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Articles on Central America

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Salvadoran president Nayib Bukele promised voters change. Instead, he seems to be reviving El Salvador’s authoritarian past. Camilo Freedman/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

El Salvador’s façade of democracy crumbles as president purges his political opponents

El Salvador ‘is inching back toward its authoritarian past’ after President Nayib Bukele fired five supreme court justices and the attorney general – essentially the only checks on his power.
Activists and supporters of Honduran environmental and Indigenous rights activist Berta Caceres hold signs with her name and likeness during the trial against Roberto David Castillo, an alleged mastermind of her murder, outside of the Supreme Court building in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on April 6, 2021. (AP Photo/ Elmer Martinez)

Environmental activists are being killed in Honduras over their opposition to mining

Honduras is the most dangerous country in the world for environmental activists. Those who have opposed mining, hydroelectric, logging and tourism have faced violence and death.
Children play in Las Flores village, Comitancillo, Guatemala, home of a 22-year-old migrant murdered in January 2021 on his journey through Mexico. Johan Ordonez/AFP via Getty Images

Money alone can’t fix Central America – or stop migration to US

Biden’s $4 billion plan to fight crime, corruption and poverty in Central America is massive. But aid can’t build viable democracies if ‘predatory elites’ won’t help their own people.
Members of a Salvadoran feminist group watch a virtual hearing March 10 on El Salvador’s abortion laws by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Marvin Recinos/AFP via Getty Images

El Salvador’s abortion ban jails women for miscarriages and stillbirths – now one woman’s family seeks international justice

Hundreds of Salvadoran women have been prosecuted for homicide for having abortions, miscarriages or stillbirths since 1997. Now an international court must decide: Is that legal?
Even before COVID-19, El Salvador’s prisons were contagious disease hotspots. Here, MS-13 gang members with tuberculosis at Chalatenango prison, March 29, 2019. Marvin Recinos/AFP via Getty Images

Mass arrests and overcrowded prisons in El Salvador spark fear of coronavirus crisis

El Salvador is arresting thousands of people for violating its COVID-19 quarantine, further packing a ‘hellish’ penal system once described as a ‘petri dish’ for infectious disease.
Street gangs that operate with impunity make El Salvador one of the world’s most violent countries. Few murders are ever solved. MARVIN RECINOS/AFP via Getty Images

Deported to death: US sent 138 Salvadorans home to be killed

A new Human Rights Watch report finds many Salvadoran deportees are killed once home, often by the gangs they fled. Rampant impunity means El Salvador can’t protect vulnerable people from violence.
A Congolese family approaches the unofficial border crossing with Canada while walking down Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., in August 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charles Krupa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charles Krupa

Refugee stories reveal anxieties about the Canada-U.S. border

Canadian leaders have desperately tried to preserve the country’s image of liberal humanitarianism at our border, but the reality is Canada’s immigration history is built upon exclusion.
A farmer carries firewood during the dry season in Nicaragua, one of the Central American countries affected by a recent drought. Neil Palmer for CIAT/flickr

How climate change is driving emigration from Central America

Poverty and violence are often cited as the reasons people emigrate from Central America, but factors such as drought, exacerbated by climate change, are driving people to leave too.
Alejandro Giammattei is a former prison official whose tenure was tainted by the 2006 mass killing of seven prisoners. He was accused but never indicted on conspiracy charges in those deaths. AP Photo/ Santiago Billy

Guatemala’s next president has few plans for fixing rampant corruption, crime and injustice

Conservative Alejandro Giammattei beat former first lady Sandra Torres with 60% of the vote. But turnout was the lowest in Guatemala’s modern history, in apparent protest of both candidates.
Honduran migrant Vicky Chavez with her daughter Issabella on May 31, 2018 in the First Unitarian Church in Salt Lake City, where she sought protection from deportation in late 2017. AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

More Central American migrants take shelter in churches, recalling 1980s sanctuary movement

The number of migrants living in churches has spiked recently in anticipation of threatened immigration raids, but churches have long protected refugees in an act of faith-based civil disobedience.

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