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Your Central American News

Central American News
Your Central American News
By Central American News • Issue #40 • View online

Dear Readers,
Welcome back to another week of Central American news.
This week marked the one-year anniversary since deadly protests started in Nicaragua and coïncides with the Holy Week of Easter. Religious processions and civic protests have merged throughout the country as the police attacked a procession in the capital, Managua.
Today, the Nicaraguan youth in particular is looking for ways to rethink the country’s democracy beyond making President Ortega leave power. For NACLA, 21-year old Nicaraguan activist Madeleine Caracas asks a question that many throughout Latin America are asking:
“Because we have a state that is totally corrupt, we have a deformed state, a machista state, which is more concerned with economic power, and other forms of influence… How do we start to change this dynamic?”
Let us know your thoughts on Nicaragua, Madeleine’s quote or democracy in Central America and we will share them on next week’s newsletter!
Thank you for reading and we wish you a great Semana Santa.
Salú,
Melissa
Photo of the Week
"Procession of the captives in Masaya, Nicaragua. The children imitate the uniforms of the political prisoners". Photo credit: Nicaraguan church. Curated by Rodrigo Peñalba, our Nicaragua Curator.
"Procession of the captives in Masaya, Nicaragua. The children imitate the uniforms of the political prisoners". Photo credit: Nicaraguan church. Curated by Rodrigo Peñalba, our Nicaragua Curator.
Headlines
Nicaragua
Nicaragua crisis reaches 1st anniversary, coinciding with Holy Week. Religious processions and civic protests merge throughout the country.
📰 Police: Police attacks biggest procession in Managua on Good Friday while detaining people across the country, including formerly released prisoners.
📰 Sanctions: US Treasury sanctions son of President Ortega and BANCORP bank, linked to Venezuelian oil company. Here’s an analysis of thes sanctions. // Socialist group in the European Parliament demands sanctions against those responsible of violating human rights in Nicaragua. // Argentina’s ambassador to OAS says “if the dialogue does not advance, the Democratic Charter will.”
Migration
📰Caravans: 350 migrants pushed past a gate at the Guatemalan border to enter Mexico and join a caravan of nearly 2,000 migrants. // Thousands of migrants traveling to the US are stopped at Mexico’s southern border following President Obrador’s order to suspend the issuance of all migratory visas.
📰Asylum Seekers: More than 300 asylum seekers are detained and turned over to Border Patrol by an “armed militia” in New Mexico. // U.S. Administration issues order that would keep migrants in jail indefinitely while they await their asylum process.
📰 Family reunification: Court rules that up to 2,700 Central American children are allowed to reunite with their families in the U.S. in context of Central American Minors program. // Father and son from Guatemala separated for 326 days are reunited.
Guatemala
📰 Elections: Presidential candidate Mario Estrada was charged with conspiring to import cocaine into the U.S. along with a firearms offense because he was trying to receive US$12 millon for his campaign from drug cartels. He appeared without an attorney in Miami court.
📰 Jail: Convict Howard Wilfredo Barillas Morales, “Matazetas,” is the new convict who controls life in the Pavón prison, a detention center known for its lack of governance outside of Guatemala City.
📰 Innovation: Young Guatemalan is recognized for his inventions which includes a robot for NASA and a machine to lower the temperature of the planet.
📰 Hack: A hacker stole more than 4,800 documents from Mexico’s embassy in Guatemala and posted them online.
El Salvador
📰Water: After weeks of protest for the lack of water, residents from Planes de Renderos file a lawsuit in El Salvador’s Supreme Court against the public water administration responsible for servicing their community.
📰 Gangs: The Secretary of Security confirms the emergence of new gangs, presumably the result of internal conflicts over power and the distribution of profits. // Following the murder of five men in the prison of Izalco, the director of the penitentiary center reports that the Barrio 18 gang is “purging” itself.
📰 Environment: Youth from Santa Ana hold the second annual  “Galería Verde” Festival to bring attention to the need to care for the Cuzcachapa Lagoon and other natural resources.
📰 Sexual Violence: Priest accused of sexually abusing young girl in the community of Lourdes is arrested and sent to prison, where he awaits trial. // Rates of sexual violence in El Salvador rose by a third last year, with the majority of cases involving underage girls.
Honduras
📰 Police: Military Police carried out operations throughout Honduras to “counteract criminal acts.” They detained the director of Garifuna organization (OFRANEH) Miriam Miranda and her colleague, before being released. OFRANEH stated that this is “evidence that Honduras’ war against drugs is merely a tactic to suppress the people.”
📰 Corruption: Anti-corruption body in Honduras MACCIH will present claims of corruption against 42 congressmen after Easter holidays.
Costa Rica
📰 Drug-Trafficking: The Ministry of Public Security in Costa Rica reported finding 1.4 tons of cocaine in a container, which would have passed through Honduras with Guatemala as its final destination.
📰 Venezuela: Costa Rica’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the diplomats appointed by Nicolás Maduro have left Costa Rica and “are no longer recognized as representatives of Venezuela in Costa Rica.”
📰 Coachella: Costa Rican psychedelic rock band Las Robertas are the first group from Costa Rica to play at Coachella, they explain their experience in a Q/A.
Panama
Economy: Panama has experienced a sustained economic boom, with an annual growth rate of 6.4%, with which it increased its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from US$ 25.2 billion in 2008 to US$ 65.2 billion. // Business people from Dubai met executives from the Colon Free Zone to see investment opportunities.
Interview: In an interview with CNN, President Varela spoke about public and foreign investments as a catalyst to create jobs and that the Panamanian justice system is independent.
Belize
📰 Referendum: US, UK, and European Union release joint statement urging Belize to move forward with land dispute referendum. // The Caribbean Democrat Union (CDU) dispatches a team to observe the referendum proceedings.
📰 Border with Guatemala: Military tensions continue with the Guatemalan Armed Forces along the Sarstoon River.
Semana Santa in Antigua Guatemala
Good Reads
📚 Global Voices rounds up what happened in Nicaragua this past year and reports that Nicaraguans don’t just want Ortega out, they want to “eradicate authoritarianism, sexism, personal autocracy.”
📚 ABC reports on how Central American migrants organize themselves on social media to join caravans.
📚 The New Yorker discusses how Trump Administration is intentionally pushing the limits of immigration policy and goes beyond the law to achieve what he wants.
📚 Fr. Ismael Moreno (Padre Melo), explains Honduras’ military and legal strategy of “pacification” after the 2017 electoral crisis on the Magazine Envío. (In Spanish)
📚 In El Salvador, the comic Oscuro that narrates the adventures of an ex-gang member turned superhero was censored by the police. Maria Luz Nochez claims in El Faro that this censorship reflects a society in which those who have a past in the gangs are seen as incapable of rehabilitation. (In Spanish).
📚 The Washington Post describes the “The Stay Here Center” which is a U.S.-funded school established in Guatemala to deter migration by providing young Guatemalans with job skills to find success in their own country along with lectures on the dangers of migrating north.
Presenting Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala Curator
Nansi Rodriguez is a college student of Guatemalan descent living in Virginia, United States. She is currently conducting research on language contact and change in Guatemala and plans on pursuing a career in forensic linguistics. She is a middle child who loves coffee, photography, and volunteering.
Nansi Rodriguez is a college student of Guatemalan descent living in Virginia, United States. She is currently conducting research on language contact and change in Guatemala and plans on pursuing a career in forensic linguistics. She is a middle child who loves coffee, photography, and volunteering.
Multimedia & Art
🖋️ Managua Furiosa presents a list of Central American women writers to know and read.
📷 A photo gallery of the “Uncaged Art” exhibit features art made by Central American children who were formerly detained at the Tornillo “tent city” in Texas.
The Team
Melissa Vida, Head Curator and Editor
Nansi Rodríguez, Guatemala Curator
Rodrigo Peñalba, Nicaragua Curator
Jonathan Peraza, Migration Curator
Jalileh García, Honduras Curator
Rachel Ketola, El Salvador Curator
Mariana Rodriguez-Pareja, Panama Curator
Rachel Osorio, Costa Rica Curator
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