Archive for the ‘Central America’ Category

Migration crisis has not ended but has been moved to Mexico, study shows

Monday, June 15th, 2015

[Translation of an article from El Faro of San Salvador, El Salvador, for June 11, 2015. See original here.]

The wave of migration that generated a humanitarian crisis last year on the southern border of the United States has not stopped but has moved to the south of Mexico, according to a study released last Thursday by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

In the first seven months of the 2015 fiscal year (from October, 2014, to April, 2015), Mexico has detained more Central American citizens than the United States itself, indicating that the country is acting as a retaining wall to the wave of migration, according to experts in that organization.

During that period, the United States detained 70,440 Central Americans as they were trying to enter the country, but Mexico arrested 92,889 under the same conditions, according to official data from the National Institute on Migration of Mexico and Customs and Border Protection of the United States. (more…)

Mexico: The Buen Pastor Shelter, where injured travelers find support

Saturday, December 28th, 2013
((Juan Presentación Marroquín - La Jornada photo by Blanche Petrich))

((Juan Presentación Marroquín – La Jornada photo by Blanche Petrich))

Central Americans say Mexican government does not do enough to fight crimes against migrants

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for December 22, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here, here and here.]

by Blanche Petrich

Tapachula, Chiapas, December 21 – Anita Zelaya, from El Salvador, walks with determination into the men’s dormitory at the Buen Pastor Shelter, a unique place in the country where sick or injured migrants are taken in. In a bed in the back lies a countryman of hers, Juan Presentación Marroquín. “How are you, hijo? We came to say hello and to see how we can help you.” The boy, with both his legs amputated at the hip, turns toward the wall in annoyance. “Or rather, you help me. Look, this is my son, who is missing. Do you recognize him?”

The possibility of being useful stirs Juan from his lethargy. Ana and Juan talk; it turns out they are from the same place, Soyapango. And, no, Juan has not seen Anita’s son, Rafael Rolín Zelaya, kidnapped by extortionists in 2002, anywhere on the train known as La Bestia, which he has ridden five times. But he hastens to tell his story. (more…)

The calvary of Central American migrants

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

The massacre at San Fernando leaves its mark on migrants’ route through Mexico

[Translation of an article from ContraPunto of San Salvador for August 13, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here, here and here.]

by Marcia San Juan

Mexico City – Between August 22 and 23, 2010, members of the Los Zetas cartel murdered 72 migrants in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, after they refused to become paid assassins. It was the first massacre of its type carried out in Mexico by organized crime but it was not the last or the only one and almost three years later, conditions for Central Americans crossing this country in hopes of reaching the United States remain the same, marked by extortion, harassment, rape, kidnapping and murder.

The news reached the pages of the leading Mexican newspapers on August 25, two days later, after a survivor of the killings managed to arrive at an army control post and give details of the massacre.

The undocumented migrants – 58 men and 14 women, coming from El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, Ecuador and Costa Rica – were traveling on a bus toward the United States when, as they reached San Fernando, in the north of the country, they were intercepted by members of Los Zetas, who proposed that they work for the cartel as paid killers, at a salary of about 1,000 dollars every two weeks. (more…)

US strengthens military in Central America, starting in Honduras

Thursday, July 4th, 2013
((US and Honduran troops in Tegucigalpa))

((US and Honduran troops in Tegucigalpa))

Increase in US military presence began after coup

[Translation of an article from Opera Mundi of São Paulo, Brazil, for June 29, 2013. See original here and related articles here and here.]

by Giorgio Trucchi

The United States foresees for fiscal year 2014 a moderate decrease in spending for the “war on drugs” in Mexico and Colombia in exchange for an increase for CARSI (Central America Regional Security Initiative), for which the State Department requested 162 million dollars, 26 million more than was budgeted for 2012. Although it is not easy to determine exactly how much of that will reach Honduras through different means and programs, it is logical to assume that that country will enjoy a privileged status.

The Honduran National Congress recently approved the creation of 1,000 new positions in the army and the formation of the elite Tigres corps (Tropa de Inteligencia y Grupos de Respuesta Especial de Seguridad). “They want to make the military power grow at the expense of public safety,” Marvin Ponce, vice president of the Congress, told the local press. (more…)

Central America: Northern Triangle countries are being militarized

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Repressive strategies led by former soldiers are the new norm in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador

[Translation of an article from ContraPunto of San Salvador for December 14, 2011. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Gerardo Arbaiza

The Central American Northern Triangle, consisting of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, has been found in several studies to be the most violent region of the world not involved in an armed conflict.

According to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Honduras is in first place in the world in homicides, with a rate of 78 for every 100,000 inhabitants, followed by El Salvador with 66 and, three levels below, Guatemala, with a total of 41 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.

The World Health Organization considers a country to be in an epidemic when the rate of deaths from any cause reaches ten for every 100,000 inhabitants.

The strategy these countries have adopted recently to reduce these figures is directed at taking members of the armed forces and using them together with police forces for tasks of citizen security. (more…)

Safe-conduct document for Central Americans proposed

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

[Translation of an article from Diario Tiempo of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for October 17, 2011, from an Agence France Presse dispatch. See original article here and related articles here, here and here.]

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Mexico – A proposal to create a document granting safe-conduct to Central Americans who enter Mexico on their way to the United States was offered by the governor of the Mexican state of Chiapas during a ministerial meeting of the Grupo de Tuxtla, made up of representatives of ten countries.

“We respectfully offer a proposal to create biometric identification, passports, official identification cards or some kind of document for entering our country and thus to combat the most despicable of businesses, which is the trafficking and dealing in persons,” said Juan Sabines, governor of the state of Chiapas, the capital of which is the site of the meeting, being held in preparation for a presidential summit planned for November. (more…)

Guatemala: Salvadoran legislator denies turn to the right in Central America

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Two rightist candidates will contend for the Guatemalan presidency in November runoff election

[Translation of an article from Diario Tiempo of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, for September 12, 2011,based on an Agence France Presse dispatch. See original here.]

The president of the Salvadoran legislature, leftist Sigfrido Reyes, on Monday denied that the rightist win in Sunday’s elections in Guatemala signals a general turn to the right in Central America.

“Guatemala has taken a step within its democratic development,” said Reyes, who led a mission from the Salvadoran legislature to observe the elections in Guatemala. Two rightists, retired General Otto Pérez and businessman Manuel Baldizón, will compete for the presidency of Guatemala in a runoff in November, as indicated by a count of 95 percent of the polls in the Sunday election.

Reyes, leader of the ruling Frente Farabundo Martí (FMLN) of El Salvador, denied that the results signal “the return to power of the right” in Central America and declared that the case of Guatemala is “atypical.” In Guatemala, “the party institutions are young, some of them weak, in other cases they tend to be short-lived. This last element is very characteristic of the Guatemalan political tradition, so each election is a surprise,” he stressed. The legislator denied a general return to power of the right on the isthmus, affirming that in the other Central American countries “there are established parties (on the left), with histories and with very well defined ideologies.”

Three leftists won presidencies in Central America between 2007 and 2009, an unprecedented occurrence: Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua (Sandinista), Álvaro Colom in Guatemala (Social Democrat) and Mauricio Funes in El Salvador (FMLN). Honduras and Panama have rightist governments, while that of Costa Rica is nominally social democrat but is considered on the right because of its neoliberal policies.

From Monterrey to Atlántida

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

A demonstration against violence in Monterrey

[Translation of an editorial from El Faro of San Salvador for August 29, 2011. See original here. Atlántida is a state on the Caribbean coast of Honduras, best known as a luxury tourist attraction but recently also a center of drug trafficking and other organized crime, and of the violence that results.]

The recent attack on a casino in Monterrey, which left more than 50 dead, raised even higher the level of horror that drug trafficking gangs have unleashed in Mexico in their delivery of drugs to the United States.

President Felipe Calderón, besieged by a population fed up with so much bloodshed, pointed rightly toward the United States, asking that country to begin the task it has never been willing to take on: that of decreasing the drug use and toughening its control over the sale of fire arms. (more…)

The continuing dangers of migration through Mexico

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

Los Angeles Times photo by Don Bartletti

[Translations of two articles from La Jornada of Mexico City for December 24, 2010.  See originals here and here.]

Human Rights Commission documents kidnapping of 20,000 migrants in 2010

Mexico City, December 23 – The Comisión Nacional de Derechos Humanos (CNDH – National Human Rights Commission) of Mexico has documented more than 10,000 kidnappings of illegal migrants during a six-month period of this year, an official of the organization announced on Thursday.

The CNDH has recently investigated at the scene the abduction of some 50 immigrants who were travelling on a freight train through Oaxaca, in southern Mexico, as charged by Central American governments. (more…)

Mexico: Aggression against undocumented migrants worsens

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for November 10, 2010. See original article here and related article here.]

by Fabiola Martínez

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, November 9 – “What country was Calderón talking about?” asked Edith Zavala, executive secretary of the Foro Nacional para las Migraciones [National Forum for Migration] of Honduras, a support network for citizens of that country who have suffered abuse while traveling through Mexico, as soon as the president’s long speech ended..

Calderón listed measures to support the migrants, actions to arrest those responsible for the massacre in Tamaulipas of 72 workers from Central and South America and reassured listeners that his administration respects human rights. (more…)

Central America: See you at the next massacre

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

[Translation of an article from El Faro of El Salvador for August 26, 2010. See the original here .] 

By Óscar Martínez

I don’t understand the uproar over the 72 migrants Los Zetas assassinated in Mexico. I guess it was because of the number of bodies piled up together, in plain view in the picture from the ranch in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas. It’s a worm of corpses rolled up against the wall of a dilapidated shed in that wilderness in the middle of nowhere, out there at the end of the little dirt road. Some of the corpses had their hands tied behind their backs. Others were lying piled on top of each other, in the parts of the worm that were swollen. I don’t understand the uproar over the massacre of so many migrants.

The big news media, of Mexico, of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, even of the United States, of Spain and South America, have used their front pages, their important sections, their top news spots, to cover the massacre of migrants in Mexico. I don’t understand the uproar in such big media.

The politicians, the ones from Mexico, from Central America, from Brazil, Ecuador, have rushed to sit in their press conference chairs in front of those media and to appear later on the front pages. It’s true, not just any politicians. They are the heads of departments, of institutions, of organizations. They are even the presidents themselves of those countries, who have said, as the one from Mexico said, that the perpetrators of the massacre in San Fernando are “animals.” I don’t understand such an uproar by so many important politicians. (more…)

Meeting held in Guatemala despite absence of three Central American presidents

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

Caracas declares Clinton tour a failure

[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for March 4, 2010.]

Agence France Presse and Deutsche Presseagentur

Caracas, March 4 – Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro has called Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Latin American tour “a failure” and declared that she came to the region “to scheme, to attempt to divide the countries that are trying to unite our continent, to attempt to sow doubt about the process of democratic transformation that countries like Venezuela are living through.” (more…)