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As Congress prepares to vote on a massive military spending bill - the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) - we need strong collective action to end U.S. complicity in state repression and human rights abuses in Central America. Thankfully, progressive leader Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) has heard these demands and introduced an amendment to the NDAA that would withhold U.S. military training and equipment for security forces in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. We need as many US reps as possible to co-sponsor this amendment.
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The RENACER Act would place more unilateral coercive economic measures (aka Sanctions) on Nicaragua, facilitate greater coordination of the US’ economic war on Nicaragua with Canada and the European Union, create stricter oversight of financial institutions doing business with Nicaragua and impose greater visa restrictions.
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'It’s the support of our rural community of Elmvale that’s really given us the drive and the spirit to keep going,' said Elmvale resident Janet Spring, who is watching from afar the trial of her son-in-law in Honduras
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Nayib Bukele, the forty-year-old President of El Salvador, has been in office since 2019 and has a reputation for what is referred to as “millennial authoritarianism.” He often wears a baseball cap backward on his head, he once pronounced himself the “coolest President in the world,” and he recently made Bitcoin a legal national currency. He tends to find ways to get what he wants. In February of last year, he coerced support for a security-budget loan by surrounding the Salvadoran legislature with snipers and invading it with armed soldiers. This May, with several of his executive orders being challenged as unconstitutional, and a number of his ministries under financial investigation, he replaced the attorney general and all five judges of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, the nation’s highest, with political allies. The newly appointed judges then voided El Salvador’s ban on Presidential second terms. But, on August 31st, Bukele made an announcement that many consider to be of a different order. Late that evening, the legislature, which his party dominates, passed a law forcing all judges over the age of sixty, or those with more than thirty years of service, to retire immediately—effectively allowing Bukele to replace a third of the country’s judges. Carlos Dada, the founding editor of El Faro, a prestigious Salvadoran online investigative-journalism outlet, told me that Bukele has “grabbed all power,” adding that “he has the military and the police in his pocket. The President takes care of them—they take care of the President. He now controls the courts. arena and the F.M.L.N.”—the two main opposition parties—“have been destroyed, and he has an absolute majority in congress. He no longer has any opposition except the N.G.O.s and journalists.”
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From the September 2021 newsletter of Jubilee House/Center for Development in Nicaragua: The first Sunday in November Nicaragua will have its general elections. If you keep up with international news you may be reading a great deal of misleading information. After the attempted coup in 2018, everyone who had been arrested - whether it was for vandalism, looting, demonstrating without a permit, blocking roads, torture, or even murder - was granted provisional amnesty. The provision was that if they broke the law again, they would be arrested and stand trial. That seems logical…and generous…and yet many of these people who committed crimes before and were released are now breaking the law again and as a result are being arrested, while the international press continues to scream “repression.” Of course we do not know all the people arrested. We do not know all the crimes they are charged with, but we do know that the United States State Department had a paper leaked in 2020 that outlines how the State Department plans to disrupt the elections here and if the Sandinistas are elected again how the U.S. plans to create violence and havoc attempting to accomplish another coup since the one in 2018 failed.
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Social movement organizations in El Salvador are on high alert following a Supreme Court ruling on Sept 3 that would enable President Bukele to seek a consecutive term in office, despite multiple and explicit prohibitions in the Constitution against consecutive presidential reelection, including Article 88 which requires “alternance” in the exercise of the presidency. Though the ruling does not come as a shock, as the president’s intentions to remain in office were already clear, it affirms fears that El Salvador’s postwar democracy has entered free fall and that Bukele is successfully clearing the road of any legal challenges to his consolidation of power.