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October 28, 2019
According to the “Who Cares” data, there were 10,666 black children in foster care in 2017, as compared with 7,358 white youth. While black youth make up nearly 15% percent of the population in New York State, they make up nearly 57% of the foster care population.
October 25, 2019
In the tiny Central American nation, which has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, the traumatic experience of having a miscarriage or the death of a newborn baby can often be compounded by serious jail time. In a region wrestling with alarming rates of gender-based violence, El Salvador stands out for its relentless persecution of women suspected of having abortions or killing their newborn babies. Since 2000, at least 129 women have been imprisoned following pregnancy- or birth-related complications in El Salvador, a country of approximately 6.5 million people and one of a handful in Latin America where abortion is totally banned, even when the woman’s life is at risk. Some of these women have been charged with aggravated homicide and sentenced to as many as 40 years. (Having an abortion, on the other hand, carries a maximum sentence of eight years.) By contrast, the maximum sentence for men charged with femicide, or killing a woman because of her gender, is 35 years.
October 25, 2019
For the past year or so, the news has been filled with stories about migrants coming to the U.S. from Central America. We want to understand why people were leaving their home countries. Many of the people expressed pride in their country. They love their home, and they don’t want to leave. But they also struggle. Jobs are hard to find, educational opportunities are limited, and gang activity is widespread. Many people feel they have no choice but to flee and try to start over in the U.S.
October 23, 2019
A New York court has found Tony Hernandez - brother of Honduran president Juan Orlando Hernandez, former member of Honduran Congress - guilty today on four drug-trafficking related charges: conspiring to traffic cocaine into the U.S.; conspiring to traffic drugs using machine guns; using machine guns to traffic; and lying to federal agents.
October 22, 2019
The fundamental rights of Colombian citizens, and the sovereignty of the Colombian State, may have been violated by the behavior of the former chief prosecutor of the country and of the USA, according to the war crimes tribunal in Colombia. US authorities were given free reign to conduct investigations and bring unjustifiable extradition demands against FARC commander “Jesus Santrich” without due process or oversight.
October 21, 2019
These US-based activists know firsthand the impact racism, poverty, and colonialism have had on the planet. Greta Thunberg is an exemplary leader, but by the media and public making her the center of youth-led climate activism, the work of many Indigenous, Black, and Brown youth activists is often erased or obscured. Crediting and celebrating teens of color for their work isn’t about egos; it’s about making sure society at large is forced to reckon with the full scope of climate destruction. If we choose to see this movement only through white eyes, we will miss so much.
October 17, 2019
This November (16th and 17th) the InterReligious Task Force on Central America and Colombia will be traveling—with 50 of our closest friends—to Fort Benning Georgia. Those of you who know IRTF well will know that we have been speaking out against the practices taking place at Ft. Benning, but for those who are less familiar, let me fill you in.
October 16, 2019
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.
October 15, 2019
Oscar Chacón is a co-founder and executive director of Alianza Americas. He tells us his story. In Honduras, femicide, political violence and military brutality are commonplace. Donald Trump's deal would trap people desperately seeking safety. The United Nations reported this February that 128 environmental defenders have been murdered in Honduras since 2010, and that this country has one of the highest rates of femicide in the world. The fact that only 2-5% of cases are ever successfully brought to justice, and high-ranking police officers have alleged ties to organized crime makes it hard for anyone to believe in the system.
October 15, 2019
Outgoing Department of Homeland Security head Kevin McAleenan plans to announce during a trip to Central America this week the reinstatement of foreign aid that President Trump previously demanded be withheld, according to government documents obtained by the Washington Examiner. McAleenan, the acting secretary of DHS, is slated to formally announce the United States is reinstating roughly $150 million in aid to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The forthcoming aid is primarily through Defense and State Department programs that support newly signed agreements McAleenan has recently entered with leaders from each of the three countries. The deals focus on addressing surges in recent years in the number of people from countries other than Mexico arriving at the southern border, as well as the underlying causes prompting hundreds of thousands to leave since last October.