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During her visit to Guatemala in early June, Vice President Kamala Harris made comments regarding migration to the southern U.S. border that sparked controversy.
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Thousands of rural Guatemalans — as well as Salvadorans and Hondurans in agrarian areas — increasingly are leaving their communities. These days, migration — including the record number of unaccompanied children — is on the rise in rural areas, as an increasing portion of the country’s land and population faces the fallout from climate change.
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The case of the 17 year old student Riccy Mabel Martínez puts in the public eye the most extreme violence that women in Honduras suffer: femicide. July 13, 2021 marked 30 years since the violent murder of the student, violated and assassinated with rage by military personnel in a case in which impunity took precedence. "It was the femicide that marked a precedent, above all for the fight against the violent deaths of women," said the coordinator for el Observatorio de Derechos Humanos de Mujeres (CDM), Helen Ocampo, to Criterio.hn. However, these crimes "with the years have been normalized more," she added. Between 2011 and 2020, 4,707 violent deaths of women were registered, according to CDM.
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Aviva Chomsky, author most recently of Central America’s Forgotten History: Revolution, Violence, and the Roots of Migration, points out that the president’s new plan for Central America, supposedly aimed at the “root causes” of migration to this country, is the disappointing equivalent of ancient history even when solutions are actually available. He’s once again offering that region the kind of “aid” that helped create today’s “migrant crisis.” As it happens, more military and private development aid of the Biden’s plan calls for won’t stop migration or help Central America.
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President Biden’s pick to run U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement pledged Thursday to uphold the “rule of law” with a goal of improving public safety — and said he would not end a voluntary program that allows local law enforcement to cooperate with federal deportation efforts.
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Roberto David Castillo – who was trained in the U.S. and was a former member of the Honduran army during a coup in 2009 – was convicted on July 5, 2021 of being a co-conspirator in the assassination of world renowned Indigenous environmentalist Berta Cáceres. On August 2, he will be sentenced, which could be between 24 and 30 years. In the US Congress, companion legislation being considered in the House and Senate would suspend support for the Honduran government until corruption and human rights abuses are no longer systemic. A separate bill in the House, HR 1574, the "Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act," would stop U.S. assistance to the Honduran police or military. "Berta was of the generation that understood profoundly what militarization did. The bill really speaks to her legacy and efforts to end militarization and funding for the military," said Suyapa Portillo Villeda, a Honduran historian and associate professor at Pitzer College.
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In the pursuit of addressing the ‘root causes’ of migration from Central America to the U.S. southern border, the United States is motivated by a foreign policy built on seeking to improve conditions in Central America countries. However, this policy fails to fully grasp the extreme conditions that now mark contexts of forced displacement.