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Guatemala: News & Updates
Guatemala had the longest and bloodiest civil war in Central American history: 36 years (1960-96). The US-backed military was responsible for a genocide (“scorched earth policy”) that wiped out 200,000 mostly Maya indigenous civilians. War criminals are still being tried in the courts.
Learn more here.
October 8, 2019
Combat drug trafficking and climate change simultaneously: Drug trafficking and organized crime are fuelling deforestation in protected tropical forests and national parks across Central America, causing substantial economic losses. Traffickers are cutting down trees to build roads and airstrips to transport cocaine and are encroaching ever further into more remote forest areas to evade anti-narcotics operations, according to two separate studies on the problem. Environmental degradation caused by drug trafficking leads to losses of about $215 million annually in natural and cultural resources across Central America’s protected forest areas, showed estimates by report co-author Bernardo Aguilar-Gonzalez. Areas that are managed by communities record “very low forest losses”, they added. “Investing in community land rights and participatory governance in protected areas is a key strategy to combat drug trafficking and climate change simultaneously,” Aguilar-Gonzalez said in a statement.
October 8, 2019
The government of the president of the United States, Donald Trump, declared in 2018 a “zero tolerance” policy on the border with Mexico before the growing arrival of undocumented immigrants, most of them from Central America. In July, the United States signed an immigration agreement with Guatemala and subsequently inked agreements with El Salvador and Honduras. US authorities said they also sought an understanding with Panama. Although the three governments reject that they are “safe third country” pacts — which would allow asylum seekers to be sent to another country to wait while their status is being processed — human rights associations claim the agreements do fall under that category.
‘There’s no asylum for anyone.’ LGBTQ, disabled asylum seekers cross border with Julián Castro, but not for long
October 7, 2019
Presidential candidate Julián Castro on Monday escorted a group of asylum seekers across the border bridge to his native Texas from Mexico, where they had been sent under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy. Walking across the bridge with Castro were eight gay and lesbian asylum seekers from Cuba, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as a deaf Salvadoran woman and her three relatives. All had earlier tried to cross here with a lawyer after being returned to Mexico to await court hearings, and all had been sent back by U.S. Customs officers. Some had already waited four months. More than 50,000 asylum seekers have been sent to Mexico to await the outcome of their U.S. immigration court cases since the Migrant Protection Protocols, known as Remain in Mexico, began in January. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials initially said “vulnerable” migrants would be exempted from the program. But scores of LGBTQ, disabled and pregnant asylum seekers have still been returned to Mexico. Late last month, the Department of Homeland Security set up courts in large white tents next to the border bridges to Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo to hear Remain in Mexico cases. The department barred public access and has required migrants to show up before dawn for hearings. Some migrants said they were kidnapped while traveling in the dark to court last month. Others have left Mexico before their court hearings, returning home on free flights and buses south provided by the Mexican government and the United Nations-affiliated International Organization for Migration.
President Trump talked about shooting migrants, using alligators at the border, according to new book
October 1, 2019
That Donald Trump has a disturbed relationship to reality is well known, but what emerges in a recently published book is a new climax of Donald Trump's fantasies of violence ...
September 28, 2019
After a screening of The Wall (55min doc.), IRTF participates in a panel discussion about current immigration enforcement policies, including the vulnerability of DACA and TPS recipients. Held at Art House, 3119 Denison Ave., Cleveland 44109. Free and open to the public.
September 26, 2019 to September 28, 2019
The Festival de Cine Latinoamericano celebrates Hispanic Heritage month with four films from Latin America, receptions and community dialogues. IRTF will participate in a panel discussion following the screening of The Wall on Saturday, Sep 28, at Art House, 3119 Denison Ave, Cleveland 44109. All screenings and events, including receptions, are free and open to the public.
September 26, 2019
The US spends almost $5B a year attempting to intercept shipments of illegal drugs from Central America, but despite the enormous outlay, the quantities of cocaine delivered to the country have continued to rise. A new study comes to drastic results...
September 25, 2019
The Border Patrol (tens of thousands of federal police agents who constitute the law enforcement force arm of US Border and Customs Protection) want to have free access to Greyhound vehicles. Greyhound says they are legally bound to let these federal police onto their buses. The ACLU and other civil rights groups disagree. They point out that Greyhound DOES have the right to refuse entry to Border Patrol agents under the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure.
August 31, 2019
(rolling deadline until positions are filled)
NISGUA is looking for committed activists who are passionate about transnational movements for justice and self-determination to join our team! Opportunities are available in both our Oakland and Guatemala City offices.
RRN Case Update
August 22, 2019
RRN case summaries at a glance
On behalf of our 190 Rapid Response Network members, IRTF volunteers write and send six letters each month to government officials in southern Mexico, Colombia, and Central America (with copies to officials in the US). Who is being targeted? indigenous and Afro-descendant leaders, labor organizers, LGBTI rights defenders, women’s rights defenders, journalists, environmental defenders, and others. By signing our names to these crucial letters, human rights crimes are brought to light, perpetrators are brought to justice and lives are spared. Our solidarity is more important than ever. Together, our voices do make a difference.