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Anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in El Salvador on the rise

President Nayib Bukele has not publicly condemned murders

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San Salvador, El Salvador (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Editor’s note: The Los Angeles Blade published a Spanish version of this story on Nov. 21.

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — Anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in El Salvador have increased over the last two months.

Unknown suspects in a vehicle on Oct. 27 stabbed Anahy Miranda Rivas, a 27-year-old transgender woman, with a knife on Los Héroes Boulevard in San Salvador and dragged her to death.

The body of Jade Camila Díaz, a trans community leader in Morazán department, was found floating in the Torola River on Nov. 9, three days after she was reported missing. The murder of Victoria, 44, who was brutally killed, was reported on Nov. 16. The body of Oscar Cañenguez was found the next day near San Vicente’s market.

The country’s LGBTQ organizations remain on alert and they have not stopped their constant social media condemnations of the rise in the number of these cases against the LGBTQ community.

“What is happening @FGR_SV @PresidenciaSV? We demand concrete actions! Enough LGBTI deaths!,” Erick Ivan Ortíz, an LGBTQ activist and a member of Colectivo Normal, in a tweet in which the offices of El Salvador’s Attorney General and president were tagged.

Culture Minister Seucy Callejas, whose ministry is charged with the inclusion of the LGBTQ community in government policies on Twitter said, “We condemn social violence, especially that which targets the most vulnerable communities.”

“We are working to uncover the causes of the recent homicides,” added Callejas in her statement that LGBTQ organizations and activists criticized

“The culture minister made a pronouncement by tweet and refers to LGBTI people as most vulnerable communities, noting her discomfort with us,” William Hernández, director of Asociación Entre Amigos, told the Los Angeles Blade.

A trans woman’s disappearance in Santa Ana became public after these crimes against the LGBTQ community took place. This case is the one to which the El Salvador’s attorney general referenced, clarifying a person had been detained for having committed a crime.

“The prosecutor gave more importance to the crime,” Hernández told the Blade. “It was as though they implied that they kill us because we are involved in illegal activities and not because of LGBTIphobia.”

Assemblyman Josué Godoy, a member of the Republican Nationalist Alliance (ARENA) party who represents Santa Ana department, on social media declared, “We have seen over these last few days a series of hate crimes against the LGBT community, primarily against trans women. We must act.” He urged the State to condemn these crimes and act with respect to them.

El Salvador’s human rights ombudsman, via a statement from Julio Guillermo Bendec, condemned anti-LGBTQ hate crimes and said through outrage and social pressure the State must act to curb violence and discrimination against this segment of the community. At the same time, he urged authorities to undertake actions necessary to prevent these events that continue to happen.

The U.N. in El Salvador, which also wanted to show its solidarity with the LGBTQ community, on Wednesday issued a statement via social media and a poster.

“The U.N. system in El Salvador makes a call to national authorities who are charged with investigating these crimes that they punish those responsible, consider transphobia as an aggravating factor, and take urgent measures to prevent more acts of violence based on prejudice and hate towards the LGBTI community,” said the U.N. in El Salvador.

President Nayib Bukele as of deadline had still not issued an official statement or comment on his social media pages about these crimes against the LGBTQ community. Some may see this silence as a setback to the work that organizations have been doing for many years.

“The quality of life conditions for the LGBTI community for which we have been working for many years are falling apart for many people,” Hernández told the Blade. “They possibly think we have not achieved much, but we must keep fighting as long as changes don’t come from the State.”

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele
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Ventura County

Newsom appoints Vianey Lopez to Ventura County Board

Lopez has a lengthy track record in progressive issues including her outspoken support of Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights

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Vianey Lopez (center) with the late Chair of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors Carmen Ramirez (L) (Photo Credit: Vianey Lopez/Facebook)

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom announced Friday that he has appointed City of Oxnard Councilmember Vianey Lopez to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors to the seat left vacant by the sudden death of the beloved chair of the Ventura County Board of Supervisors Carmen Ramirez, killed in an August traffic accident.

Lopez, 35, a resident of Oxnard, has been a city councilmember for District Six since 2018 and also serves as a District Director for California State Senator Monique Limón since 2020.

According to her campaign for reelection to city council biography, Lopez immigrated to the U.S. at the young age of 4. As one of the youngest of 11 children, there were opportunities she was afforded that her siblings did not have. Raised locally, Vianey attended kindergarten through middle school in the Hueneme Elementary School District before graduating from Hueneme High School in 2005.

Councilmember, now Supervisor Lopez has a lengthy track record in progressive issues including her outspoken support of Planned Parenthood and women’s reproductive rights as well as other key issues including LGBTQ+ equality, immigrant rights, and has worked for several California political leaders including a stint as District Scheduler for former U.S. Representative Lois Capps from 2013 to 2016, a member of the House from 1998 to 2017 representing California’s 24th congressional district.

Lopez was a Program Coordinator for the Oxnard Downtown Management District from 2012 to 2013 and an Administrative Assistant and Concierge at the Oxnard Convention and Visitors Bureau from 2009 to 2010. She is a member of the League of United Latin American Citizens and Future Leaders of America.

Lopez earned a Master of Public Policy degree in International Relations and State and Local Policy from Pepperdine University.

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Southern California

Triple A: SoCal gas prices race up by double digits in one week

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.52, which is eight cents higher than last week

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Photo Credit: Auto Club of Southern California

LOS ANGELES – Reports of additional Southern California refinery issues, along with continued low inventories, have created the biggest one-week price jump at the pump since early June, according to the Auto Club’s Weekend Gas Watch. 

The average price for self-serve regular gasoline in California is $5.52, which is eight cents higher than last week. The average national price is $3.68, which is two cents lower than a week ago.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area is $5.59 per gallon, which is 17 cents higher than last week, 25 cents higher than last month, and $1.19 higher than last year. In San Diego, the average price is $5.53, which is 15 cents higher than last week, 24 cents higher than last month, and $1.18 higher than last year.

On the Central Coast, the average price is $5.53, which is eight cents higher than last week, seven cents higher than last month and $1.18 higher than last year. In Riverside, the average per-gallon price is $5.44, which is 14 cents higher than last week, 23 cents higher than last month and $1.12 higher than a year ago. In Bakersfield, the $5.46 average price is eight cents higher than last Thursday, three cents higher than last month and $1.10 higher than a year ago today.

“Oil Price Information Service reports that several local refineries are undergoing unplanned maintenance as fuel inventories are at their lowest levels in a decade, which caused Los Angeles wholesale gas prices to rise sharply this week,” said Auto Club spokesperson Doug Shupe. 

The Weekend Gas Watch monitors the average price of gasoline. As of 9 a.m. on Sept. 22, averages are:

Sept 22 22
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California

Newsom signs legislation to support California Native communities

Advances equity, inclusion and highlights the unique history, culture and government of tribes in the Golden State

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Governor Gavin Newsom signed several bills to support California Native communities (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Today on Native American Day, Governor Gavin Newsom signed several bills to support California Native communities and build on the Administration’s work to promote equity, inclusion and accountability throughout the state.

AB 1314 establishes a statewide emergency alert system for missing Native people 

In a ceremony joined by leaders of Native American tribes from across California, the Governor signed AB 1314 by Assemblymember James C. Ramos (D-Highland) to help address the ongoing crisis of missing and murdered Native people from communities across the country.

Under AB 1314, local law enforcement will be able to request that the California Highway Patrol activate an emergency Feather Alert, similar to an Amber or Silver alert, to assist in search efforts for a Native person who has been reported missing under suspicious circumstances.

“As we lift up the rich history and contributions of California’s diverse tribal communities today, the state recommits to building on the strides we have made to redress historical wrongs and help empower Native communities,” said Governor Newsom. “Today’s measures continue to move these efforts forward, including a new emergency alert system that will provide us with additional critical tools needed to address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People. I thank all the legislators and tribal partners whose leadership and advocacy help light the path forward in our work to build a better, stronger and more just state together.”

Governor signs AB 1314 alongside Assemblymember Ramos, Tribal Affairs Secretary Christina Snider and leaders of Native American tribes from across the state (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

“AB 1314 will help us get the word out sooner when an individual is missing or endangered, enlisting the help of the public for tips and leads as soon as possible when quick action is critical,” said Assemblymember Ramos. “I thank the Governor for signing this vital measure – creating an alert system was a top recommendation from tribal leaders for addressing the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People.”

The state budget this year invests $12 million over three years to fund tribally-led programs to help address the crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous People on tribal lands. This investment built on last year’s investment of $5 million to fund training and guidance for law enforcement agencies and tribal governments to improve public safety on tribal lands and study challenges related to the reporting and identification of missing and murdered Native peoples, particularly women and girls.

AB 1936 re-designates UC Hastings College of the Law and advances restorative justice efforts for Native peoples who suffered mass killings orchestrated by the college’s founder

Governor Newsom also signed AB 1936 by Assemblymember Ramos, which re-designates the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law as the College of the Law, San Francisco and advances restorative justice efforts for Round Valley Indian Tribes and Yuki people whose ancestors suffered mass killings and other atrocities funded and supported by college founder Serranus Hastings in the mid-19th century. 

AB 1936 also outlines several restorative justice initiatives that the College intends to pursue, such as renaming the law library with a Native language name, annually reading a statement of the atrocities Hastings committed against the Yuki people and providing collaborative opportunities for Round Valley tribal students to gain debate and writing experience, among other efforts.  

AB 2022 will remove the racist and sexist slur squaw from all geographic features and place names in California

Under AB 2022 by Assemblymember Ramos, the racist and sexist term “squaw” will be removed from all geographic features and place names in the state, and a process to review petitions to change offensive or derogatory place names will be created. This comes on the heels of federal action this month to complete the removal of this slur from nearly 650 geographic features across the country, including several name changes advanced by California based on extensive tribal engagement. The Newsom Administration has launched a series of ongoing actions to identify and redress discriminatory names of features attached to the State Parks and transportation systems.   

Governor Newsom also signed AB 1703 by Assemblymember Ramos, the California Indian Education Act. The measure encourages local educational agencies and charter schools to form California Indian Education Task Forces in partnership with local tribes to develop curricular materials that highlight the unique history, culture and government of tribes in their region.

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