El Faro English
Central America, in Brief: Presidents and lawmakers in Guatemala and El Salvador have pivoted toward religious rhetoric and policymaking in response to increased public scrutiny. The Salvadoran legislature cited the Bible while striking down a partial decriminalization of abortion this week, following the footsteps of Ortega’s alliance with conservative Nicaraguan churches since returning to power in 2007. The phenomenon may also spread to Costa Rica, set to hold presidential elections in February.
Honduras, in Brief: A last-minute alliance has shifted the pre-election scene to open the possibility of the first-ever victory of a left-wing party. In the middle of an increasingly violent campaign season, President Juan Orlando Hernández’s latest move was to reignite a decades-long territorial dispute with El Salvador.
Central America, in Brief: The Pandora Papers, a global investigation led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) involving more than 600 journalists in 117 countries, shed new light on how offshore banking shields the cash of Central America’s wealthy and well-connected, including presidential candidates and former heads of state. While the practice doesn’t prove illegal activity, it raises serious questions about transparency and economic inequality.
Central America, in Brief: Persecution of judges and prosecutors, expulsion of international anti-corruption monitors, and cooptation of courts have spread in the region.
El Salvador, in Brief: Mass protests gripped San Salvador on Central America’s bicentennial anniversary of independence, marking a new phase for the opposition to President Bukele’s increasingly authoritarian rule. Bukele accused the international community of financing the protests to undermine his government.
In the summer of 2020, Corona, Queens was the epicenter neighborhood of the epicenter city of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Bukele administration officials have forcefully denied new evidence of their negotiations with gangs. While gang negotiations have become common practice for politicians in El Salvador, broad public hostility toward such talks incentivizes secrecy.
Salvadoran prosecutors obtained groundbreaking evidence confirming that the Bukele administration negotiated a reduction in homicides with the country’s three gangs and that top prison officials removed potentially incriminating evidence from their facilities.
Seven months into Biden’s term, the administration is considering reinstating Remain in Mexico and is ramping up Title 42 border expulsions. The future of DACA and TPS recipients also remains in limbo as Congress stalls on immigration reform.
A proposal to reform the Salvadoran constitution would loosen current limits on judicial power and extend the presidential term. Lawyers question the legitimacy of the reform and the implications for Nayib Bukele’s tightening grip on power.
The new Bitcoin Law is priming Salvadoran banks to run afoul of international regulators and could tip the country into an inflation crisis, says conservative economist Steve Hanke. Skepticism of bitcoin in rural, cash-based economies may also hamper broad public use of the cryptocurrency.
The results of the November 7 presidential elections are now clear: Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo will run for reelection without any legitimate opponents.
A national strike shook Guatemala last week following the removal of a top anti-corruption prosecutor. In El Salvador, while walking a precarious fiscal tightrope, Nayib Bukele handed a rare olive branch to civil society groups critical of his administration.
For more than three years, Juan Francisco Sandoval headed the Special Prosecutor’s Office Against Impunity (FECI), a prosecutorial unit specialized in high-stakes corruption cases investigating the upper echelons of Guatemalan politics and business.
“We still have no testing or contact tracing strategy to control the pandemic,” Óscar Chávez, of independent think tank and data clearinghouse Lab Datos GT, told El Faro English. “As we see a spike in cases almost double that of the peak in 2020, in reality, we know that the impact of the pandemic is much broader, but we just can’t see it.”
Some long-time leftists say that old regional alliances and unwavering support for the Cuban regime are cracking.
The resolution immigration officials issued to Lizárraga specifies that he was denied his work permit and residence due to his inability to prove he is an editor or journalist.
Sixteen months into the pandemic and five months since pharmaceutical giants began pumping out vaccines, Central America remains vastly undervaccinated.
El Salvador adopted the dollar in November of 2000, just eight days from the time of announcement. ‘Bitcoinization,’ meanwhile, took two and a half days, and just five hours from the time the bill reached the legislature. The most in-depth explanations of the two-page law weren’t given to the legislative committee in charge of analyzing it, nor to the Assembly itself. Rather, Bukele and two of his brothers fielded questions on the bill in a Twitter livestream, in English, with foreign investors.
For the last five years of our lives, we’ve not been able to hug him and say: “Have a good day, Dad.”
In her first visit to the region this week, Vice President Kamala Harris’ blunt message to Central American migrants (“Do not come”) triggered a backlash among human rights defenders and Central America experts for contradicting international asylum laws and appearing insensitive to the reality driving migration.