Refugees still blocked by Trump (March 7, 2017)
Trump's "Muslim Ban Lite," as the New York Times editorial board calls it, still focuses mostly on restricting people from six predominantly Muslim countries. But it still halves the number of refugees the United States will admit this year: 50,000 compared to last year’s ceiling of 110,000. However refugees already granted asylum will be permitted entry, reports the New York Times.
A Latin America Working Group (LAWG) statement strongly condemns the new measure, noting the injustice for all refugees, including those fleeing violence in Central America. "This order will also mean that asylum-seeking unaccompanied children and families seeking refuge from violence in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will face greater obstacles to their already limited chances for receiving protection," said Daniella Burgi-Palomino, Senior Associate for Mexico, Migrant Rights and Border Issues.
A New York Times feature focuses on Salvadoran two girls -- witnesses to the killing of their grandparents, community health workers believed by gang members to be tipping off authorities -- who are trying to get asylum in the U.S. "Officials and immigrant advocates in Central America fear that as the Trump administration cites the danger of admitting potential terrorists cloaked as refugees from nations like Syria, it is disregarding the tens of thousands of people here who are being terrorized by street gangs that actually originated in the United States."
A New York Times Retro Report looks at how a Yale Law group defended Haitian migrants who in 1991 fled their country by boat and were sent to Guantanamo Bay by U.S. authorities.
Cocaine has been making a comeback in the U.S., a phenomenon which might be related to increases in Colombian coca production in recent years, reports the Washington Post.
New evidence suggests that Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht paid $1 million for an opinion poll carried out by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos' 2014 reelection campaign, reports the Associated Press.
Odebrecht denied allegations that it gave money to the FARC to safeguard projects in guerrilla controlled territory, reports TeleSUR.
Peru's anticorruption prosecutor called for investigations into former President Alan García and current President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in relation to testimony linking Odebrecht to bribes paid for public works projects, reports EFE.
#NosotrasParamos: Tomorrow is International Women's Day, and "Ni Una Menos" in Argentina has called for an international women's strike to denounce gendered economic and political inequalities. The call has backing from women's groups around the region including Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil and Colombia, reports Página 12.
The "gender ideology" phantom spread from Colombia to Peru, where protesters this weekend demonstrated against a new school curriculum that incorporates gender equality perspectives, reports El País.
Honduras will hold primary elections next Sunday to choose the three main parties' presidential candidates. It's a moment of increasing tension over President Juan Orlando Hernández's bid for reelection, a loaded topic in Honduras, reports El País.
Peru recalled its ambassador to Venezuela, in the midst of a diplomatic spat after Venezuela's foreign minister called Peru's president a coward and a dog, obedient to the United States, reports the BBC.
A Guatemalan judge decided last week to send five high-ranking military officers to trial for the 1981 illegal detention, torture, and sexual violence of Emma Molina Theissen and the enforced disappearance of her 14-year-old brother Marco Antonio, reports the International Justice Monitor. (See last Thursday's briefs.)
Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales met with the U.S. Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs who went to the country to lend support for fighting drug trafficking and corruption, reports AFP.
LGBT activists in El Salvador are warning of a wave of attacks on transgender women in February, reports El País.
Summer vacation is over in Argentina, and the mid-term election year is kicking off with a high level of conflict. Teachers are leading union actions against the Macri administration -- classes are starting late this year because of a 48-hour strike in demand of higher wages, reports EFE. It's part of the country's traditional political and economic cycle, reports Carlos Cué in El País.
Pro-business measures enacted by Macri's government could create a lithium production boom in Argentina, reports Bloomberg.
New central bank data shows Brazil's recession worsened in the last quarter of 2016, reports Reuters.
Ecuador's government rejected, on principle, the U.S. State Department's latest report on human rights around the world, noting the U.S. government's failure to live up to diverse international agreements, reports TeleSUR.
Galápagos' Blue-Footed Boobies have no natural predators nor human hunters to fear. As a result, their lives are an open book for scientists, who have followed populations of the long-lived birds for years. The New York Times has a highly entertaining account of some of the boobies' foibles, including a foot fetish that makes their vividly colored appendages a key mating factor.