SIF Hosts Delegation Working to End Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Central America


Fourteen women leaders from seven Central American countries and the Dominican Republic will visit Seattle from June 14-22 for a weeklong leadership-training program entitled Mujeres Adelante.

The delegation will meet with various private and public institutions in King County focused on the elimination and prevention of gender-based violence (GBV) to enhance their knowledge around the latest strategies, service models, and public policies used to address violence against women.

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a critical issue in Central America resulting in increased citizen insecurity and inequalities for women and girls. According to the UNDP, two out of three women murdered in Central America are killed because of their gender.

Mujeres Adelante is a partnership between Seattle International Foundation and the Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State to address GBV by hosting Central American women leaders for a series of exchanges and leadership training programs to enhance their personal leadership, skills and networks, as a key strategy to combat GBV.

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El Salvador woman’s plight highlights lack of reproductive health in region


A 22-year-old woman in El Salvador only known as “Beatriz” recently became the flashpoint in the country’s debate about reproductive health across Central America.

Beatriz suffers from lupus and kidney problems. During pregnancy, lupus can put the unborn child at risk in the last trimesters. In Beatriz’s case, her unborn child had developed without parts of its brain or skull. Physicians urged the medical need to perform an abortion but El Salvador’s supreme court struck down the motion saying that it could not guarantee the doctors would not be prosecuted for murder.

Abortion is illegal in El Salvador with no exceptions, even when a woman’s health is at risk.

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U.S. Immigration reform and its effects on Central American migration

By: Oriel María Siu,  Professor of latin Studies at the University of Puget Sound

The recent visit of Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra to Washington State opened the limited debate on immigration reform in the U.S. While the U.S. Congress, the mainstream media, and pro-immigration reform organizations co-opted by the Democratic Party that promotes an excessively conditioned reform to policies of immigration, Father Solalinde reminds us of a stark and grim reality: migration from south to north in the Americas will continue. Thousands of people, as is the case of an Occupied America –as historian Rudy Acuña would call it–, continue waging daily route elevations despite more walls, more militarization of the Mexico-US border, and implementing more laws to punish the immigrant once in American soil. The reform will not solve the underlying problem, and as Father Solalinde metaphrases: this reform is like putting a band aid on the Titanic before it sank. Other than helping a few (after years of waiting, many expenses, more criminalization and deportations of undocumented people, and diverse conditions), the ship will eventually sink. This, if we do not fix the problem that created that hole, will happen. This problem is systemic.

The social conditions in Honduras, El Salvador, and Mexico will continue to cause massive emigration. More than a century of economic plunder by the United States, war policies, and now the intrusion of neoliberal economic policies in these southern regions, have left these countries in deplorable conditions, forcing people to seek survival in the north. We are not coming to the US as tourists. People do not risk their lives in the Mexican death trains, risking kidnapping, rape and extortion because they want to. Nor do they cross the genocidal Mexico-US border, its deserts, and other death traps because it is amusing. The migrant exposes his/her life because everything has been denied in their home country, thus removing the possibility for a dignified life. This sentence is historic, although we have seen it flare up at alarming scale in the last two decades.

Poor migrants, as Father Solalinde reminds us, are evidence that the neoliberal economic system is in crisis. A US immigration reform will only help a few illegal immigrants (estimated to be between 3.5 and 6 million), while the flow expelled from the southern countries will continue to emigrate. We will still come to the United States and our rights will not be on the agenda. We need to raise our voices and work on proposals that go beyond the crumbs offered by the American political system.

Kerry attends OAS summit in Guatemala; drug policy tops agenda


The Organization of American States (OAS) held the 43rd general assembly from June 4-6 in Antigua, Guatemala.

One of the most important issues on the agenda is reevaluating alternative strategies to the current US-backed war on drugs.

Prior to the beginning of the annual event, the OAS published a groundbreaking report advocating for decriminalizing some drug use. This is a move that was first proposed last year by Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina himself.

Drug Policy Alliance, a New York-based organization that advocates for reassessing the US’ stance on preventing narcotics trafficking said the report “presents four possibilities for how drug policy could evolve in the Americas, most of which break from the current U.S.-led approach. The report is the first of its kind, providing a thoughtful and detailed visualization of alternatives to the existing drug prohibition regime.”

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About the blog:
This blog was created to support the Central America Network and encourage dialogue around relevant research, news and poverty alleviation efforts in the region.
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