Central American migrants

Rodrigo Abd / AP

It's hard to wrap your arms around everything that happened 2019 in Latin America and the Caribbean. It's even harder to find any good news — from the violent political unrest that rocked capitals from La Paz to Port-au-Prince, to a record number of fires that ravaged the Amazon rainforest.

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COMMENTARY

We’re locked in yet another Trump-era moment that forces us to ponder the Ugly American.

Right now it’s President Trump’s alleged efforts to bully countries like Ukraine into dishing dirt on his political rivals. Last year it was his Oval Office whining about immigrants from what he called “sh—hole” countries.

But this week an obituary reminded me there was a time when Americans recognized, even celebrated the dignity of people from those countries.

npatterson / Creative Commons

A group of Lake Worth high schoolers who call themselves the “Mayan Girls” have been working to translate important information — everything from vaccination information to hurricane awareness — into Mayan languages.

The girls mostly translate into Q’anjob’al, a language spoken primarily in the Huehuetenango region of Guatemala. It’s the most common Mayan language in Palm Beach County, where Guatemalan Mayans make up a sizable portion of Jupiter and Lake Worth’s immigrant populations.

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Most of the stories about Central American migrant children coming to the U.S. in recent years have been sad ones. That’s especially true of Guatemalan children. Since December, three Guatemalan minors have died while in U.S. immigration custody – including a 16-year-old boy in Texas this month.

Which is why Mayra Pedro Andrés’ story matters.