- Jul 10, 2020
Central America’s bishops have urged their governments and people to join together to provide health care and protect lives as the COVID-19 pandemic heaps misery and economic consequences on one of the poorer parts of the hemisphere.
A report by the Washington-based Refugees International organization charges U.S. immigration policy with helping the spread of the coronavirus in Guatemala, as federal agencies in the U.S. and Mexico have repatriated infected Guatemalans through deportations.
As if battling a pandemic weren’t enough, three of the poorest countries in Central America now are having to simultaneously face the aftermath of strong tropical storms.
Latin America is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Brazil leading in cases and deaths, followed by Peru. The region has reported nearly 1 million cases and some 50,000 deaths, although officials say the real figures are probably higher.
Davenport Bishop Thomas R. Zinkula has asked the chief of Homeland Security in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to release three Guatemalan immigrant detainees because the COVID-19 pandemic “places immigrants being detained in a very vulnerable situation.”
Catholic field workers in Central America say the Trump administration’s decision to cut off funding to the region is worsening the pandemic.