Things That Matter

The El Salvador Supreme Court Denied A Measure That Would Have Banned Marriage Equality

El Salvador’s Supreme Court sided with the LGBTQ community.

The El Salvador Supreme Court has blocked a measure that would have banned same-sex marriage. The Supreme Court claims that the measure was voted on too hastily to allow public debate on the issue, according to The Associated Press. The Legislative Assembly voted in favor of the measure in April 2015 but the decision by the Supreme Court blocked legislators from ratifying the ban. The same legislation would have also legally defined marriage as a union only between a man and a woman, and aimed to bar same-sex couple from adopting children. It would have required 56 of the 84 legislators to ratify the measure, as reported in The Associated Press.

El Salvador is one of 16 countries that were ordered to legalize same-sex marriages by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. Twenty countries agreed to follow the court’s rulings when they voted to be part of an association of states. Sixteen of them still do not recognize same-sex marriage. Those countries include Peru, Bolivia, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. The IACHR ruled on a petition that was filed by Costa Rica’s president asking for the court to allow same-sex marriage in the region. The court ruled on Jan. 10 that all the countries under the jurisdiction of the court must legalize and allow same-sex marriages.

According to The Economist, the court, which is based in San Jose, Costa Rica, was first established in the 1970s to rule on human rights cases. Over time, the court has become something of a supreme court on human rights in Latin America.


READ: A Court Ruled That These Men Could Get Married In Costa Rica But They Are Being Forced To Wait For A Law Change

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The U.S. Deported This Rising Soccer Star And Now He’s Gone Pro In His Native El Salvador Despite Being Thousands Of Miles From Family

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The U.S. Deported This Rising Soccer Star And Now He’s Gone Pro In His Native El Salvador Despite Being Thousands Of Miles From Family

Kervy Robles / Getty

People who have spent nearly their entire lives in the United States – are not immune to the Trump administration’s cruel immigration policies. Even if you show up every month and check-in for your routine meetings with ICE officers, you’re still subject to the whims of an ever-changing legal scene and moody ICE officers with too much power.

That was the case for Lisandro Claros Saravia – who after having spend the past 11 years in the U.S. was deported back to his native El Salvador.

Lisandro was a rising star in the soccer world and had received an athletic scholarship in North Carolina.

If things had gone as they had for more than 10 years, Lisandro would still be with his family in the United States. His former coaches in the U.S. think he would likely have been drafted by a Major League Soccer (MLS) outfit.

For more than a decade, Lisandro had routine check-ins with ICE officers. But in the summer of 2017, everything changed.

Instead, Lizandro and Diego were deported seven months after President Trump took office and implemented a new immigration enforcement regime that did not exempt any undocumented immigrant from the threat of deportation, not even a college-bound teenager with a clean record and a soccer scholarship.

The two brothers had been in the U.S. for more than a decade and had big dreams.

Lizandro and his brother Diego arrived in the U.S. in 2009. They were just 11 and 14-years-old respectively and came into the country on visas that weren’t theres. Their parents and two siblings were already living in the U.S. at the time – so they came to be reunited with their family.

It was in 2012 when the two brothers had been ordered removed. But they received a temporary order granting them safety from deportation. When that protection expired, ICE didn’t deport them, but instead required them to check-in periodically. 

Then, years later, the two brothers hoped to take advantage of an expanded DACA program. But the expansion was blocked by a federal judge after several Republican states sued, a decision affirmed by a 4-4 deadlock in the Supreme Court in 2016.

Having been deported from the home they knew for more than a decade, forced the brothers to rebuilt their lives in a country they left as children.

Credit: Kervy Robles / Getty

Despite the huge challenges these two brothers have faced, they’re not letting it stop them from chasing their dreams – even when they’re thousands of miles away from their family.

“Deportation really made me strong. It taught me to keep moving forward in life and to keep going because things will get better in the end,” Lizandro told CBS News.

Less than three years after his deportation, Lizandro has earned a starting position in Independiente F.C., a team in El Salvador’s top professional soccer league. He is now one of the most promising soccer talents in El Salvador and part of a young generation of players many expect will ultimately bolster the ranks of the national team.

Although he wants to be with his family in Maryland, Lizandro relishes his new responsibilities as a role model for the children in his hometown of Jucuapa, which used to be known for a booming coffin-making business.

Lizandro’s uncle, Romeo Mejicanos, said his nephew’s success has challenged the stereotypes associated with young, working-class Salvadoran men, who are often recruited by the country’s warring gangs. Lizandro is a beacon for the entire municipality of Jucuapa, which used to be known for its thriving coffin-making business, fueled by El Salvador’s extremely high murder rates.

“That stigma that you have to turn to violence if you are young has been eroding. We can no longer say that the local youths are heading down the wrong path,” Mejicanos, a longtime Jucuapa resident, told CBS News in Spanish. “Jucuapa now has a new face, and it is that of Lizandro and of Diego, who are both excelling and have humbly demonstrated that things can be accomplished the right way.”

Mexico Admits That Hundreds Of HIV-Positive Mexicans Were Being Treated With Obsolete And Ineffective Medications

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Mexico Admits That Hundreds Of HIV-Positive Mexicans Were Being Treated With Obsolete And Ineffective Medications

Gobierno de Mexico

For a long time, it was considered that Mexico had averted the worst of the HIV/AIDS crisis that has plagued much of the Americas. For a country of its size and population, Mexico historically has had a very low incidence rate of HIV infection – even among populations considered at a high-risk.

Mexico is also a nation that has a robust public healthcare system that provides medical care to its citizens free-of-charge or at very low prices, including HIV medications.

Many looked to Mexico as a role model for developing countries confronting the worldwide HIV epidemic. However, after recent reports about obsolete medications being given to HIV and AIDS patients many are beginning to question that way of thinking.

Mexico’s Health ministry revealed that Mexico had been buying outdated medications from suppliers that no longer worked.

Credit: Gobierno de Mexico

Hugo López-Gatell, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health, revealed this morning that some drug providers were selling outdated and obsolete HIV drugs to the federal government. Many of the drug being used by the government to treat HIV-positive patients were from the 1980s and have been proven ineffective around the world.

At a press conference, he explained that in late 2019, authorities realized that drug companies were intentionally manipulating the public bidding process in a scheme to sell outdated drugs to the public health ministry.

“The combination of medicines tells us about the enormous lack of proper HIV treatment because they [the HIV medications] are not adequate. In many cases we found the use of old medicines, we found the use of the first HIV drug that was invented or discovered at the beginning of the 80s. It is a drug that is already obsolete worldwide and in Mexico was still being used,” he said.

According to the government, however, it was the fault of the drug companies that were gaming a public health system.

Credit: Gobierno de Mexico

“What did we find?” That here were pressures from representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. We discovered that it was one group who made the medicines and that there were very few who distributed them. But they tie up the government with exclusive agreements to the different companies that manufacture the medicines,” he explained.

So basically, the distributors put pressure on doctors who specifically prescribed retroviral medications. He also clarified that purchases have always been made at the national level, however, they made no sense with the amounts of what they asked for in each state.

Despite this troubling revelation, the Ministry of Health has restated its commitment to securing the best care for those in need of HIV treatment.

Credit: Gilead Sciences

The undersecretary added: “In May, we completely modified the HIV treatment scheme. First, we made it clear that we wanted the best medications, the most effective, the safest; second, we identified how many people could have this ideal medication scheme and it turns out that there were many more than those who were taking advantage of it.”

This latest news comes just months after the country reformed its HIV treatment regime, leaving many fearful of shortages.

Public health officials warned of the possibility that thousands of Mexicans who rely on HIV treatment could be left without life-saving services after the government changed the way it funds treatment.

Reforms announced last month to centralize drug procurement risk sparking shortages, they say, while the government counters that it has ample supplies and hopes its changes will save money and cut corruption in the drug buying process. It’s these reforms they say that will help combat problems such as being sold outdated and obsolete drugs.

However, many HIV activists warn of a public health crisis.

In February, the government also said that it would no longer fund civil society organizations, leaving more than 200 groups fighting the disease without resources for core activities, such as HIV testing.