America, not less.” On USA TODAY.
📚 Laura Weiss explains, on NACLA, that she is against U.S. aid to Central America but wants to restore dignity and justice.
📚 Jonathan Blitzer and photographer Mauricio Lima report on the Guatemalans who migrate to the U.S. to be able to pay off big loans. The New Yorker.
📚 In an interview, Panamanian President Varela said he wants Panama to become Latin America’s entrance for Chinese companies. EFE/El Economista. (In Spanish). 
Multimedia
📷 A sweet photogallery of a sloth sanctuary in Panama.
📷 VICE presents an interview with photographer Kayla Reefer who highlights the Afrodescendant communities in Panama through her photography. 
🎧 Interview with two former Honduran migrants and Pulitzer-prize journalist, author of “Solito, Solita” on San Francisco Public Radio.
🎧 First radio show of Radio Cachimbona. Guests talked about the emotional heaviness of seeing people detained who look like them and share how their Latina identity motivated them to apply to law school.
🎥 PBS has released a four-part video series on why Hondurans leave their country. They went to Honduras and spoke with Hondurans for their coverage.
Photo of the Day
Photo credit: Kayla Reefer. "Last year, Reefer visited Panama for the first time in almost five years. While there, she devoted time to photographing her extended family over the course of multiple weeks. The meditative portraits from that sunny, carefree day have resulted in her latest series, Identidad." Click on the photo for her interview and more photos.
Photo credit: Kayla Reefer. "Last year, Reefer visited Panama for the first time in almost five years. While there, she devoted time to photographing her extended family over the course of multiple weeks. The meditative portraits from that sunny, carefree day have resulted in her latest series, Identidad." Click on the photo for her interview and more photos.
Presenting Jonathan Peraza
Jonathan Peraza is a queer Salvadoran-Guatemalan ("Guanapin") educator, organizer, and budding sociologist and Central American Studies scholar. Based in Atlanta but currently teaching, doing research and working on community engagement projects in Guatemala, he is contributing to the "Migration" section of the newsletter. He loves pupusas, books, and liberation.
Jonathan Peraza is a queer Salvadoran-Guatemalan ("Guanapin") educator, organizer, and budding sociologist and Central American Studies scholar. Based in Atlanta but currently teaching, doing research and working on community engagement projects in Guatemala, he is contributing to the "Migration" section of the newsletter. He loves pupusas, books, and liberation.
The Team
Melissa Vida, Head Curator and Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala Curator
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua Curator
Jonathan Peraza, Migration Curator
Jalileh García, Honduras Curator
Andree Pena Centes, El Salvador Curator
Mariana Rodriguez-Pareja, Panama Curator
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica Curator
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