Guatemala

"I'm here today because I want to put an end to this," Yazmin Juárez told members of Congress tearfully on Wednesday.

Lawmakers listened as Juárez testified about the preventable death of her daughter in 2018, weeks after they were released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

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.

A former Guatemalan first lady is the front-runner following Sunday's presidential election in the Central American country, where the electorate is hoping to find a candidate who can tackle its high unemployment, violence and corruption.

Eduardo Verdugo; Patrick Semansky / AP

COMMENTARY

A conservative Facebook friend in my native Indiana recently endorsed a meme that features right-wing radio rage-monger Rush Limbaugh saying today’s immigrants want to “erase America.”

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.”

Courtesy of the Guatemalan-Maya Center

It’s surreal for Fr. Frank O’Loughlin to see a video of a straight-faced Policarpia Gaspar Xuncax talking about the Guatemalan-Maya Center, a nonprofit serving immigrants that they co-founded in Lake Worth.

“In real life, she couldn’t make it through two sentences without laughing,” he said.

Her sense of humor and her passion for education loom large in the stories family, friends and community members tell about the woman they knew as Poli.

Phil Laubner / Catholic Relief Services

Last week President Trump threatened to close the U.S. southern border because record numbers of Central American migrants are arriving there – including 100,000 apprehended in March. “I’m not playing games,” Trump warned. “We can’t hold people anymore.”

But what’s lost in Trump’s border-security bluster is that there’s something unusual about this wave of Central American migrants. Most are not from Honduras or El Salvador. Most are instead from Guatemala. And immigrant advocates say the main force driving them to flee here is climate change.

Jose A. Iglesias / Miami Herald

One of the more disturbing sounds to hit the media airwaves last summer was a recording obtained by ProPublica of Central American children crying at an immigration detention center in Texas. They’d been separated from their parents, who had come to seek U.S. asylum.

At that same place the summer before, in 2017, a Guatemalan girl named Ana was taken from her father. She was three. Ana was sent to a relative in Immokalee, Florida, who took her to immigration lawyer Jennifer Anzardo Valdes in Miami.

For three days last week, thousands of Guatemalans blocked roads and major highways to protest the Central American country's slide toward a constitutional crisis. The protest organizers included groups that have long demanded justice: indigenous communities and campesinos, as rural and farm workers are called.

Despite the Trump administration's immigration clampdown, newly released data show the number of Central American families and unaccompanied children crossing the Southwest border illegally has risen sharply.

The government blames loopholes in U.S. immigration laws for acting as a magnet for immigrants. But there's another explanation. The push factors in impoverished regions in Central America are as powerful as ever.

AP

Many Central America observers say this past weekend was disappointing for democracy in the region. In Nicaragua and Guatemala, critics charge the country’s presidents are behaving like the dictators of Central America’s past.

There’s a village in rural Guatemala where women are selling hand-sewn reusable menstrual pads. It’s a product medical experts say is necessary in some impoverished areas because women and girls cannot afford disposable pads. 

Tim Padgett / WLRN.org

Rescue workers have suspended efforts at the Fuego volcano eruption in Guatemala, which has killed 109 people and left 200 missing. Officials in Miami-Dade County – home to a large Guatemalan population – launched a drive for relief aid on Thursday.

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