Friday, June 27, 2014

Escaping Crime and Gang Violence

 "More often than not, their neighborhood has become so dangerous or they have been so seriously threatened, that to stay is to wait for their own death or great harm to their family. Their neighborhoods are full of gangs. Their schools are full of gangs. They do not want to join for moral and political reasons and thus see no future,  -Elizabeth Kennedy, author of a study on Central American minors emigrating to the U.S.
Casa de Belen Posada del Migrante, Saltillo, Coahila (Photo by Chuy Mendez Garza via Wilkimedia Commons
Immigration (or emigration) is an important theme in three of the articles in our newsletters this week. The airwaves, the front pages of daily newspapers, and popular Internet sites in the United States and elsewhere have been filled with images of minors who have been caught after crossing into Texas. According to the White House, a record number of unaccompanied minors (more than 52,000 in the first five months of the year) were detained in U.S. border communities.

There are many factors prompting the young people to make the long and treacherous journey from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala through Mexico to seek a better life in the U.S. Economics and a desire to reunite with relatives (many times parents) certainly play a significant role in that "better life," but the children and teens are also seeking to escape out-of-control violence and crime that has ravaged their communities. Elizabeth Kennedy, a researcher at San Diego State University and University of California Santa Barbara, tells us more in a study entitled "Refugees from Central American gangs."

We covered the topic in SourceMex, weaving in the point of view of Mexican authorities and non-governmental organizations,  We also discussed a summit on the crisis in Guatemala City that included Presidents Otto Pérez Molina of Guatemala and Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador, US Vice President Joe Biden, Mexican Interior Secretary Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, and Honduran Government Coordinator Jorge Ramón Hernández Alcerro. Read More

A second article in SourceMex reported on an increase in remittances sent by Mexican expatriates to relatives back home during the first quarter of 2014. This is despite adverse economic conditions during that period in the country where most expatriates reside: the US. 

Map of Hatian migrants in Dominican Republic (Wikimedia Commons)
In NotiCen, we covered the new plan by the Dominican Republic to regularize the migratory status of "illegal aliens." The plan will benefit between 500,000 and 700,000 people, most of whom have ties to neighboring Haiti. While a percentage of those affected are recent immigrants, many others have lived their entire lives in the Dominican Republic, even though parents or grandparents came from Haiti.  Read more

Also in LADB this week
NotiCen also covered the case of former Guatemalan President Alfonso Portillo, who was sentenced by a US court to five years and 10 months in jail for accepting US$2.5 million from the Taiwanese government and attempting to launder the illegal money through US banks.

In NotiSur, our two articles dealt with land issues and indigenous rights. One article tells us how citizens of Ecuador adversely affected by Chevron's operations in the South American country managed to organize a protest at multinational company's annual shareholders' meeting.  This is despite Chevron's decision to move the meeting from the San Francisco Bay area to a more isolated location in Texas in order to avoid the protestors.  The second article looks at the five-year anniversary of the Bagua massacre in Peru, and how nine legislative decrees by ex-President Alan Garcia led to violent conflict. The decrees, related to energy projects, infringed on the ancestral right of indigenous communities to their land. Several trials related to the conflict are proceed slowly.
 -Carlos Navarro
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