Friday, August 1, 2014

At the Other End of the Migration Journey

Honduran school children ( ZackClark. via Wikimedia Commons)
'The program is aimed specifically at children at social risk and with no access to formal education, and in it the child’s interests are involved. The beneficiaries are children practically living in city dumps, and others with no access to school, those who have no father or mother to provide them with a family and support." - Col. Gustavo Adolfo Amador, administrator of Honduras' Guardianes de la Patria

Most of the attention on the recent migration of minors from Central America to the United States has been on the point of destination--the United States. The coverage in the US media ranges from the detention centers where the young migrants are housed to U.S. immigration policies.

Even in this week's issue of SourceMex, we discuss a controversial move by Texas Gov. Rick Perry to send 1,000 National Guard Troops to the Texas-Mexico border as a response to the surge of minors from Central America. To some extent, we have also covered news from the point of transit, which is Mexico.  And in our coverage, we have alluded to the poverty and violence in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, which is largely behind the large exodus of unaccompanied minors.

Official T-shirt
So how do you keep young people from joining gangs?  Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández thinks he has a partial solution.  Earlier this year, he launched a program called Guardianes de la Patria, aimed at covering some 25,000 youngsters in the 5-15 age group in low-income, densely populated neighborhoods nationwide. The goal is to  teach young people values, prioriites and love of country.  "They receive formal and nonformal education, such as workshops, lectures, Christian education, training in technical work, physical training, sports, recreation activities according to age groups, and there is a school for fathers and mothers," said  Col. Gustavo Adolfo Amador, one of the officers who has oversees the program.

Human rights organizations warn, however, that the program has a Nazi-type component, exposing kids to a political-military culture of weapons to make up for a failed strategy to draft youngsters into the volunteer military service. "That’s a neo-Nazi project. We’re going to have youngsters with only military training since their childhood, and they’re having, with all that, all their rights … violated. It’s a project to annihilate a country’s dreams and the hope one places in youth. It’s a horror, what we’re living," said Bertha Oliva, head of the Comité de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos en Honduras (COFADEH)   Read More from George Rodríguez in NotiCen, July 31, 2014

(This video in Spanish from HispanTV provides addtional information)

Also in LADB This Week....
  • Environmental advocates have accused Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow of reneging on his commitment to a sustainable-tourism policy by allowing a subsidiary of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) to invest US$50 million in the construction of a cruise port on Harvest Caye, a 75-hectare island 5 km southwest of Placencia Village.
  • The center-left Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (Morena),  created by former presidential candidate Andrés Manuel López Obrador, is now officially a political party and is ready to compete with the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD) for votes in Mexico's election in 2015..
  • The World Cup was a disaster for Brazil, when measured by the results on the field (a 7-1 loss to Germany,  Off the field, the tournament ran smoothly for the record number of foreign tourists visiting the country and affluent Brazilians attending matches, but preparations also caused the widespread displacement of low-income Brazilian families. Either way, the event will have little impact on President Dilma Rousseff's reelection chances.  An economic downturn, however, could influence voters.
  •  In the days leading up to the BRICS summit in Brazil on July 15, the Russian and Chinese presidents came to Latin America offering generous loan packages and cooperation plans. As leaders of the strongest economies of the five countries in the BRICS group, Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China signed hundreds of agreements for billions of dollars with Latin America’s progressive governments with which they either have, or are looking for, points of agreements on the necessity of modifying structures of the global agencies and establishing a fair and polycentric new world order based on international law with the UN playing a central coordinating role.
-Carlos Navarro
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