In Honduras, Labor Rights are Human Rights

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By Laura Schroeder

The video begins with slow, dramatic music.

The words “Grupo Jaremar” flash against a concrete wall, followed by shots of factory equipment and signage surrounded by lush foliage and zooming cars.

A deep male voice announces in Spanish that Grupo Jaremar, a Central American palm oil conglomerate, delivers high-quality products with the customer in mind.

Then, the stories start.

A company executive announces through a megaphone, “We don’t want to be the biggest business in the world. We want to be the biggest business for the world.” A young woman in front of a freshly painted building — electric blue — beams, telling viewers that she has a new house because of Grupo Jaremar.

“Thanks to Jaremar I graduated, and now I work at this great business,” a hard hat-clad worker explains.

The film cuts to a shot of a woman in a hairnet kneading dough and flipping tortillas, who says, “Now we have stable work. We’re the owners of our own business, and we’ve been working for two years. We’ve sustained ourselves thanks to Grupo Jaremar’s donation.”

From providing affordable medical care to fighting hunger to investing in microenterprises, the business’ social responsibility claims are constructed as rapidly as the electric blue house in the video. This, however, is not the whole story.

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Open Americas Statement on Zero Tolerance Policy & Family Separation

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On Friday, April 6, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced in a memorandum the introduction of a zero tolerance policy for migrants who enter the United States without documentation.

Although there is no specific law that mandates family separation at the US-Mexico border, the separation of parents from children has occurred as parents who cross the United States’ southern border without documentation are prosecuted in criminal court for the misdemeanor of entering the country. Meanwhile, youths are referred to the Department of Health and Human Services, which in turn sends them to shelters or places them in the custody of sponsors.

Between May 5 and June 9, 2,342 children were separated from their parents at the border, according to the Trump administration.

There has been great public condemnation of the policy, with all four living former first ladies stating their opposition to it. Republicans and Democrats alike have also been vocal in their criticism. Responding to public outcry, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen called on Congress to “fix” the policy, negating the administration’s responsibility and complicity in family separation. “You do not need to break the law of the United States to seek asylum,” she stated. “We are a country of compassion. We are a country of heart.”

Open Americas does not believe that separating children from parents is compassionate. It is heartless.

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“Quecholli es un secreto”: Mujeres intercambiables en cárteles y Fiesta en la madriguera

Por Susana Cardenas-Soto

La memoria como un remedio para el mal de Tzvetan Todorov identifica cuatro roles principales en las narrativas del bien y del mal: el villano y su víctima; el héroe y sus beneficiarios (8-10). Al examinar la esfera patriarcal de los cárteles mexicanos y sus narrativas, específicamente Fiesta en la madriguera de Juan Pablo Villalobos, podemos ver que las mujeres desempeñan el papel de víctima. Feminicidio se define como “el asesinato misógino de mujeres por hombres…” (Fragoso 283). Fragoso explica que esta violencia es “consecuencia lógica del sistema patriarcal que mantiene la supremacía masculina” (284). Es fácil disolver la empatía a favor de demonizar a los perpetradores cuando leemos sobre los horrores del narcotráfico. Todorov afirma que para evitar una ‘repetición de acontecimientos’ se requiere reflexionar sobre las circunstancias que dieron lugar a actos bárbaros, las motivaciones de los responsables y los medios que emplearon (80). No podemos simplemente culpar a los hombres como Guzmán, o el ficticio Yolcaut, sin mirar los sistemas de patriarcado y explotación económica. Es natural estar sorprendido sobre las realidades de la narco-violencia; para comprender, debemos emplear la empatía. Fiesta en la madriguera revela, a través de la estructura narrativa, la victimización de las mujeres en los cárteles mexicanos, e ilumina simultáneamente la humanidad de sus agresores y el sistema omnipresente que perpetúa la estratificación de clase y género.

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The De-Catholicization of Latin America

By Emanuel Pietrobon

In 2014, according to Pew Research Center, about 69% of Latin America’s population identified as Catholic, in comparison with 92% in 1969. During the same period, the share of Evangelicals grew from 4% to 19%, a growth rate three times larger than the world’s population growth. Within the last decade, Roman Catholicism’s influence has decreased and is no longer followed by the majority of the population in countries such as Guatemala, Chile, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Uruguay. This trend is due to the increase of new Christian denominations and irreligiosity, and is being recorded all over Latin America, which may no longer be a Catholic majority by 2030.

Several factors pushed people to abandon Catholicism and to embrace other denominations or atheism such as sexual and accounting scandals involving the clergy, involvement with military dictatorships during the 1970s and 1980s, the crisis of the Catholic welfare model based on supplying public goods and services to villages and slums, secularization processes, and the energetic campaign of proselytism through social and political activism of Evangelical Churches.

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“The Ultimate Expression of Freedom”: A Q&A with Dr. William Arrocha

William ArrochaDr. William Arrocha, Assistant Professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, recently shared his expertise and thoughts on compassionate migration, DACA, the upcoming presidential elections in Mexico, and what truly makes us human with Open Americas.

Can you describe your background? How did you become interested in the field of international policy and more specifically in U.S./Mexico relations, migration, and human rights?

I am an eternal migrant, born from immigrant parents in Mexico City, a place where many worlds have met, clashed and thrived for centuries. As someone born within an international and multicultural family, my reason for being will always involve more than one country or place. As the Argentina poet Facundo Cabral once said, “I’m not from here… I’m not from there.”

Being born in Mexico to an American mother and a Mexican father always placed me in the confines of U.S.-Mexico relations. Being raised in a family with parents engaged in the realms of the law, social justice, and human rights, studying in the French system during all my formative years and at my bachelors at the National Autonomous University of Mexico could not have taken me to any other path than that of an internationalist.

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Comunicado OA sobre el presupuesto para 2019: ¿Qué significa para las Américas?

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Equipo de Open Americas, Traducido por William Giller

El lunes, 12 de febrero, la Casa Blanca presentó su proyecto de presupuesto para el año fiscal 2019. Este documento no solo propone una drástica reducción de los presupuestos americanos para subvenciones a Latinoamérica, sino que también aumenta los gastos para la defensa y la infraestructura nacional.

Open Americas cree plenamente que cualquier presupuesto refleja los valores políticos y personales de sus creadores. Las mismas firmes ideas sobre el nativismo, militarismo y excepcionalismo estadounidense publicadas en el documento para 2019 están también integradas en las decisiones políticas, las cuales perjudican a los pueblos a lo largo de las Américas.    

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