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Central America in the News

Central America in the News

On November 15, 2018, Posted by , In Information Reports,Latin America, With Comments Off on Central America in the News
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By Brennan Albrecht

“Mexico mothers search for mass graves after tip-off” BBC News. Nov. 6, 2018 https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-46110115
In the Mexican state of Veracruz, residents have recently been tipped off about the possible presence of mass, shallow graves where hundreds of disappeared youth could be buried. These bodies come from the drug cartel violence that has plagued the area for years. Law enforcement has reported over 3,600 current missing persons in Veracruz, although this number is likely lower than the reality. Most of these are youth or young adults.

“Central American migrants resume their march towards U.S. border” Reuters. Nov. 10, 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration/central-american-migrants-resume-their-march-towards-u-s-border-idUSKCN1NG00A
The controversial caravan of Central American migrants has resumed its march to the US border, where it is expected to arrive within the month. The caravan has been received relatively well in Mexico, as it has not been faced with much opposition within the country. When asked about the potential dangers and bleak prospects in the US, many members of the caravan respond that because it can’t be any worse than what their homes are like, the risks are worth it.

“Migrant caravan departs Mexico City as new caravans merge to reach capital” USA Today. 11/10/2018. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/11/10/migrant-caravan-donald-trump-immigration-southern-us-border-mexico-honduras-asylum/1956952002/
Most of the participants in the main caravan come from Honduras, but recently other small caravans have joined the main group. Some of these migrants are from Mexico and other Central American countries. Mexico has offered many temporary work visas and childcare services to the migrants, but many are persistent that the US is their destination.

“Migrant Caravan Continues Trek Toward US Border Despite Trump’s Suspension of Asylum Rights” VOA News. 11/10/2018 https://www.voanews.com/a/migrant-caravan-continues-trek-toward-us-border-despite-trump-suspension-of-asylum-rights/4653013.html
President Trump signed an executive order that temporarily suspended the right of illegal immigrants to seek asylum at border crossings. This move has not deterred the migrant caravan, at whom it was directed, but it has stoked criticism from various civil rights groups. The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of this order, but it remains to be seen whether it will be sorted before the arrival of the caravan. Meanwhile, Trump has deployed 15,000 troops to the border.

“Why Are People Fleeing Central America? A New Breed of Gangs Is Taking Over.” Wall Street Journal. 11/2/2018 https://www.wsj.com/articles/pay-or-die-extortion-economy-drives-latin-americas-murder-crisis-1541167619
An analysis by the Wall Street Journal highlights the growing organized crime crisis in Central America. Unlike the drug cartels of Mexico and South America, the Central American gangs, particularly MS-13 and Barrio 18, use extortion and murder as their primary means of control, whereas drug cartels use drug trafficking and corruption. Many poor farmers and farm hands are the first victims, as the rural lifestyle is not conducive to law enforcement protection. The lack of real hierarchy within these gangs makes them more difficult to disband than typical mobs or drug cartels. Many of the migrants now seeking asylum are fleeing this violence, but Trump has insinuated that many of the migrants may be members of the gangs themselves. Only time will tell who is right.

“In Mexico, mothers of missing migrant children start their own caravan to warn of journey’s dangers” NBC News. 11/11/2018 https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/mexico-mothers-missing-migrant-children-start-their-own-caravan-warn-n934146
Several dozen Mexican women have joined the migrant caravan to warn of the impending dangers of crossing based on their own experiences. Many of these women lost children, spouses, or siblings to “coyotes” who had promised safe passage in exchange for thousands of dollars. While it is unknown if these missing persons are dead, some of the women have not heard from their missing family members in years. Their mission is to find their loved ones and warn those about to cross that the grass is not much greener on the other side, especially since getting to the other side is not much easier.

“Mexico to Cancel $13.3 Billion Mexico City Airport Project” The Wall Street Journal. Oct. 29, 2018. https://www.wsj.com/articles/mexicans-vote-to-cancel-13-3-billion-mexico-city-airport-project-1540789177?mod=article_inline
President-elect Lopez Obrador of Mexico recently released a statement that his administration will cancel the construction of a multi-billion dollar airport begun under current President Pena Nieto. The decision came after a four-day public referendum given to Mexican voters, in which 70% of voters rejected the airport. This move is in line with his tone of anti-political/economic ties in Mexico. This move has many business and financial leaders in Mexico concerned for the potential loss of business and economic development this move will bring.

“U.S., Mexico, Canada ministers to sign trade pact Nov. 30, official says” Reuters. Nov 8, 2018. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-trade/u-s-mexico-canada-ministers-to-sign-trade-pact-nov-30-official-says-idUSKCN1NE066
The renegotiation of NAFTA under President Trump led to the creation of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). This deal has been approved by trade officials representing each country, and these officials have decided to sign the agreement on November 30th. It is unclear if the presidents of these countries will participate, and the legislative bodies of each country will have to approve the deal before it takes effect.

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