Gustavo Castro Criticises the SRE’s Delay in Ensuring his Return from Honduras
By: José Antonio Román
Gustavo Castro, the Mexican activist held for almost a month in Honduras due to being a witness to the murder of Berta Cáceres, criticised the delay with which the Secretariat of Foreign Relations (SRE, its initials in Spanish) acted to ensure his return to national territory.
“Faced with the evident lack of application of Honduran laws in my case, and the irregularities, it is strange that the Mexican government here did not act sooner, and that it waited for so long despite having legal frameworks and mechanisms for doing so,” the coordinator of the Otros Mundos Chiapas organization said.
In his first statements in this country, where he arrived last Friday, he said that this delayed action of the Mexican Chancellery prolonged his stay in the Central American country in the midst of total uncertainty. “For me it was like psychological torture not having clarity about what assistance the government (of Honduras) wanted, what it wanted from me, and also including the possibility that my stay there could be prolonged.”
Castro remained almost a month held “illegally and arbitrarily” by that country’s judicial authorities that are investigating the murder of the human rights defender Berta Cáceres, perpetrated with gunshots in the early morning of last March 3 in the leader’s home casa.
At a press conference, Castro said that it would be “absurd” to oblige him to return to Honduras for the investigation, because during his retention he cooperated with authorities and gave a statement about everything he knew about the Honduran activist’s murder; she had invited him to her country to participate in several workshops on sustainable projects. Berta Cáceres was advising different indigenous communities against a hydroelectric project that would affect several rivers.
Nevertheless, in response to an express question, he pointed out that he has not yet decided whether he will file a complaint or not against the Honduran government for this “arbitrary and illegal” retention committed against him. “It’s something about which I still have to speak with the lawyers,” he said.
Moreover, representatives from diverse organizations who accompanied Castro’s defence process during his retention lamented the “poor political and diplomatic behaviour” that the Chancellery realized from Mexico for a co-national to whom the Honduran State did violence and re-victimized.
They even deplored that Foreign Relations now boasts that its efforts caused Gustavo Castro’s return to Mexico, when it was the work of the Mexican activist’s lawyers and the growing national and international pressure demanding his liberation that was cornering the Honduran government into terminating the retention. This is also pointed out in a joint position with the Mexican Network of those Affected by Mining (Rema) and the Mexican Movement of those Affected by Dams and in Defence of Rivers.
They mentioned that the Chancellery proposed waiting for the 30-day “immigration alert” imposed on Gustavo Castro to conclude to act. They were also the ones that offered information to the functionaries for the diplomatic mediation. Chancellor Claudia Ruiz Massieu refused to receive the Mexican activist’s family members, arguing a “tight agenda.”
In contrast, the organizations as well as Castro recognized the “excellent protection operation” that Mexico’s ambassador in Honduras, Dolores Jiménez Hernández, and Consul Pedro Barragán had, for guaranteeing his security.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Tuesday, April 5, 2016
Re-published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee