Asylum seekers in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco. (Photo by Daniel Arauz via Flickr)
Latin America: Week in Review

Lawsuit Alleges Former ICE Agent Repeatedly Raped Honduran Migrant for 7 Years

October 23, 2019 By Staff


HONDURAS: A Honduran woman living in Connecticut filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, ICE and former ICE agent Wilfredo Rodriguez. The woman, known only as Jane Doe, said that Rodriguez threatened to deport her if she did not have sex with him, raped her several times a week for seven years and impregnated her three times. Doe worked as an informant for ICE to avoid deportation beginning in 2006, and Rodriguez allegedly began abusing her in 2007. Rodriguez no longer works for ICE.

Headlines from the western hemisphere


CHILE: The Chilean government announced yesterday that 15 people have been killed in five days of protests. President Sebastián Piñera’s declaration of a state of emergency and curfew have done little to stop the violent clashes and widespread looting, which escalated from students jumping subway turnstiles to protest an increase subway fares. Opposition parties have threatened to boycott any meetings with Piñera to solve the crisis while military troops patrol the street for the first time in almost 30 years.


VENEZUELA: The U.S. Treasury Department granted oil giant Chevron a three-month sanctions waiver extension on Monday to continue operating in Venezuela. U.S. officials said forcing Chevron to pull out of Venezuela would cripple the country’s oil infrastructure. The move was reportedly meant to facilitate the rehabilitation of the oil industry if President Nicolás Maduro were to be ousted. But critics said the extension gave Maduro the opportunity to pay down the country’s debt, allowing him to stay in power. The waiver has been extended until Jan. 22. 

COLOMBIA: Salvatore Mancuso, a top paramilitary commander in Colombia, said yesterday that he is ready to testify against former president Álvaro Uribe. According to his lawyer, Mancuso was scheduled to testify from his U.S. prison cell on Oct. 7 against the former president on charges of witness tampering and fraud, but his testimony was unexpectedly canceled. Mancuso was held responsible for commanding a paramilitary group to conduct 130 massacres that resulted in the deaths of at least 800 people.


PUERTO RICO: Yesterday, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson defended the department after it failed to issue a federal funding notice to Puerto Rico. The legal notice would have allowed the island to start the process of receiving billions of dollars in housing funds allocated for Hurricane Maria disaster relief in 2017. Two HUD officials admitted last week that the department intentionally missed the early September deadline. Carson responded to congressional criticism: “A lot of what we do is dictated by common sense.” 

HAITI: An investigation by The Intercept and Type Investigations found that the U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is using warped statistics to justify ending the Temporary Protected Status program for Haiti. According to the report, the International Organization for Migration, an agency within the U.S. government, counted 96% fewer displaced people living in camps in 2016 than there were immediately following the 2010 earthquake. These statistics “distort the experiences of Haitians,” many of whom still have inadequate housing or have died, according to The Intercept. TPS status for Haiti is currently tied up in the courts, but if the Trump administration succeeds in ending the program, tens of thousands of Haitians in the United States could face deportation. 


GUATEMALA: Six mourners died after gunmen fired at a funeral in La Verbena cemetery in Guatemala City Monday. Police say the shooting was gang-related. Four of the victims died immediately and two were taken to a hospital. Another shooting on the outskirts of the city killed three people the same day.


UNITED STATES: Federal prosecutors dropped charges against Mateo Carmelo-Bartelo of Guatemala, after evidence became available that suggested he was racially profiled by Border Patrol agents. U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested him after overhearing Carmelo-Bartelo speaking Spanish at a Goodwill store in Bangor Maine. According to court documents, Border Patrol had suspicions about the family and pursued the charge of reentering the U.S. after removal. The charge was formally dropped on Monday, but Carmelo-Bartelo’s defense attorney Ronald Bourget said that his client will still faces an immigration court in Boston. 

MEXICO: A second Mexican state congress passed a “conscience objection” law yesterday, allowing doctors to deny health services that violate their religious or ethical beliefs. The Council to Prevent Discrimination says the new law threatens people’s access to health care. The governmental National Human Rights Commission filed a Supreme Court appeal against a similar law passed in Morelos, a state just south of Mexico City. The group argued the law is unconstitutional since it could restrict access to abortion and impact those who are gay or HIV-positive. The court has yet to rule on the appeal.

MEXICO: Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador defended his decision to release one of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s sons in Culiacán, Sinaloa, last Thursday, calling it a “very difficult” but “very humane” choice. The northern Mexico city is now cleaning up after the Ovidio Guzmán’s cartel killed eight people in an attempt to get their leader released from jail. Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo said Guzmán’s release was an attempt to avoid further violence.