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IRTF has been connecting with the LGBTQ+ community in El Salvador especially since we co-organized the first-ever LGBTQ+ delegation from Ohio to Central America in 2013. While visiting El Salvador, we have become friends with many transgender persons (particularly transgender women). Here in the US, we’ve also gotten to know many who have fled to the US seeking refuge and asylum. This new “cooperative agreement” makes an almost impossible asylum process even more impossible. But there might be hope: US President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to terminate the deeply flawed agreement.
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On January 6, 2021, the former head of security for a subsidiary of the Toronto-based mining company Hudbay Minerals officially pled guilty in a Guatemalan court to killing a local Indigenous community leader and paralyzing another Indigenous man. This could have important ramifications for two lawsuits against Hudbay underway in Ontario that centre on the Sept. 27, 2009, killing and maiming of the Indigenous men. Mynor Padilla, the former security chief of CGN, a Guatemalan nickel-mining company that was owned by Hudbay between 2008 and 2011, pled guilty to the crimes on Dec. 17, 2020, as part of an agreement struck between Padilla and his victims, among them Angelica Choc, the widow of slain community leader Adolfo Ich, and German Chub, who was paralyzed. On Wednesday, the court accepted and ratified the guilty pleas.
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The coup plotters in Nicaragua (along with their allies in Miami and Washington) have a plan similar to the one used for Venezuela that would be activated for the Nicaraguan elections in November 2021. Basically, these are the steps: 1- don’t recognize the vote (call it a “stolen election”); 2- raise the level of violence and chaos in the country and declare a political crisis; 3- then set up a domestic legislative front; 4- appoint a non-elected interim president and seek international recognition from the likes of the EU and OAS, bodies that have already offered repeated expressions of political hostility towards the Sandinista government. With funds from USAID and other organizations (that pretend to be neutral but, as they themselves recognize, are playing a practical role supporting the CIA) the coup promoters are working on this new coup plan to push the Nicaraguan government to use force and then call for international solidarity against the “repression.” Washington would like to see a volatile electoral campaign in Nicaragua in order to destabilize the Sandinista government. So Washington has been dishing out lots of economic sanctions and diplomatic aggression.
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The year 2020 was the most violent in Colombia since the peace agreement was signed in November 2016, with widespread attacks on social activists, trade unionists and former guerrillas in the peace process. The figures released by the INDEPAZ human rights NGO make for shocking reading. During the calendar year, 309 social activists and human rights defenders were killed (totalling 1,109 since the peace agreement was signed) and 64 FARC former guerrillas were killed (249 in total). There were also 90 massacres which claimed the lives of 375 people. Additionally, state security forces killed at least 78 people.
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As we enter our 40th year, please show your support for IRTF's crucial work of cross-border, cross-sectional solidarity work. We’ll put your donation to work to stand with marginalized and vulnerable communities in Latin America, at our border, in immigration detention facilities, and on the streets of Cleveland. All people deserve care and safety. Through acts of solidarity and mutual aid, together we will build a better world of healing and liberation for all. Join with us to create a new normal.
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The Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program is one point of leverage that legislators have (responding to the advocacy efforts of Latin America solidarity groups ) to tie US foreign aid to respect for human rights. Cutting military aid like FMF tells the recipient country that the human rights movement in the US is paying attention to what is happening there. So, despite intense lobbying by the president of El Salvador, a provision in the recently approved Congressional spending bill but FMF funding for the Northern Triangle of Central America: El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.