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Nicaragua: News & Updates

Nicaragua was ruled by the Somoza dictatorship, backed by the US, for 30 years. After the Sandinista Revolution took control in 1979, the US assembled former Somoza National Guardsmen into a counterrevolutionary force that, for the next decade,  terrorized the civilian population in an attempt to weaken popular support for the Sandinistas. The  “contra war”  left 30,000 people dead and forced more than 100,000 to seek refuge in the US.

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The Cleveland Immigration Working Group is engaged in a number of immigrant defense and support activities. We need more volunteer help. Please read below and consider helping with some of these needs: A. Safe Hotels Campaign B. Rapid Response Team C. Bond Packets for Release from Detention D. Court Monitoring E. Bus Reception F. Public Actions G. Sponsor Families H. Help for ICE Raid Victims and those in detention I. Prayer Support . If you would like to learn more about any of these initiatives, please email irtf@irtfcleveland.org or call (216) 961 0003.
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La Via Campesina: Many NE Ohioans met Marlen Sanchez, national coordinator of agroecology, when she was here from Nicaragua in November 2018. One year later, the first Instituto Agroecologico Latinoamericano (Latin American Institute of Agroecology or IALA) held a graduation ceremony in Chontales, Nicaragua, for its first cohort of graduates. Contingents from several nations arrived, highlighting the diverse bonds of solidarity that were both created by, and strengthened by, the school. The graduating class is comprised of students from the region: Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala. These students were chosen by their home organizations, all of which are participants in La Via Campesina. Congratulations to these agroecologists!
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Like the “Dreamers,” another group of migrants, the TPS cardholders are Trump targets. And like the Dreamers, they’re all from countries of people of color: Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Middle East, and Nepal. Guinea, and—the latest—Nepal. Never mind that TPS people have families, businesses, homes, and community ties here. One even has a grown U.S.-born doctor son who, the proud father said, “just delivered 14 babies” in Chicago hospitals. So that clash with Trump and U.S. Senate Republicans brought Palma, Sorto, Baraq and almost 100 other people, TPS holders, and their families, to Capitol Hill for lobbying and cajoling lawmakers on Dec. 3. Their objective: To get the GOP-run Senate to follow the Democratic-run U.S. House and pass HR6, the Secure Act, and end the constant worrying TPS card-holders have that, as one put it, “We’ll wake up one morning and wonder if we’ll still be allowed here.”
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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.
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Three countries—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—received more than 90 per cent of the deportations from the United States. Many of these deportees were members of the 18th Street and Salvatrucha gangs who had arrived in the United States as children but had never secured legal residency or citizenship; they had joined the gangs as a way to feel included in a receiving country that often actively impeded their integration. On being sent back to countries of origin that they barely knew, deportees reproduced the structures and behaviour patterns that had provided them with support and security in the United States. They swiftly founded local clikas, or chapters, of their gang in their communities of origin; in turn, these clikas rapidly attracted local youths and either supplanted or absorbed pandillas [local gangs].
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The rampant violence that afflicts the Northern Triangle, must be understood as a permutation of both preceding civil wars and US imperialism...The United States bears responsibility for instilling right-wing forces with a virulent anticommunism through both mobile and School of the Americas training programs...Sara Diamond argues, “Anticommunism became the American Right’s dominant motif not just because it justified the enforcement of US dominion internationally but also because it wove together disparate threads of right-wing ideology.” The Reagan foreign policy doctrine conveyed a project to “roll back revolution” and to undo gains made by struggles for decolonization. Reagan's wars in Central America followed a 100-year tradition of US military intervention. Starting in the 19th century, the US military invaded Nicaragua 3 times (1894, 1896, 1910) and occupied the nation for 20 years (1912-1933). The US sent troops to Honduras 5 times from 1903 to 1924. In Guatemala, the CIA overthrew its democratically elected president Jacobo Arbenz in 1954, laying the conditions for 30 years of civil war, and the massacre of 200,000 mostly indigenous people. In tandem with US militarization,...fruit companies restructured the region's economies toward monoculture. [Instituted was] a near-permanent open door for corporate intervention in matters of national sovereignty.
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"The Central America region, especially El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, known as the CA-4 group, have very high levels of corruption similar to those in sub-Saharan Africa," said the executive director of the Seattle International Foundation, Arturo Aguilar. "Given these disturbing trends, it’s no wonder people have very little trust in government. In fact, 65 percent of respondents think their government is run by and for a few private interests," the body said in their report.
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Although mostly centered on migration, talk of Latin American foreign policy has increased as the presidential primaries near. Presidential hopefuls have ripped into President Donald Trump’s immigration policy, especially focusing on his “zero tolerance” policy. South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has called it “dead wrong” and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro has vowed to decriminalize migration and admit climate refugees who ask for asylum. But the truth is that even in a crowded pool of candidates fighting for the 2020 nomination, many have failed to address how they would work with Latin American countries to address the root causes that push Latin American and Caribbean migrants to seek a better life in the United States. As candidates gear up for the fourth presidential debate...here is what some Democratic presidential hopefuls (and former contenders) have said about Latin American foreign policy so far.
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Culture, religion, nationality, language or customs, do not determine a race … Many people worldwide understand it and conduct struggles to state this “truth.” Many others only know how to exclude, thinking that excluding will make them better. Will this be the ultimate battle for a better society? The Costa Rica News brings you a special report about racism in two cultures: North America and Latin America. Racism in the United States has been gaining strength for many years, by Americans of Anglo-Saxon origin (a term that comes from the German population, northern Germany, Holland, Great Britain). It has manifested and continues to be given to minority groups. Previously, Jim Crow laws (state and local laws in the United States, promulgated by white state legislatures) emerged; such laws advocated racial segregation (separation of different groups in daily life, whether in restaurants, bathrooms, schools, hotels, casinos, among others places), and in general, all public facilities, under the slogan “separate but equal." Paul Krugman, the economist and editor of the New York Times, says that the speech of US President Donald Trump is extremely racist and anchored to the past. “In his mind, it is always 1989, and that is not an accident: the way in which the United States changed in the last three decades, both for good and for bad, is incompatible with Trump-style racism,” he states.

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