TIME El Salvador

El Salvador Priest Slapped With More Charges for Assisting Gang Members

Antonio Rodriguez
In this Tuesday Oct. 24, 2006 file photo, Roman Catholic priest Antonio Rodriguez Tercero explains the function of the youth center in the San Salvador suburb Mejicanos, El Salvador. Luis Romero—AP

The Catholic official is accused of helping hardened criminals get lesser sentences and continue extorting their victims

Authorities in El Salvador have handed down new charges for a Spanish priest charged with participating in gang activity and giving aid to gang members.

The litany of charges against Roman Catholic priest Antonio Rodriguez Tercero includes: convincing officials to reduce gang member sentences, smuggling contraband into prisons and helping gang members continue extorting victims from behind prison walls, the Associated Press reports.

Tercero says he is being targeted due to his “honesty.” The priest, who runs a parish in a low-income neighborhood and works with gang member rehabilitation programs, has been a critic of the Salvadoran government’s anti-gang efforts.

The same sweep that nabbed Tercero also netted 12 police officers, two judges, three court employees and two prosecution officials for suspected collaboration with the region’s powerful street gangs.

[AP]

TIME Immigration

Obama: Migrant Children Without Humanitarian Claims Will Be Sent Back

An estimated 90,000 migrant children could cross into the U.S. before September. The President met with leaders of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to discuss ways to slow the influx

President Barack Obama took a tough line on the thousands of unaccompanied migrant children who have crossed the nation’s southern border in recent months, saying those without humanitarian claims will be subject to return to their home countries eventually.

Meeting with the leaders of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, Obama continued his efforts to dissuade parents from sending their children on the often dangerous journey to the United States. “Children who do not have proper claims,” Obama said, “will at some point be subject to repatriation to their home countries.”

But Obama did preview what the administration is calling a “pilot program” that he is considering in Honduras to allow those with refugee claims to make them from that country without physically making the journey to the United States.

“Typically refugee status is not granted just on economic need or because a family lives in a bad neighborhood or poverty,” Obama said. “It’s typically defined fairly narrowly.”

“There may be some narrow circumstances in which there is humanitarian or refugee status that a family might be eligible for,” he added. “If that were the case it would be better for them to apply in-country rather than take a very dangerous journey up to Texas to make those same claims. But I think it’s important to recognize that that would not necessarily accommodate a large number of additional migrants.”

Obama said such a system would keep smugglers from profiting off families seeking better lives for their children, and “makes this underground migration system less necessary.”

Earlier this month Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson estimated that up to 90,000 migrant children will attempt to cross into the U.S. during the fiscal year ending this September.

TIME El Salvador

Evacuations Ordered Near El Salvador Volcano

Soldier walk near the area of the Chaparrastique volcano in the municipality of Placitas outside San Salvador
Salvadorean soldiers walk near the area of the Chaparrastique volcano in the municipality of Placitas outside San Salvador February 13, 2014. Reuters

Approximately 1,000 people have been relocated from villages near a volcano in the country's far south that reportedly began expelling reddish ash on Monday

Authorities in El Salvador have evacuated at least 1,000 people living in close proximity to the Chaparrastique volcano, where increased seismic activity has been reported this week

Officials say that an explosion occurred near the volcano on Monday, which later began to belch reddish ash. There are now fears of a larger eruption.

The nation’s Civil Protection Department issued an alert on Monday for the municipality of San Miguel, where the volcano is located.

Chaparrastique’s last major eruption occurred in 1976, according to the Associated Press. The volcano is located 90 miles east of the country’s capital San Salvador.

[AP]

TIME El Salvador

Salvadoran Man Returns Home With Fish Tale of the Ages

Pacific castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga's family watch the broadcast of his arrival at their house in Garita Palmera 118 km. west from San Salvador, El Salvador, on February 11, 2014.
Pacific castaway Jose Salvador Alvarenga's family watch the broadcast of his arrival at their house in Garita Palmera 118 km. west from San Salvador, El Salvador, on February 11, 2014. Jose Cabezas—AFP/Getty Images

Family greets man who spent a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean

The Salvadoran who claims that he spent over a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean returned home late on Tuesday, after a week of rest and medical treatment in the Marshall Islands.

José Salvador Alvarenga’s 14-year-old daughter didn’t remember ever seeing her father, who left to fish in Mexico when she was only one-year-old, but greeted him with an archway of palms over the front door and a sign reading: “Welcome.”

While many have doubted the 37-year-old’s incredible story, experts have attested that it would be possible to survive through his ordeals, and details emerged over several days seem to corroborate the horrible journey.

[AP]

TIME Marshall Islands

Castaway Released From Hospital

Too sick to travel back to El Salvador, doctors say

The castaway who washed ashore in the Marshall Islands last week claiming he had been lost at sea for 13 months was released from a hospital for the second time on Friday, officials said.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga was readmitted to the hospital Thursday because doctors were concerned about his dehydration, vitamin levels, and swollen legs. He is now staying in a hotel after his latest release, and plans for his return to El Salvador have been postponed, , CNN reports.

Alvarenga washed ashore more than a week ago after an ordeal at sea that he says lasted 13 months. He and his younger fishing partner left the Mexican port of Paredon Viejo in December 2012 in order to catch sharks, but his tiny boat was blown off course. He says he survived for over a year by eating raw birds and turtles, and drinking rainwater and urine. Alvarenga is originally from El Salvador, but had been living and working in Mexico.

[CNN]

TIME Marshall Islands

Castaway is Back in the Hospital

A man who said he was lost at sea for 13 months sees his health worsen

A man who said he was lost at sea for more than a year has been hospitalized, with doctors saying his limbs have started to swell up and that he’s too dehydrated to travel.

Jose Salvador Alvarenga’s worsening health and his hospitalization in the Marshall Islands will delay his planned Friday return to El Salvador, CNN reports. “Doctors say he’s severely dehydrated and low on vitamins and minerals,” said a trade official in Mexico, where Alvarenga had been living.

Alvarenga set out with a friend from the port of Paredon Viejo in Mexico in December 2012 on a trip to catch sharks. But their boat was blown off course by a storm and they eventually lost use of the engines. Alvarenga said he survived by living off raw fish, birds and turtles. His companion, 23-year-old Ezequiel Cordova, died of starvation after four weeks. Alvarenga made it to the shores of the Marshall Islands last week.

TIME Marshall Islands

Castaway Fisherman ‘Survives 13 Months’ at Sea on Turtle Blood and Fish

Jose Salvador Albarengo, 37, a fisherman from El Salvador, told officials that he survived more than a year adrift in the Pacific Ocean, drinking turtle blood and catching fish with his bare hands.

Albarengo said he went on what was supposed to be a one-day fishing trip more than a year ago from Mexico, but was blown out to sea.

He was found in a disoriented state on a remote coral atoll, Reuters reported.

But the acting secretary of foreign affairs for the Marshall Islands, Gee Bing, said he was skeptical of Albarengo’s account.

“It does sound like an incredible story and I’m not sure if I believe his story,” Bing said. ‘”When we saw him, he was not really thin compared to other survivors in the past. I may have some doubts. Once we start communicating with where he’s from, we’ll be able to find out more information.”

Albarengo was found with no identification with him.

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