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5 links from the past week
- Senate Foreign Relations Committee Western Hemisphere Democratic staff have been doing great oversight work on the Trump administration’s intensely harsh anti-migrant policies’ impact on Central America. In October they revealed that DHS personnel in Guatemala were packing migrants into unmarked cars and shipping them back to Honduras. A new report this week finds that of 945 non-Guatemalan asylum seekers shipped to Guatemala under a so-called “safe third country” agreement, not a single one received protection.
- At the Los Angeles Times, Molly O’Toole provides a panoramic view of border and migration policy as Trump gives way to Biden. “I am just deeply worried that every single day the Biden administration waits to give clear indications of what’s going to happen at the border after Jan. 20, they put more people in danger,” Savitri Arvey, co-author of a series of reports on “metering” along the border, tells O’Toole.
- In Mexico, the López Obrador government’s trajectory keeps getting more alarming. Animal Político finds that the presidency has shut down access to public information and official documents about a host of current issues, including “the Tren Maya, the Santa Lucía [new Mexico City] airport, contracts for vaccine purchases, data on COVID deaths, …the presidential plane, and the operation against Ovidio Guzmán.”
- Writing for The Atlantic, Daniel Loedel reflects on retrieving the remains of an older half-sister he never met. Isabel Loedel was one of tens of thousands disappeared by Argentine forces during the 1976-83 military dictatorship.
- Colombia’s Vorágine publishes an account, by reporters from “La Cola de Rata” and “La Liga Contra el Silencio,” of conditions along the San Juan River, which flows into the Pacific in southern Chocó department. This territory of collectively held Afro-descendant and indigenous lands is strategic for cocaine transshipment and other illicit income sources, and communities are caught in the middle of fighting between armed groups and the military. Virtually the only government presence is military patrols—who appear to be capturing community leaders based on false pretenses or bad information—and coca eradicators.