Central America

C
Shuka Kalantari

A year ago, Franci Machado started feeling really sick with nausea and vomiting. She went to the hospital and then again when her symptoms worsened a month later. Doctors told her she had thyroid cancer. And that she was two months pregnant.

Machado, a 26-year-old single mother, needed chemotherapy to save her life, but that could kill the fetus. Under Nicaraguan law, that’s considered an abortion. So doctors refused to treat Machado.

Courtesy Rolling Stone via Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

I’d like to take acclaimed film actor and ridiculed crime writer Sean Penn to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, which until recently suffered the highest homicide rate of any city on the planet.

I’d like him to meet the families of the thousands of victims murdered by the maras, or narco-mafias, that are tied to Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa drug cartel.

the Miami Herald

The mayors of Miami-Dade County and the city of Miami and a Hialeah commissioner are worried. They all say the county's not financially prepared for the imminent arrival of thousands of Cubans stranded in Costa Rica.

Last week,  a deal was made to airlift the  Cuban migrants stuck in Costa Rica to El Salvador so they can travel through Mexico to the U.S.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez thinks it should be the job of the federal government to take care of the migrants.  

The United States is planning an operation to deport recently arrived Central American families who have ignored removal orders from immigration judges, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the plan.

The operation would at least in part affect Central Americans who fled violence in their home countries but were denied asylum in the United States.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

See the full series at WLRN.org/migrationmaze and see all the photos at MiamiHerald.com.

IXTEPEC, MEXICO   |   At a shelter in this small municipality in Mexico’s southern state of Oaxaca, psychologist Miguel Gil Reyes gathers a group of new arrivals to share information on services available for them here and at various points across the nation.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

Despair wrought by corruption scandals also drives migration to the U.S.

TEGUCIGALPA    |    Hondurans don’t get riled easily. And they’re not known for takin’ it to the streets.

But this has been a year of loud and angry torchlight protest marches in Honduras — and for good reason. The impoverished Central American country is wrestling with perhaps the worst government corruption scandal in its history.

Or as Honduran protesters like Eldan Cruz put it: “Corruption on such a criminal level it’s basically sociopathic behavior.”

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

El Edén in Honduras is no paradise for those on trek to the U.S.

SAN PEDRO SULA    |    It seems the entire world is wrestling with immigration emergencies today. And lest you think the western hemisphere’s crisis is over, consider the look on Oscar Ortega’s face.

He just got a WhatsApp message that made his eyes pop.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

Reform and beefed-up police presence is making Hondurans feel safer.

SAN PEDRO SULA    |    On June 26, 2014, 13-year-old Andrea Argeñal had just dropped her young cousins off at school in the Rivera Hernández section of San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second-largest city. Relatives say it’s the sort of favor she frequently did for her family.

Patrick Farrell / Miami Herald Staff

Some U.S.-funded programs help would-be immigrants improve their lives and stay home.

TEGUCIGALPA    |    Here’s the first thing to know about Jessel Recinos: He’s a breathtaking rollerblader.

Almost every day, Recinos skates in Cofradía Park in San Pedro Sula, Honduras’ second-largest city. He spins, makes hairpin turns and takes soaring jumps, his long locks blowing like wind socks. Kids scream his name as if he were a Honduran sports icon.

Here’s the second thing to know about Recinos: He should probably be dead.

Courtesy U.S. Embassy in Honduras

President Obama is asking Congress for $1 billion in new aid for Central America – especially violence-plagued countries like Honduras. One big goal is to reduce the massive waves of illegal immigration to the U.S., which we’re seeing in South Florida.

While in the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa last week, I spoke with U.S. Ambassador James Nealon about how the Administration hopes to make this plan work – and about Washington’s growing realization that solving illegal immigration means improving conditions at its source rather than building walls at our border.

A Hate Crime Haunts Jupiter And Its Latino Community

Jul 13, 2015
Maria Murriel / WLRN

JUPITER, FLA. -- Onesimo Lopez-Ramos immigrated to the U.S. from Guatemala -- one of the most violent countries in the western hemisphere. But even living in the quiet town of Jupiter, Fla., at the northern end of Palm Beach County, he couldn't escape lethal brutality.

The 18-year-old Lopez-Ramos was killed this past April, allegedly by three young white men who said they were targeting immigrants -- or "Guat-hunting" as one of them told police afterward in a disturbing confession.

U.S. Southern Command

Honduras gives us so many reasons to cry. The world’s worst murder rate. Grinding poverty. All those desperate, unaccompanied child migrants who poured into the U.S. last summer – and who just might come knocking on our border again this summer.

These days Honduras is giving us some good laughs, too. As in: I’m laughing so hard I’m crying, because the Honduran hilarity makes me nervous about the fate of the $1 billion the Obama Administration wants to send Honduras and Central America this year.

As far as I’m concerned, one of the year’s most important Latin American stories happened this week in China.

Yep, communist China. On Monday the government’s Internet watchdragon, known as the Great Firewall, pulled the plug on Gmail because it's a subversive instrument of free speech and dissent.

In the process, Beijing affirmed President Obama’s historic decision this month to pursue a policy of engagement with communist Cuba.

The State Department launched a program this month that creates a safe passage to the United States from Central America. It would give some U.S.-based Latino parents the chance to bring over children they left in their home countries.

More than 57,000 child migrants made the trip across the U.S.-Mexican border this year. Many report being physically and sexually abused along the harrowing journey.

U.S. Southern Command

Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández dropped by the U.S. Southern Command in Miami this week to talk about security in Central America. Or the utter lack of security in Central America. Honduras has the highest murder rate on Earth, and things are almost as deadly in neighboring Guatemala and El Salvador.

That’s why the Southcom visit was a nifty photo op for Hernández – who'd like the world to believe that he’s having to wage a war with vicious narco-gangs solely because Americans have an insatiable appetite for drugs.

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