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Time may be running out for Washington and its allies to hold the region’s miscreant governments to account

Central American countries are falling like dominoes into authoritarianism. Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega has intensified his crackdown on political opponents, journalists and human rights defenders in advance of general elections on…
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele speaks to his supporters in San Salvador, El Salvador, on February 20, 2020.
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Nobody should be fooled by bromides like the one that Salvadoran Vice President Félix Ulloa offered this week on television. Ulloa said the government was trying to “promote” free speech in a context of “an avalanche of negative campaigns aimed…
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele speaks to his supporters in San Salvador, El Salvador, on February 20, 2020.
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Pope Francis’s support for same-sex civil unions, extracted from a 2019 interview and recently broadcast, has reverberated around the world. Not surprisingly, it is the only snippet from “Francesco”, a wide-ranging documentary on his life,…
Pope Francis attends a inter-religious ceremony for peace in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli, in Rome, October 20, 2020.
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When Pricila, a 32-year-old trans woman, fled El Salvador in February 2019, she had good reason to fear for her life. Police had beaten and sexually assaulted her, telling her they would make her a man. Gang members attempted to forcibly recruit her.…
A group of men and women march walk while holding rainbow pride flags
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The Trump administration has proposed a new federal regulation that would create insurmountable barriers to the vast majority of asylum claims, including by gutting the definition of refugee to the point where lesbian, gay, bisexual and…
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No Hate Crime Conviction Despite Five Years of LGBT Murders Since Legislative Reform

Camila Díaz Córdova, a transgender woman, suffered violence and discrimination her entire life. She even fled El Salvador multiple times to seek refuge abroad. After being deported from the United States in late 2017, her fate was…
A transgender woman shows a photograph of Camila Díaz, whom she met while migrating to the US, where they both turned themselves in to immigration authorities. Both women were eventually deported.
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The head of state’s actions threaten democracy in the Central American nation.

On Sunday, President Nayib Bukele of El Salvador arrived at the Legislative Assembly with a group of uniformed soldiers holding automatic weapons. He wants the parliament to approve a $109 million loan from the Central American Development Bank so that he…
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele, accompanied by members of the armed forces, speaks to his supporters outside Congress in San Salvador, El Salvador.
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A new treaty to deepen the link between environmental protection and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean has the potential to reduce the conflicts that lead to the murders of so many environmental defenders in the region.  The…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
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On November 2, the Chilean Senate adopted a resolution urging the Bachelet administration to support the Vatican’s efforts to mediate the Venezuelan crisis, and to seek a special OAS session to evaluate Venezuela's compliance with the Inter-American…
Aerial view of St. Peter's square in the Vatican.
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Correa Cracks Down on Environmental Activism

During his visit to Ecuador last month, Pope Francis delivered a speech on environmental stewardship and urged the administration of President Rafael Correa to “open spaces for dialogue” on how to manage the country’s resources. The 4,000-square-mile…
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: We have arrived at a peak season for migration to the United States. It's springtime, and both the weather and the economy make it advantageous for many people to cross the border from Mexico. That means we should know soon if the U.…
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Why Catholics must condemn anti-gay violence

The recent assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Family has brought renewed attention to Catholic approaches to gay and lesbian persons. During the synod, church leaders discussed pastoral and theological perspectives regarding the place of homosexual…
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I went to Vatican City recently to talk to officials there about Pope Francis’ views on homosexuality. In that famous interview in July, Pope Francis answered a question about how he would deal with gay priests: “Who am I to judge”? We sent him a letter…
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I am not Catholic. I am not a believer. And yet, as a South African, I am aware of the positive and negative roles the Catholic Church can play. It was outspoken against apartheid, and its liberation theology (controversial within the church) inspired a…