Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

February 03 2014

El Salvador and Costa Rica to Hold Runoff Elections

El Salvador and Costa Rica held presidential elections yesterday, February 2, but both countries will define their president in a runoff vote.

In El Salvador, “results show Salvador Sanchez Ceren (FMLN) winning 49%, just short of the 50% he needed to win in the first round. Norman Quijano (ARENA) is in second place with 39%,” writes Boz from Bloggings by boz, where he shares “Five points on El Salvador's elections.”

Meanwhile in Costa Rica, The Tico Times reports:

Center-left presidential candidate Luis Guillermo Solís will battle ruling party candidate Johnny Araya in a runoff on April 6 after Solís shocked many in this small Central American country by taking first place in preliminary results released late Sunday night.

[...]

Costa Rica’s elections, which were peaceful, showed a growing polarization among progressive and conservative voters.

February 02 2014

Voting Day in El Salvador

Online news site El Faro has published a Storify post [es] with early citizen reports and reactions about today's presidential elections in El Salvador. They also have a special section [es] dedicated to the elections where they share photos, tweets and more. 

Meanwhile, Tim's El Salvador Blog has put together two posts (1, 2) with links about today's elections.

January 14 2014

Candidates Face Off in First Presidential Debate in El Salvador

Tim's El Salvador Blog summarizes the first presidential debate ever held in El Salvador:

The three leading presidential candidates Norman Quijano (ARENA), Salvador Sánchez Cerén (FMLN), and Antonio Saca (Unidad), were joined on the stage by two minor candidates, Óscar Lemus (FPS) and René Rodríguez Hurtado (PSP). The debate had four rounds of questions, touching on the topics of education, citizen security, healthcare and the economy.

He concludes:

In the end, I doubt that many minds were changed by this debate, but the fact that the debate took place is yet another step forward for Salvadoran democracy.

January 09 2014

El Salvador Prepares for Upcoming Presidential Election

Salvadorans will go to the polls on February 2, 2014, to elect a new president. Jorge Kawas in PulsAmerica explains:

Polls show that the election will be a close call between the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional – FMLN) and the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (Alianza Republicana Nacionalista – ARENA).

[...]

The FMLN’s presidential ticket, headed by current vice-president Salvador Sánchez Cerén, is expected to attract the majority of the votes in comparison to the opposition, but not to garner more than the 50% needed to avoid a runoff election.

December 19 2013

Coffee Blight in El Salvador Leads to Dramatic Drop in Exports

Coffee export revenues fell 40% in October and November of 2013 in El Salvador. Tim's El Salvador Blog reports on the blight affecting coffee farms throughout the country:

Last week El Salvador's National Assembly finally established a fund for combating the coffee blight known as “la roya” and the ministry of agriculture declared an agricultural emergency.   

Annually coffee accounts for tens of thousands of jobs in El Salvador.    With job losses in the coffee growing areas, rural poverty will increase and there will be migration into the cities or out of the country.

November 26 2013

Global Voices Partners With Fundación MEPI

Global Voices has launched a new partnership with Fundación MEPI, an organization that promotes regional investigative projects in the Americas.

MEPI was founded in 2010 in Mexico, where news outlets’ lack of financial resources and attacks against journalists have stifled investigative reporting. In response to these challenges, MEPI seeks to promote freedom of the press and support “the development of the next generation of reporters in Mexico and Central America.”

Fundación MEPI

The MEPI website further explains:

The contemporary reader needs to understand how governments, public actors and agencies really work. It is these explanations that provide citizens of a democracy with the insight required to make informed decisions and procure a free and fair government. But the cost of producing quality information is rising and with the use of technology, so too is competition. With the help of donors, supporters and partners, Fundaciòn MEPI is committed to producing regional and cross-national investigations that use technology to illuminate corrupt practices, sleight of hand and impunity.

As part of their mission, MEPI aims to “link stories between the United States, Mexico and Central America and help explain transnational movements to readers across the globe.” MEPI's vision matches Global Voices’ mission to “build bridges across the gulfs that divide people, so as to understand each other more fully.”

Global Voices and Fundación MEPI will exchange content regularly. Sometimes we will break down their long-form investigations into series. We kick off this partnership with the article Machismo and Old Prejudices Keep Mexican Rape Victims Silent, which is also available in Spanish.

September 04 2013

Derailment of ‘La Bestia’, Another Tragedy in a Broken Immigration System

Migrants on

Migrants on “la Bestia”. Photo by Peter Haden on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This post is part of our series on Latin America: Migrant Journeys in collaboration with The North American Congress on Latin America (NACLA). Stay tuned for more articles and podcasts.

On August 25, 2013 a cargo train derailed in southern Mexico killing 11 Central American migrants who were hitching a ride on top of the freight cars. At least 250 Central Americans were estimated to have been riding on the train before it derailed, injuring another 18 migrants.

Each year thousands of Central Americans hitch rides on northbound Mexican freight trains for a chance at reaching the U.S. border in search of work and a better life. Migrants often ride the trains to escape Mexican immigration officials who scour buses at checkpoints in search of Central Americans to deport.

Known among migrants as ‘la bestia’ (the beast), the Mexican train offers Central Americans an alternative way of reaching the U.S., but it is a route fraught with dangers. Gangs and corrupt Mexican officials maraud the train lines and extort or kidnap migrants, oftentimes capturing and forcing them to work for organized crime groups.

While train derailments of la bestia are common, the biggest challenge, which many migrants passing through Mexico face, comes from the gangs who prey upon their vulnerable situation. For most Central American migrants, the vast majority of whom come from Honduras, currently the country with the world’s highest murder rate, their experience with gang-related violence often begins before they even leave their countries of origin.

In the last year, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a small migrant shelter in Mexico City. Last March, we received a Honduran woman at the shelter, named Juana Morelos, who was traveling on la bestia with her seven-year-old son. Juana left Honduras because a local gang who extorted money from a small store she owned began making death threats on her family when she could no longer afford to pay them off. Afraid for her life, Juana fled from Honduras with her son and started hopping Mexican freight trains north towards the U.S. border.

Juana and her son spent several months in Mexico City, during which I gave her a crash course in basic English, before she and her son continued their dangerous journey towards Texas. When Juana finally arrived at the U.S. border, we received news at the shelter that she had tried crossing with a coyote [people smuggler] and was deported. I was concerned about Juana’s safety, but once I heard she had arrived at the border, where the threat of kidnapping often increases, I became even more terrified.

Juana reached the border two months after the “Gang of 8” senators released their proposal for a new comprehensive immigration reform bill, which passed in the Senate last June, and includes an increase of 3,500 Border Patrol agents and 4.5 billion dollars to add new surveillance systems, aerial drones, and the construction of more fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border. Instead of addressing the reasons why Juana and the hundreds of migrants on board the Mexican train that derailed last week migrate north to the U.S., the current immigration reform bill offers them a closed door in their attempt to flee violence largely caused by America’s consumption of illegal drugs.

The current immigration reform bill greatly resembles the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which legalized almost three million undocumented migrants in the U.S. and quintupled the number of Border Patrol agents to almost 22,000. Today, an estimated 11 million people live in the U.S. without legal residency, signifying that IRCA did little to solve the problems which force people to migrate in the first place.

While visiting a small town in the central Mexican state of Querétaro this year, I met an 81-year-old man, named Jose Ramírez, who gained U.S. citizenship through IRCA. As a young man, Ramírez would spend half of each year doing farm work in the U.S. and return home to visit his wife and children. When crossing the border became more costly and dangerous, Ramírez could no longer justify returning to Mexico as often, so he moved his entire family to Florida. The increase in border security over the last half-century that was supposed to keep people like Ramírez out of the U.S. became exactly what motivated him to resettle his family to Florida.

While it’s true that many people from Mexico and Central America enter the U.S. without authorization and settle permanently, it doesn’t mean that they want to. Like most men and women from small town USA, Latin American migrant workers often come from rural areas where locals value home and family. If you offered most residents in rural America a job that paid up to seven times their current income, but that involved relocating to a foreign country with a different language, and risking your life by walking through a desert to get there, most would probably opt to stay home. But for people like Juana Morelos, lack of economic opportunities and violence caused by the drug trade often leave them with no choice.

Increasing security along our southern border will keep many future immigrants out of our country, but it won’t stop them from trying to enter it. During my research on migration in Mexico over the last year, I met many Mexicans who worked decades in the U.S. with fake documents just to save enough money to buy land and start a business back home. What if instead of investing billions of dollars in drones and fences, we used some of that money to partner with the Mexican government and create loans for these would-be entrepreneurs to start small businesses and employ their neighbors?

A truly comprehensive immigration reform bill should also include a plan to decrease the violence in Central America which forces many locals to migrate. Honduras and El Salvador currently have the highest murder rates in the world. This violence is mainly caused by cartels that have begun using Central America to smuggle drugs into the U.S.

Photos of migrants standing alongside the overturned train at the site of la bestia derailment last week are an easy story for media outlets seeking a gripping response from their readers or viewers. But the train accident is just one incident in a vast chain of violence and increasing danger which follows migrants from Central America to the U.S. border. It’s an issue which many U.S. politicians currently want to solve by militarizing the southern frontier, but just like when IRCA became law 25 years ago, the real problems that must be addressed remain far away from the U.S. border.

Several days after Juana was deported, she and her son tried crossing the U.S. border again. Back at the shelter in Mexico City, one of Juana’s relatives told me that his time they made it safely to Houston.

As the House prepares to vote on immigration reform later this year, thousands more migrants, like Juana and her son, continue to enter the U.S. with smugglers. If the current immigration reform bill passes the House, it will offer citizenship only to undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. in 2011 or earlier. Without a change of focus on how our nation approaches immigration in the future, the derailing of la bestia will continue to be just a small incident among a much greater tragedy, and Juana and her son will become part of the next generation of undocumented immigrants forced to live in our shadows.

Some names in this story have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.

Levi Bridges is a journalist and Fulbright Scholar based in Mexico City. He writes at www.bridgesandborders.com and tweets @levi_bridges.

May 07 2013

Photos of Modern-Day El Salvador

These are not pictures for tourism purposes — these are pictures to educate and illustrate issues facing modern day El Salvador.

Tim's El Salvador Blog links to a collection of photos on Global Eyes Media. The project by Jeff Hammond, Noah Bullock, and Doriana Westerman, “focused on documenting Salvadoran themes that institutionalized poverty and inequality in the country.”

April 27 2013

#FLISOL 2013: Hundreds of Latin Americans Installing Free Software

Flisol 2013 Banner.

Flisol 2013 Banner.

From the Patagonia to Havana, hundreds of computer users across Latin America are choosing freedom over control by installing free software on their computers. On April 27th, groups of free software enthusiasts will be installing free software in dozens of cities across Latin America as part of FLISOL [es], the Latin American free software installation festival.
(more…)

December 31 2012

An Open Letter to President Hugo Chavez, from El Salvador

From El Salvador, Paolo Lüers, the blogger on Columna transversal, posts an open letter [es] to Venezuelan President, Mr Hugo Chavez, and tells him “something that the few ones who have access to you don't dare to tell you, or aren't interested in telling you”, and ends up his letter wishing President Chavez the best for him and his country.

November 23 2012

The Voices of Sex Workers in El Salvador

Hablemos de VIHDA

Sex workers in the city of San Salvador face ongoing discrimination, as well as potential health hazards from HIV and STDs. Others search for alternative forms of income, such as making piñatas, so that they can eventually leave this work behind.
(more…)

November 19 2012

Ibero-America: Free Software Assessment Report 2012

The recently released Free Software Assessment Report 2012 shows the opinion, assessment and preferences of more than 5,000 people from Spain and Latin America. The study published in its fourth edition is promoted by PortalProgramas and supported by a number of experts and collaborators [es]. The report aims to contribute to a better understanding, use and dissemination of free software in Latin America. The summary of the study can be accessed online [es] and more information can be found on the report's conclusions for 2012 [es].

November 14 2012

Latin American Youth Against Corruption

During November 5 and 6, 2012, over 100 young journalists, leaders, and experts in social media and information and communication technologies (ICTs) participated in the Third Global Voices Against Corruption Forum, organized by the Global Youth Anti-Corruption Network (GYAC) in Brasilia, Brazil.

Global Voices contributor Andrea Arzaba reports about the Latin American youth session for Animal Político [es]:

Libertad de expresión, falta de unión regional y miedo a hablar de temas en materia de transparencia gubernamental fueron algunos de los temas más discutidos en la sesión juvenil Latinoamericana […]

En el encuentro se tuvo una visión común en cuanto al poco uso de tecnología para el desarrollo ético de la región y, sobre todo, la falta de capacitación de jóvenes en materia de anticorrupción. También se habló del tema de educación, en donde se discutió la importancia para generar un cambio a través del trabajo con jóvenes, ya que ellos estarán próximamente en puestos importantes de trabajo, vulnerables a la corrupción.

Freedom of expression, lack of unity in the region and fear to talk about issues regarding government transparency were among the topics discussed at the Latin American youth session […]

Participants in the meeting shared a common vision regarding the limited use of technology for the ethical development of the region and, above all, the lack of training for youth in anti-corruption issues. They also talked about education, where they discussed the importance of bringing about change by working with the youth, since they will soon be holding important positions, vulnerable to corruption.

Andrea also shares a video where she showcases some projects in favor of transparency and accountability led by Latin American youth. With Piero Locatelli, Andrea interviewed Margarita Valdés from Xpressate [es] (El Salvador), Caio Monteiro from Marília Transparente [pt] (Brazil), and Andrea Benavides from Ocasa [es] (Colombia):


You can follow GYAC on Facebook and Twitter (@GYACNetwork). Furthermore, you can read reports and reactions shared from the forum under the hashtag #GYACBrasilia.

Interview with Salvadoran Indigenous Leader

“Our philosophy as indigenous peoples is to have our land, as she is our mother”, Shandur says. “We need to have our land, to have our fruit, rather than money.”

Robin Llewellyn interviewed Salvadoran indigenous leader Shandur Kuátzin Makwilkali for Intercontinental Cry. Shandur is the President of the National Federation of Indigenous Peoples of El Salvador.

November 13 2012

Blogging Contest Focuses on Child Development

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has announced its first contest for bloggers, which will focus on issues related to child development:

Now is your chance to share your ideas! You can tell us about a child development success story in your country or analyze various innovative methodologies. The topic is open. In order to participate, you just have to get your creative juices flowing and share your winning idea with us.

(more…)

November 07 2012

Strong Quake Hits Guatemala

A strong 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off Guatemala's Pacific coast on Wednesday, November 7, 2012. Twitter user Roberto Touchez (@RobertoTouchez) shares this image from San Marcos, Guatemala.

(more…)

October 30 2012

El Salvador's Tough Abortion Laws

Voices from El Salvador highlights several stories of Salvadoran women affected by the country's abortion ban, “ which includes cases of rape, incest, and when the health of the woman is at risk.”

The issue is compounded by other women’s rights issue, including femicide (El Salvador has the highest rate in the world), sexual violence, economic disparity, and others.

October 05 2012

El Salvador's First International Literacy Brigade

Madeleine Conway, a member of the University of Santa Cruz CISPES (Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador) chapter, writes about El Salvador's National Literacy Program (NLP) for Upside Down World. CISPES is “the first international volunteer brigade to answer the government’s call and support the literacy program”:

Twenty-eight university students, teachers, workers, mothers, and retirees participated in this historic literacy brigade, bringing hundreds of donated notebooks, pencils and eyeglasses in tow as material support.

October 02 2012

Investigating the ‘New Face' of Forced Displacement in Latin America

Sibylla Brodzinsky in the blog InSight Crime writes about organized crime as “the new face of forced displacement in Latin America.” She adds that under the coordination of InSight Crime and with the support of Internews, an alliance of digital media in El Salvador, Colombia, and Mexico explored this new face of displacement in the region.

September 27 2012

Documentary on Salvadoran ‘Guerrilleras' Turns to Crowdfunding

Photographers Rebecka Bíró (Sweden/Spain) and Victoria Montero (Argentina) have teamed up to create ‘Guerrilleras‘ a documentary and photography project about the experience of women in the guerrilla during the Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992). Bíró and Montero are using crowdfunding website Verkami to raise funds to cover their living expenses while they finish their project in El Salvador.

They describe their goals for the documentary on Verkami:

We seek to find answers to some questions: How was the women's experience in the war, what was their role in the guerrilla, how did they struggle to survive and protect their families, how did it change the women's paradigm within a patriarchal structure in a traditionally male chauvinist society, what were the consequences and how do they continue their struggle today.

Guerrilleras primarily seeks to be a tool to preserve the historical memory. A material to help and understand the recent history of El Salvador in the context of the armed conflict. An instrument to reflect on the identity of women in the civil war. A sample of the past that is always present and requests not to be forgotten by its' protagonists.

Bíró and Montero explain that during their visit to El Salvador in 2011 they didn't “discover the best beaches in the world, nor the highest mountains,” but they met a lot of Salvadorans who “filled [their] hearts”:

We met many war victims. The cruelty of their stories, especially considering how little attention they have had in the media, motivated us to pursue a work that emphasizes female identity, the defense of human rights and the recovery of the memory of the people fighting for their emancipation.

Read more about their project on the Verkami website and follow ‘Guerrilleras' on Facebook.

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl