Central America

Migrant crisis: Syrian migrants braving Central American smuggling routes

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Two families, including four children, who turned themselves over to immigration authorities in a Texas border town on Tuesday. Sarah Kaplan Five men with fake Greek passports, stopped at a Honduras airport because of a missing vaccination certificate. A third family who showed up in Texas on Friday seeking asylum. A woman on a bus from Nicaragua, detained at the Honduras border Saturday. Since the start of Syria’s bloody civil war four years ago, a flood of refugees have fled the ... Read More »

More Mexico migrants leaving US than arriving – study

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More Mexicans are leaving the US than migrating there, reversing a longstanding flow, a study has found. BBC More than one million Mexicans and their families, including US-born children, returned to Mexico from 2009 to 2014 after living in the US, the report by Pew Research Center found. Meanwhile, only 870,000 Mexicans moved in to US during the same time period, creating a net loss of 140,000 people. An uneven economic recovery in the US was cited as a reason ... Read More »

Cuba–US Relations and the Perspicacity of Fidel Castro’s Thinking

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In an online interview with an alternative US-based website published on January 7, 2015, I was asked about my take on the seeming rapprochement between the United States and Cuba. With regard to the December 17, 2014 announcement, I responded: “On that December 17, the situation caused me to think of the public statement Fidel Castro made to his followers on January 8, 1959, just eight days after the triumph of the Revolution: ‘This is a decisive moment in our ... Read More »

Mexican government releases files on missing students

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The Mexican attorney general has made public the file on last year’s disappearance of 43 student teachers who clashed with the police. BBC – Arely Gomez Gonzalez released more than 80 volumes of material. The case has prompted protests across Mexico, increasing pressure on President Enrique Pena Nieto. Relatives dispute his government’s account that police in Guerrero state handed the students over to a gang who killed them and burnt the bodies. The attorney general’s office said the document had ... Read More »

Peace needs truth, not punishment

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Retribution will not heal old wounds in Colombia, warns Leonardo Goi. New Internationalist – By Leonardo Goi Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Commander Rodrigo Londoño Echeverri last week issued a historic joint statement. A transitional justice framework will be established, through which those responsible for the atrocities committed in the 51-year conflict between the state and the guerrillas will be prosecuted. Santos and Londoño (who goes by the alias ‘Timochenko’) announced that the ... Read More »

Mexico: From Cold War to Drug War

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Earlier this summer, I participated in the Library of Congress’s first ever ScholarFest. My conversation partner, UVA’s Professor William Hitchcock, and I spent ten minutes discussing whether the Cold War still mattered. I imagine that very few people in the audience were surprised to hear two historians argue for the continuing relevance of the Cold War. They were surprised, however, by some of the reasons we gave. The National Interest – Renata Keller What I told the audience was this: in ... Read More »

Statement on the Transitional Justice Agreement between the Colombian Government and FARC

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The agreement on transitional justice reached by the government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and publicly announced yesterday in Havana is a major breakthrough in the four-year peace talks. In effect, it anticipates the termination of the 51-year armed conflict. In an unprecedented personal meeting, President Juan Manual Santos and FARC’s maximum leader, Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry (“Timochenko”), agreed that a final peace agreement would be signed within six months. Bogotá/Brussels | ICG The agreement establishes ... Read More »

Pope may ruffle feathers on US/Cuba trip

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Pope Francis’s forthcoming nine-day visit to the US and Cuba, which starts on Saturday, will be his 10th and longest trip abroad yet and, for the 78-year-old, it is likely to be challenging on many levels. BBC – Caroline Wyatt, Religious affairs correspondent It is the Argentine-born Pope’s first trip to the US and, while he has attained popularity ratings there that any politician would envy, his reputation as a Pope for the poor and the vulnerable – and his ... Read More »

US launches secret bid to stop release of hunger-striking Guantánamo detainee

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Objection to freeing Tariq Ba Odah, who is 56% of his ideal body weight, comes as Obama administration fights to stop detainees seeking freedom in federal courts The Guardian – Spencer Ackerman in New York @attackerman In an extremely rare legal manoeuvre, the Obama administration has challenged a legal request to free a hunger-striking Guantánamo Bay detainee entirely in secret. US officials said the objection to freeing Tariq Ba Odah, who is undernourished to the point of starvation, and the ... Read More »

How El Salvador’s Supreme Court Is Undermining Democracy—With Washington’s Help

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WikiLeaks has exposed US government collusion with the chamber’s destabilization strategy. The Nation – By Hilary Goodfriend On July 20, 2015, the government of El Salvador issued an official warning that right-wing forces are orchestrating “a movement for a coup d’état,” against the “government of the people, a legal government, a legitimate government that fights every day for the interests of the population.” It’s not the first time allegations of coup-plotting have arisen lately in the small Central American republic. ... Read More »

Puerto Rico misses debt payment with string of defaults to come

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Pressure on U.S. Congress to allow Chapter 9 bankruptcy for troubled territory CBC News – Puerto Rico default – Video Puerto Rico is in technical default on a $58-million debt bill due Monday, reflecting an economy in trouble amid an extended drought in the U.S. territory. The island paid just $628,000 toward a $58-million payment due to creditors of its Public Finance Corp., whose debt is mostly owned by ordinary Puerto Ricans through credit unions. “This was a decision that reflects the serious ... Read More »

Clinton says GOP is clinging to the past on Cuba

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MIAMI — Calling the trade embargo against Cuba a relic of a failed Cold War policy, Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday challenged Republicans in Congress and in the 2016 race to finally do away with it. The Washington Post – By Anne Gearan * “We have arrived at a decisive moment. The Cuban people have waited long enough for progress to come,” Clinton said. “Even many Republicans on Capitol Hill are starting to recognize the urgency of moving ... Read More »

Mexico missing students: Search uncovers 60 mass graves

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Sixty mass graves have been uncovered in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero during a search for 43 student teachers abducted last September, official documents have revealed. BBC – The attorney general’s office says the remains of 129 bodies have been recovered from the graves. None of the remains have been linked to the students who vanished in Iguala. The information was released after a freedom of information request by the Associated Press. The majority of the bodies are male, ... Read More »

How Hedge and Vulture Funds Have Exploited Puerto Rico’s Debt Crisis

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For this island teetering on bankruptcy, debt renegotiation is imminent—but on whose terms? The Nation – By Ed Morales New York–born Puerto Rican activist David Galarza spent a recent sultry summer Monday picketing a meeting of bondholders by day and meeting with professionals, students, and working people in the evening concerned about the increasingly scary crisis over the island’s $72 billion debt. “I picked up a Freddy Krueger mask on the way down there—a little bit of theater, you know?” Galarza ... Read More »

Mexico opens up oil industry for first time in 80 years

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BBC – For the first time in nearly 80 years, Mexico has opened up its oil industry to foreign investors, selling off 14 exploration blocks in the Gulf of Mexico. However, only two of the blocks were sold in the auction, falling short of the government’s expectations. Bidders were expected to sign new contracts with the Mexican state to explore, produce and refine oil. Mexico has fallen from the world’s fifth biggest oil producer to tenth. The BBC’s Mexico correspondent Juan ... Read More »

The Dominican Republic Must Stop Expulsions of Haitians

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A HUMAN rights crisis is unfolding on the island of Hispaniola, which is shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The New York Times – By ROXANNA ALTHOLZ and LAUREL E. FLETCHER The Dominican Republic is threatening to drive out hundreds of thousands of Haitians who live and work in the Dominican Republic. Many of them came to work in the sugar, construction and tourism industries. Recently, the Dominican Republic demanded that they come forward and register for legal residency ... Read More »