Mexico Seeks to Protect Migrant-Advocate Priest

Aid for Central Americans Raises Ire of Local Authorities, Drug Gangs

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IXTEPEC, Mexico, FEB. 11, 2011 ( Mexico’s Senate is aiming to protect Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra, aware that the priest’s aid to Central American migrants is endangering his life.

The Senate agreed Tuesday to request both the federal government and the local authorities in the southern state of Oaxaca to keep the priest protected.

Father Solalinde Guerra has a shelter for Central American migrants crossing Mexico on their way to the United States. The trip through Mexico is made treacherous by criminals who seek to exploit these migrants in a variety of ways: They are kidnapped and held for ransom, or made to carry narcotics to the United States, or used as assassins in the bloody conflict between the drug cartels.

Precisely because of this constant violation of human rights, Father Solalinde Guerra has raised his voice, so much so that he endures threats and intimidation.

His shelter, «Brothers of the Road,» has been attacked, even by locals who resent the migrants and see them as criminals.

Recently, Father Solalinde Guerra lamented that the governments of Mexico and of Central American countries blame one another mutually for the origin of the problem, «instead of implementing measures to put an end to criminal kidnappings and extortion.»

According to the Catholic priest, the Mexican government cannot just seek to «clean up the image of the country,» but must combat the crimes, «as it cannot deny that these [crimes] are committed here.» 

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