News Article
Scott Warren, a geographer and humanitarian aid worker based in southern Arizona, has been found not guilty on two counts of harboring unauthorized migrants in a case that has gained international attention and called into question the role of humanitarian aid during a time of contentious crackdown on immigration by the federal government. He was arrested on Jan. 17, 2018 by Border Patrol agents who had been surveilling a base used by humanitarian aid groups in Ajo, Arizona, that leave out water and food for migrants who make the deadly, and unauthorized, trek across the Sonoran Desert. The desert has claimed the lives of at least 7,000 migrants who have tried to cross it since the 1990s. Warren first started volunteering six years ago with the group No More Deaths. On the day of his arrest, Border Patrol agents found Warren with two migrants from Central America. Warren said that he gave them shelter, food and first aid. However, the Border Patrol agents claimed Warren was helping the migrants evade custody and prosecutors charged Warren with two counts of harboring undocumented immigrants and one count of conspiracy to harbor and transport. After facing trial in June, a jury failed to reach a verdict and the government sought a retrial that dropped the conspiracy charge. Bijal Shah, an associate professor of law at Arizona State University, says Warren’s case fits into a larger violation of international law by the U.S. government that is implementing policies aimed at keeping refugees and asylum-seekers from entering the country. “Charging Scott Warren in this context is part of a broader framework of governmental interest in dissuading people from supporting non-citizens” she says. “By discouraging people from assisting non-citizens we are discouraging people from maintaining the United States' humanitarian commitments.”
News Article
Border closures, curfews and bans on sale of alcohol announced as tens of thousands are expected to march amid wave of turmoil Tens of thousands are expected to join protests on Thursday against the rightwing government of Iván Duque, whose popularity has dwindled steadily since he took office in August last year. “The government is worried because the people and organizations who have come out in support of the protest are more heterogeneous than they are used to,” said Sergio Guzmán, the director of Colombia Risk Analysis. “It’s not only the labour unions, or the students, or indigenous people; it’s all of them.”
News Article
The Trump administration, which has already closed the Mexican border to most Central Americans seeking U.S. asylum, is planning to go a step further and send most of the would-be migrants to another Central American nation to seek refuge there. Regulations proposed by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security would authorize immigration judges at the southern border to send asylum-seekers to one of three countries — Guatemala, El Salvador or Honduras — as long as it was not their homeland. They could apply for asylum there rather than in the United States. The rules would allow other migrants to remain in the United States if they could convince an immigration judge that they were likely to be persecuted, or tortured, in the Central American country where they were to be sent to apply for asylum. That would be very difficult to prove for a migrant who would have little or no time to gather evidence about conditions in the Central American nation and, in nearly all cases, would not have access to a lawyer, said Richard Caldarone, an attorney with the Tahirih Justice Center, a support group for immigrant women and girls.
News Article
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Central American University (UCA) massacre. On the morning of November 16, 1989 the Atlacatl Battalion of the Salvadoran Army, led by 19 School of the Americas (SOA) graduates, entered university grounds and brutally assassinated Elba Ramos, her 16-year old daughter, Celina Ramos, and six Jesuit priests–amongst them, Father Ignacio Ellacuría, an outspoken critic of El Salvador’s military dictatorship. The SOA Watch movement initially formed to denounce this massacre — one of the many atrocities that occurred in Central America as the United States funded civil wars and trained military at the SOA/WHINSEC.
News Article
Over the last century, the U.S. military intervention leading to the overthrow of democratically elected governments—or its support for tyrannical regimes—has played an important role in the instability, poverty, and violence that drives tens of thousands of people from the Central American countries toward Mexico and the United States. Guatemala: U.S. government support to the Guatemalan military was responsible for most of the human rights abuses committed during the 36-year war (1960-86) in which 200,000 people (mostly Mayan indigenous) were killed in what is now recognized as genocide. El Salvador: During the 1980s, the US sent $1-$2million in military aid per day. U.S. officers took over key positions at top levels of the Salvadoran military during the 12-yr war (1979-1992). More than 75,000 people were murdered or “disappeared,” while 20% of the population fled the country as refugees to Mexico and the US. Honduras: In 2009, President Manuel Zelaya, a liberal reformist, was ousted in a military coup (conducted by officers trained at the infamous School of the Americas). The U.S. refused to call it a coup while working to ensure that Zelaya did not return to power, in flagrant contradiction to the wishes of the Organization of American States. Today, there is routine violent crackdown by the police and military on the pro-democracy movement.
News Article
Building a more just society takes more than political and social activism; it also involves encouraging businesses to see the economic potential of the LGBT community. That was one of the key takeaways from the fifth annual WeTrade Fair hosted by the Colombian LGBT Chamber of Commerce (CCLGBTCO). CCLGBTCO,a private non-profit organization, aims to support businesses in strengthening their internal and external LGBT diversity and inclusion programs. The WeTrade Fair, which billed itself as “the LGBT+ Fair in Latin America,” hosted over 20 large businesses that either specifically cater to an LGBT+ population or that are looking to expand their customer base to a more diverse audience.