Central America: Rebellion against Trump?

A large number of Central American citizens threaten to wage a virtual rebellion arriving at the Mexican border in the coming days to cross into U.S.

This issue increasingly makes Donald Trump’s situation more complicated, since it takes place several days ahead of the midterm elections.

The aforementioned assertion took place in Washington, by Miami Herald reporters Franco Ordoñez and Anita Kumar.

In these elections, among many other things, the House of Representatives is renovated and one-third of the Senate, scenario where it is foreseen a possible setback of the Republican Party.

Now the head of state, at the defensive, retakes the migratory issue and threats to use the army to stop the advance of that growing human tide toward Mexico.

The president tweeted: “I am watching the Democrat Party led assault against our country by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, whose leaders do little to stop this large flow of people, INCLUDING MANY CRIMINALS, from entering Mexico to United States”.

And added “I will ask Mexico to stop the migrants or I will call up the US Military AND CLOSE OUR SOUTHERN BORDER”.

He also pointed out that “border security is far more important to me than trade”.

As is known, Trump has threatened to cut foreign aid to Central American countries whose citizens are part of the said caravan with several thousands of people.

The government of President Peña Nieto has sent its federal police toward the southern border trying to stop them.

León Fresco, former Assistant Undersecretary of Justice during the Obama government stated:

“There’s nothing else that Trump can do, he has turned it into a political issue and blames Democrats”.

He warned that “That’s the only thing he can do because he hasn’t fulfilled any of his promises, like that of building the wall or reducing illegal immigration”.

According to the Herald, since his arrival at the White House, the president has issued new directives to step up deportation, pressed the Congress to pass bills that haven’t gained support, issued executive orders restricting visas, introduced a disastrous policy to separate parents from their children at the border, which he reversed later, and promised to build a border wall that has yet to gain funding from the Congress.

“Meanwhile, the illegal crossings in the border are still increasing”, noticed the Herald.

Reporters Ordoñez and Kumar point out that last August, the Border Patrol arrested 12,774 people, a 90 percent increase compared to equal period in the previous year.

Both figures were reported by the Department of Homeland Security.

Republicans fighting to keep the majority in both chambers of Congress in a year in which the president’s party traditionally loses ground, have been outraised by their Democratic counterparts, who need to win 23 net seats in the House and 2 in the Senate to gain control of the chambers.

Trump and his supporters insist that the said hard-line stance on the caravan has nothing to do with the midterm elections, but the president and Republican candidates have been campaigning on the issue for months.

The head of state has already made the immigration issue an important part of the campaigns for the November elections and urged voters to elect Republicans to Congress who allow the funds to build the border wall.

“The new platform of the Democratic Party is radical socialism and open borders”, told Trump to a bustling crowd at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Thursday night.

The Herald points out that VP Mike Pence traveled to Guatemala and additionally called on the presidents of Honduras, and El Salvador, three of the greatest source of migrants toward U.S., to take steps to secure their borders.

Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies and former State Department foreign service officer, considered that “Should nothing is done with this caravan there will be real consequences for United States”, adding that in her opinion it is already a crisis.

We should add ‘another’, amidst those that already surround the billionaire president.

 Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / CubaSi Translation Staff

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Nicaragua Sets in 197 those Killed by Coup Plotting Terrorism

The Nicaraguan government confirmed today that 197 people died from April 19 to July 25 as a result of an attempted coup, and denounced the manipulations with political purposes raised in that context.

When a detailed report on the fatalities was made public during the press conference, Foreign Minister Denis Moncada clarified that 253 more lives were truncated as a result of common criminal activity, traffic accidents and other causes.

The Foreign Minister maintained that some human rights organizations and the media add up these deaths as if they had been all caused in the attempted coup d'état.

In that sense, he warned that those who are part of this manipulation are aimed to promote a greater perception of instability and insecurity to the detriment of the Nicaraguan government and people.

According to the report presented by the National Police, in coordination with the other branches of the state, 191 of the total number of victims referred as a result of violent events correspond to men and six to women.

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New Report: Nicaragua's Violent Protests Have Killed 241 So Far

On Thursday, police captured three men traveling to the ongoing protests carrying four containers of ammunition for AK-47 rifles.

According to a new report for the Nicaraguan Truth Commission, violent protests that have shaken the country since April have killed at least 241 people so far – one of several conflicting death tolls released in recent days.

RELATED: Nicaragua: International Groups Condemn Continued Violence

Nearly half of the deaths, a total of 110, occurred in the capital city of Managua, in districts one and seven. Masaya, Carazo, Leon, Esteli and Matagalpa have also reported high levels of violence.

The report breaks down deaths by occupation, with 65 considered 'self-employed,' 49 listed as 'workers,' 31 unemployed and 18 police.

Almost three months of demonstrations demanding the resignation of President Ortega have left over 260 people dead in the bloodiest protests since Nicaragua's civil war drew to in an end in 1990, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) said July 11.

Meanwhile, the NGO Nicaraguan Association for Human Rights (Anpdh) reports that as many as 351 demonstrators have died, while at least 2,100 have been injured in the last three months.

On Thursday, police captured three men traveling to protests, carrying four containers of ammunition for AK-47 rifles. The men, all in their twenties, will be charged with terrorism, organized crime, and illegal possession of weapons.

The arrests were made at a police checkpoint in Nindiri. The police were searching for people perpetuating the violent acts in the country, continuing the wave of violence that has rocked Nicaragua since April.

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Devastated Guatemala Hit by 5.6-Magnitude Earthquake

Disaster officials say there have been no reports of damages.

An earthquake measuring 5.6 has hit Guatemala as they recover from the devastating effects of Volcano Fuego, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

RELATED:  Guatemala Volcano Search Called Off Despite 200 Unaccounted For

The tremor hit at late Sunday and was felt in El Salvador. According to authorities, strong shaking was felt from the earthquake which was located at a depth of 100 kilometers about 67 kilometers southwest of Guatemala City.

Disaster officials say there have been no reports of damages.

The quake came two weeks the volcano erupted leaving dozens dead, injured, or missing. Some 110 people died and about 200 are still missing following the eruption in May.

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Authorities, on Sunday, called off a search for the missing.

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US Should Stop Detaining Migrants, Separating Children: United Nations

Geneva: The United Nations called on the United States on Tuesday to stop detaining irregular migrant families and separating children on its frontier with Mexico, saying this broke the law.

Several hundred children crossing the southern U.S. border have been held in custody since October 2017 following an executive order issued by President Donald Trump when he took office in January 2016, it said.

"The U.S. should immediately halt this practice of separating families and stop criminalising what should at most be an administrative offence - that of irregular entry or stay in the U.S.," U.N. human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a briefing in Geneva.

"Entering a country without the relevant papers should not be a criminal offence...so these people should not be detained," she said, adding that some children were very young, including a one-year-old infant.

Poverty, as well as deepening violence from criminal gangs and drug traffickers has driven hundreds of thousands of Central Americans to try to cross the U.S. border illegally or seek asylum in the country.

The Trump administration will soon begin fingerprinting parents claiming custody of children who entered the United States illegally without an adult relative, officials said a week ago, prompting criticism that children may be abandoned by those who fear being identified and deported.

Shamdasani, asked about comments by senior U.S. officials that it was normal to remove children from parents in custody, said: "There is nothing normal about detaining children.

"Detention is never in the best interests of the child and always constitutes a child rights violation," she said.

The United States - the only country in the world not to have ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child - still has obligations as a signatory to that treaty and as a party that has ratified other rights treaties, Shamdasani said

"Our position is that preserving family unity is a fundamental tenet of refugee protection," U.N. refugee agency spokesman William Spindler said.

Most crossing the U.S. southern border are from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador where there is rampant violence and persecution targetting children and youth, he said.

"The fact that you have people coming from countries experiencing violence and might be subject to persecution by gangs and other criminal violence, would certainly ... give them the right to receive international protection," Spindler said.

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Opposition Alliance Candidate Leads Honduran Presidential Elections

Tegucigalpa, Nov 27 (Prensa Latina) The presidential candidate of the Opposition Alliance, Salvador Nasralla, is ahead by almost five points of the president Juan Orlando Hernández, of the ruling National Party, after the first result of the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of Honduras released today.

Judge David Matamoros said that Nasralla adds 855,847 votes, representing 45.17 percent, with 57 percent of the polling stations counted.

Hernandez, on the other hand, accumulates 761,872 votes, equivalent to 40.21 percent of the tables, he added.

Before the first cut of the vote count, presented by the TSE 10 hours after the closing of the polls, both candidates proclaimed themselves winners of the general elections held yesterday.

In third place is the candidate of the Liberal Party, Luis Zelaya, with 260,994 votes (13.17 percent).

The elections were held normally, according to national and international observers, despite the controversy over Hernandez's aspiration to be reelected in office, an unprecedented fact since the return of Honduras to democracy in 1980.

The opposition considers the postulation of the president institutional, because the Honduran Magna Carta, in force since 1982, prohibits re-election under any modality, but a ruling by the judiciary in 2015 left that possibility open.

Nine candidates from 10 political parties participated in the contest that called for more than six million citizens.

In addition to the presidency of the country, Hondurans voted for some 3,000 public offices, including the 128 deputies to the National Congress and 20 to the Central American Parliament, as well as the municipal councils of 298 mayoralties.

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Tropical Storm Nate Prompts Gulf Coast Hurricane Warnings Ahead of Weekend Landfall; Hurricane Threat For Cancún Tonight

The center of Tropical Storm Nate is churning over the Caribbean Sea north of Honduras.

Nate will make its closest approach to Cancún and Cozumel Friday night, where a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning is in effect.

Preparations should be rushed to completion in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Nate will then make landfall along the northern Gulf Coast late Saturday night or early Sunday as either a hurricane or a tropical storm.

Hurricane and storm surge warnings and watches have been issued for the U.S. northern Gulf Coast.

Nate will produce a swath of heavy rain from the Gulf Coast to the Appalachians and possibly parts of the Northeast.

Torrential rain will also trigger serious flash flooding and mudslides in much of Central America the next few days.

Tropical Storm Nate has is gaining strength over the warm water of the northwest Caribbean Sea, poised for a strike on Cancún and Cozumel tonight, then on the northern Gulf Coast Saturday night and Sunday, where hurricane warnings have now been posted.

This is a developing weather story, for the latest forecast on Nate, including expected impacts along the U.S. Gulf Coast, check out our latest forecast article here.

 

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New Investigation Exposes US Support for 2009 Honduras Coup

U.S. officials were more concerned with maintaining military power in Honduras than overturning the coup, the investigation reveals.

A new investigation conducted by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, CEPR, reveals key details involving U.S. officials and their support for the 2009 coup in Honduras that ousted former President Manuel Zelaya.

RELATED: Honduran General Election Campaigning Kicks Off

The investigation, published by The Intercept, was based on military intelligence documents and interviews with Honduran and U.S. officials. It focuses on the Pentagon and the United States Southern Command, SOUTHCOM, and their interests in ensuring the success of the coup against Zelaya by the country's military.

Here’s what CEPR found:

- A top U.S. military official met with Honduran coup plotters a day prior to the coup, demonstrating that they knew about the forthcoming ouster. 
- A Honduran military official’s warning to the U.S. ambassador was met with “indifference.”
- A retired U.S. general provided assistance to Honduran military leaders advocating for the coup, according to interviewed sources, confirming previous allegations.
- U.S. military officials were guided by an “obsessive concern” with former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s growing influence in the region as opposed to domestic Honduran issues. 

Overall, what the investigation demonstrates is that the Pentagon's main interest was to maintain close relations with close Honduran military allies, rather than overturning the coup.

“This is a story that reveals much about how foreign policy works in general, not just in Honduras,” CEPR Research Associate Jake Johnston said in a statement.

“The investigation shows the often hidden roles that various actors within the U.S. foreign policy establishment play in determining and carrying out policy. What’s clear is that personal relationships matter just as much as any official policy position announced in Washington.”

RELATED: Honduras Marks 8 Years Since US-Backed Coup Against Zelaya

Prior to his removal, Zelaya sought to hold a non-binding, nationwide poll on whether to include a fourth ballot box in the forthcoming elections to usher in a National Constituent Assembly for the rewriting of the country’s constitution. The effort was intended to democratize the country’s laws, which have traditionally favored the Honduran elite. 

Zelaya had also begun forging ties with progressive Latin American governments — like Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Cuba and Bolivia — while joining the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America, ALBA.

On June 28, 2009, high ranking army officials received orders issued by the Supreme Court to detain Zelaya and transferred him, by force, to Costa Rica.

In 2010, Zelaya was allowed to return to Honduras, a country that plunged into rampant violence following the coup. Since then, hundreds of social activists and dozens of journalists have been killed by suspected right-wing death squads.

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