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5 Things to Know this week from Latin America including: UN Sanctions Nicaragua, Kidnapped Americans in Mexico 

U.N. rights group says Nicaragua government committed crimes against humanity  

A Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua presented a new report Thursday to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland that said widespread human rights violations are being committed against civilians by the Nicaraguan government under President Daniel Ortega.

The alleged abuses would amount to crimes against humanity and include extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions, torture, arbitrary deprivation of nationality and the right to remain in one's own country. According to the report, these are not an isolated phenomenon, but the product of the deliberate dismantling of democratic institutions and destruction of civic and democratic space. 

The report identified a pattern of extrajudicial executions carried out by police officers and members of pro-government armed groups who acted in a joint and coordinated manner during anti-Ortega protests in 2018. 

Since then, at least 3,144 civil society organizations have been shut down, and virtually all independent media and human rights organizations operate from abroad.

To read the full report, visit: https://bit.ly/NicaraguaCrimesUN

2 kidnapped Americans found dead in Mexico,2 others alive

Two Americans kidnapped in a cartel shootout were found dead on Tuesday in Tamaulipas, Mexico, the AP reported. According to local officials, two others who were kidnapped with them were found alive, with one wounded.

The surviving Americans were taken to the border near Brownsville, Texas, in a convoy of Mexican ambulances and SUVs, as seen by an Associated Press journalist Tuesday morning. It was not immediately clear if the bodies of the deceased were also being returned to the U.S.

The FBI had said Sunday it was searching with Mexican authorities for the missing U.S. citizens. A relative of one of them said Monday that the group had traveled together from South Carolina so one of them could get a tummy tuck from a doctor in the border city of Matamoros, where Friday’s kidnapping took place.

Shortly after entering Mexico they were caught amid fighting between rival cartel groups in the city. A video showed them being loaded into the back of a pickup truck by gunmen.

To read the full AP story, visit: https://bit.ly/APMexicoAmericanskidnapped

6 Peruvian soldiers drown in river while responding to protests

Six soldiers drowned Monday while trying to get to the Andean town of Juli in Peru to help secure the area following protests Saturday, the AP reported. The Saturday protests turned violent and left five civilians injured and a police station and courthouse on fire.

The soldiers, based in the nearby town of Ilave, initially tried to cross the river using a bridge, but it was blocked by protesters, forcing the soldiers to try to swim across at another location in near-freezing temperatures. Five other soldiers were also suffering hypothermia following attempts to cross the Ilave River on Sunday, the ministry said, adding that it lowered its flag to half-staff to mourn the deceased.

Street protests have engulfed Peru since Dec. 7 when former President Pedro Castillo, Peru’s first leader from a rural Andean background, was impeached and imprisoned after he tried to dissolve Congress last month. The Puno region has seen especially intense protests, including one on Jan. 9 in which 18 civilians were killed.

The protests that began in December have left 64 dead overall, mostly protesters, according to Peru’s ombudsman. Of that total, 48 are civilians who died after direct clashes with security forces.

To read the full AP story, visit: https://bit.ly/APPeruSoldiersdrown

Bolivia redoublesfumigation efforts tocombat dengue 

The Bolivian government began additional fumigations on Thursday to prevent the spread of the worst dengue epidemic in the last 15 years that is punishing Santa Cruz, the most populous city in the country, the AP reported. 

Hundreds of people including neighbors, health officials and recruits mobilized to destroy breeding sites for the mosquito that transmits the dengue disease. 

Dengue is endemic in Bolivia and is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito that proliferates in the east during the rainy season like the current one. The disease provokes flu-like symptoms and can escalate into a life-threatening condition.

According to the World Health Organization, Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia are the countries with the highest incidence of the disease in South America, but dengue is hitting Bolivia and Peru harder this year.

So far, the BolivianMinistry of Health said that Dengue has caused the death of 33 people this year and more than 11,668 infections.

To read the full AP story, visit https://bit.ly/APBoliviaDengue

Chilean circus has fought LGBTQ discriminationfor 54 years

Timoteo Circus has fought prejudice and discrimination against Chile’s LGBTQ community for more than a half century, even through a military dictatorship, the AP reported. 

The Timoteo Circus is one of the best known of Chile’s 120 circuses. Although it is called a circus, it is more of a diversity show with humor, song and dance under a big top, and has 30 employees. At its peak, it had up to 70. 

The show began in 1968 when one of the circus’ female dancers was absent for a performance. Its founder, René Valdés, had one of the male performers dress as a woman and replace her on stage.The performance was so popular the dancer did five curtain calls to receive applause. The transformation circus was born and has been committed to sexual diversity ever since.

To read the full AP story, visit: https://bit.ly/APChileCircus


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