Sunday, May 08, 2005

Immigration and politics

The US and Salvadoran governments both appear to be using control over immigration in a fairly heavy handed way to discipline persons with who they disagree. First, the US revoked the visa of Schafik Handal, eliminating the ability of the FMLN leader to travel to the US. The US has not been very transparent in articulating a reason for the revocation.

Next Tony Saca, following the lead of his friends in the US, expelled Ecuadorean doctor Pedro Banchón, an advisor to the medical workers union.
The Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad has an action alert with information about the Banchón deportation:

Banchón’s colleagues as well as his lawyer have denounced his deportation as a violation of his rights, as much for the Salvadoran governments failure to take into account his family within the country, as for their failure to follow proper procedure for deportation. Indeed, the Supreme Court of El Salvador ruled on January 18, 2005 that Banchón had not been properly notified that deportation proceedings had been initiated against him. Furthermore, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Constitution of the Republic define the family a fundamental social component, and call on the State to protect it accordingly.

Even more worrisome, however, is the fact that Banchón filed a lawsuit against Social Security Communications Director Carlos Lopez Barrundia for defamation. A hearing was scheduled for Friday, April 30 (the day following Banchón deportation). Lopez Barrundia’s lawyers took advantage of Banchón absence to argue that the case should be dismissed. The presiding judge declared that Banchón needs to justify his absence to the court before any further action can be taken. This deportation could therefore be considered an obstruction of justice, in addition to the human rights violation it represents.

Both events are viewed by the Left as part of a pattern of increasing repression of political dissenters.

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