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We continue to organize our communities in support and defense of immigrants, especially those in vulnerable situations. Connect with Immigration Working Group CLE, a collaborative of community advocates and organizations across NE Ohio. Ask about the group’s Immigrant Defense Fund, Rapid Response Team, Bond Reduction Project, volunteer needs, legislative advocacy, vigils, rallies, marches, and more. Contact iwgcle@gmail.com or see www.facebook.com/iwgCLE
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Becca Mollay-Renk works with the Center for Development in Central America in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua. When she got a headache that wouldn’t go away, her condition (and fears) put her right inside the debate over Nicaragua’s response to COVID-19. Despite being the poorest country in the region, since the coronavirus pandemic hit Central America earlier this year, Nicaragua has consistently had fewer cases, fewer deaths and more successful recoveries per capita than any other country in the isthmus.
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In a massive show of armed force, Border Patrol, along with the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), descended on the camp with an armored tank, ATVS, a helicopter, and many marked and unmarked vehicles. Agents armed with assault rifles chased and terrorized those that were receiving care, all while the helicopter hovered low above them kicking up dust and debris, making it nearly impossible to see. Border patrol smashed windows, broke doors, and destroyed essential camp infrastructure as well as supplies.This was after heavily surveilling the camp and patrolling its perimeter, creating an antagonistic and distressing environment for those receiving care, since late Saturday night on the 3rd.
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“Every day that passes we know less about him. He’s weak, he’s had Covid symptoms; we worry about his health and safety in the prison.” Gabriela Sorto expresses great concern for her father Porfirio Sorto Cedillo, a 48-year-old builder and farm worker, who is one of eight protesters from Guapinol held in pre-trial detention since September 2019 for alleged crimes linked to their opposition to an iron oxide mine which threatens to contaminate their water supply. The community of Guapinol (named for its river) is in the fertile, mineral-rich Bajo Agua region, where for years subsistence farmers and indigenous Hondurans have been forcibly displaced, criminalized and killed in conflicts with powerful conglomerates over land and water. “My dad has been jailed for defending a river which gives our community life, for trying to stop the exploitation of natural resources by rich companies who the government helps to terrorize us,” said Gabriela Sorto.
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The ZEDEs (Zonas de Empleo y Desarrollo) -- also known as "model cities" -- continue stirring up controversy on the pages of the daily newspapers and on the streets of Honduras in the form of organized resistance. Edmundo Orellano is the former foreign minister and former defense minister of Honduras. In this article published in La Tribuna, he describes the ZEDEs this way: "We are handing over the territory and sovereignty, displacing the population and stripping it of its real estate, to establish small States ['model cities"] in a territory that will no longer be ours, populated by foreigners, that are like the ones that appear provoking the islanders in the video went viral on the networks, they will be, for the most part, louts."
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A "model city?" According to Edmundo Orellano, the former foreign minister and former defense minister of Honduras: "We are handing over the territory and sovereignty, displacing the population and stripping it of its real estate, to establish small States ['model cities"] in a territory that will no longer be ours, populated by foreigners, that are like the ones that appear provoking the islanders in the video went viral on the networks, they will be, for the most part, louts." This article looks at local resistance on the island of Roatán to the model city (aka ZEDE, or Zona de Empleo y Desarrollo) called Próspera .
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With little more than a year passed since President Nayib Bukele took office, one thing has become crystal clear: the country is still trying to resolve its different historical problems through repression. At the onset of the pandemic, the president publicly instructed the security forces to “be tougher” on those who did not comply with the quarantine, noting that he did not care about complaints of the authorities “bending wrists” or seizing vehicles. Over the last few months, armed soldiers have, for example, been deployed to perform tasks related to containing the virus. These images only served to remind us of the terrible years of the armed conflict. In addition to the deployment of security, police and military forces, there have been multiple allegations of excessive use of force and arbitrary arrests. According to official figures, more than 16,000 people were quarantined in state custody, including those accused of breaking the national lockdown and people returning from overseas.