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“José” is an award winning film from Guatemala about a young gay man’s struggles to find love in a socially conservative, homophobic society. “José” opens this Friday in South Florida theaters. But its star, Guatemalan actor Enrique Salanic, won't be here for the film's American premiere, as he'd hoped. That's because the U.S. has denied Salanic a visa to enter the country. “José” won the Queer Lion at the Venice Film Festival – the prize for the best LGBTQ-themed movie. But this film is different from a lot of films about gay people in Latin America. The homophobia is certainly felt. But the story focuses more on how hard it is for a gay man to secure a loving relationship there.
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Study finds 42.5% interviewees leaving Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador reported the violent death of a relative “We’re speaking of human beings, not numbers,” Sergio Martín, MSF general coordinator in Mexico, said at the study’s presentation on Tuesday. “In many cases, it’s clear that migration is the only possible way out. Staying put is not an option.” A 2019 survey from Creative Associates International found violence was the main driver of migration for 38% of Salvadorans, 18% of Hondurans and 14% of Guatemalans. In Guatemala – the main source of migrants detained at the US border with Mexico – 71% of respondents cited “economic concerns” as their main motive.
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A gay refugee from El Salvador who said he fled gang violence and spent a year traveling to get to the U.S. is suing the Trump administration for sending him to Guatemala as a "safe third country." After a member of the MS-13 gang threatened him in El Salvador & his mom disowned him, he came to the U.S. But he was sent to Guatemala instead. Why does the U.S. consider Guatemala a "safe third country" for LGBTQ asylum seekers? A 2012 report from the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission said that states that LGBTQ people in Guatemala face “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, including a constant threat of violence that amounts to torture, forced disappearances, sexual violence in detention centers, and non-consensual medical testing.”
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Authorities are expanding the Remain in Mexico program, which critics say puts migrants into dangerous border towns A Human Rights First report released in December documented at least 636 public reports of violence against asylum seekers returned to Mexico including rape, kidnapping and torture. Human Rights First said that was a steep increase over October, when the group had identified 343 attacks, and noted the latest figure is surely an under-count because most crime victims don’t report.
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Berta Cáceres, who was awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2015, had long protested the construction of the dam, which threatened the livelihood of the Indigenous Lenca community living along the Gualcarque River. The activist was later shot dead in March of 2016 at her home in La Esperanza, in southwest Honduras. Private call logs, SMS, and WhatsApp messages unearthed by the Honduran Public Prosecutor’s Office revealed that the hit squad “communicated through a compartmentalized chain that reached the highest ranks of leadership” of Desarrollos Energéticos SA (DESA), the company building the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam, the Intercept reported on December 21. Seven of the eight men accused of carrying out Caceres’ killing — among them US-trained former military officials and DESA employees — were found guilty in November of 2018 and later sentenced to serve between 30 and 50 years in jail.
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The 117-page report, “Deported to Danger: United States Deportation Policies Expose Salvadorans to Death and Abuse,” identifies cases of 138 Salvadorans who, since 2013, were killed after deportation from the United States, and more than 70 others who were beaten, sexually assaulted, extorted, or tortured. Perpetrators of these abuses include gangs, former intimate partners, and Salvadoran police or security personnel.