El Salvador

Ministerio de Salud de Costa Rica

Like so many doctors around the world, pediatric surgeon Roberto Herrera was exposed to the new coronavirus back in early March.

“Of course I was scared at first,” says Herrera. That's in no small part because he was also at-risk: he’s 61 and asthmatic. But Herrera insists he was never panicked. After all, he says, he lives in Costa Rica – which has reported only seven COVID-19 deaths and fewer than 800 cases.

El Salvador's president authorized the country's police and military to use lethal force against gang members, who over the weekend were allegedly responsible for the murders of dozens of people. Along with the emergency orders, President Nayib Bukele put all incarcerated gang members on a 24-hour shutdown.

Bukele says the gangs are taking advantage of the police focus on enforcing the coronavirus lockdown instead of battling criminal elements. Lethal force can be used in self-defense or to protect the lives of Salvadorans, he says.

AP

COMMENTARY

COVID-19 is producing a feel-good story across Latin America.

According to this silver linings playbook, the pandemic is neutralizing the powerful street gangs that have made the region the world’s most criminally violent. It’s lowering murder rates and raising gangbangers’ civic consciousness. Post-coronavirus Latin America will be a continent of lions lying with lambs – and no longer such a rampant source of illegal immigration to the U.S.

Heavily armed police and soldiers in El Salvador briefly occupied the country's parliament building on Sunday in a literal show of force supporting legislation to better equip them.

The Armed Forces and National Civil Police troops, carrying rifles and dressed in battle fatigues and tactical gear, entered the building after President Nayib Bukele failed to push through approval of a $109 million equipment loan.

After living in the U.S. for five years, cousins Walter T. and Gaspar T. were deported to their home country of El Salvador in 2019, where they were ripped from their beds one night and beaten by police, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch.

"They began beating us until we arrived at the police barracks," Gaspar said in interviews.

Menly Cortez / State Innovation Exchange

Two months ago, Democratic state Rep. Cindy Polo of Miami Lakes visited a prison in El Salvador. Polo met an inmate named Berta Margarita Arana, a Salvadoran woman serving eight years for attempting an abortion.

Desmond Boylan / AP

As the holiday shopping season gets into full swing, is something capitalist happening in the socialist countries of Latin America? We're talking about the sudden dollarization of Cuba and Venezuela.

The Trump administration is extending protections from deportation to more than 200,000 Salvadoran citizens living and working in the United States in an announcement made Monday.

Under the program called Temporary Protected Status — usually reserved to help foreign nationals from countries embroiled in wars or facing natural disasters — thousands of Salvadorans were allowed to stay in the U.S. following earthquakes in 2001.

Presidencia de Honduras

COMMENTARY

Last Sunday a Honduran immigrant on my middle-aged soccer team asked me about an issue before our weekly game. And it didn’t involve Bengay for a pulled muscle.

“Honestly,” he said, “do you think the president of Honduras is involved with drug traffickers?”

You Tube

When Silvia Sarmiento saw the photo of drowned Salvadoran migrants Oscar Martínez and his toddler daughter Valeria, she gasped and recalled how close she'd come to their fate.

U.S. Border Patrol agents and Mexican law enforcement are searching for a 2-year-old girl who went missing in the Rio Grande. They are searching a section of the river near the border city of Del Rio, Texas, which is about 150 miles west of San Antonio.

"Any time a child is lost it is a tragic event," said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz in a statement Tuesday evening. "I can not imagine the anguish the parents of this young girl must be feeling and I hope our search efforts pay off with a positive outcome."

MARCOS ALEMAN
EMILIO ESPEJEL / AP/ Via the Miami Herald

The young father and daughter who drowned in each other's arms last week in an attempt to swim across the Rio Grande to the United States have been returned to El Salvador for an expected burial at a private ceremony in the capital Monday.

Their bodies entered the Central American country by land Sunday from neighboring Guatemala.

Photographs of Valeria, lying face down in the water with her little arm wrapped around the neck of her father, Oscar Alberto Martínez, broke hearts around the world and underscored the dangers that migrants undertake in trying to reach the U.S.

C.M. Guerrero / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen was right to get worked up last week. He blasted the Trump Administration when it seemed poised to release thousands of migrants detained at the U.S.’s southern border into Broward and Palm Beach Counties each year. (The administration, which never confirmed the reports, has since backed off.)

But in his outrage, Bogen made a rather bogus assertion: “We are not a border state.”

Salvador Melendez / AP

COMMENTARY

As a U.S. correspondent who covers Latin America and the Caribbean from South Florida, I chafe watching my country acquire traits of the developing nations I write about. Obscene wealth disparities. Zero-sum tribal politics. Mass incarceration.

And now, extremist attacks on abortion rights.

In March 1980, Patricia Morales Tijerino and her sister had just left a wedding in a little chapel in El Salvador's capital and were on their way to the reception.

"And then I spotted him," Morales Tijerino recalls. "He was in his white cassock."

Óscar Arnulfo Romero, the Roman Catholic archbishop of San Salvador, was standing alone in a garden outside the church.

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