Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ixtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico: More on the arrested priest

The Catholic priest who was roughed up before being arrested in Ixtepec this morning has been released. Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra was freed from the Ixtepec (ISH teh peck) city jail at 2:00 this afternoon. Padre Solalinde (I think) said,
"They neither told me why they arrested me nor why they let me go. They just came and said, 'You're free.'"
Well now, Padre Solalinde is just a bit more than a local parish priest as I may have led you to believe in the last post. He is, in fact, the head guy of a multi-diocesan group called the Pastoría de la Movilidad Humana, Southern Zone. This group, which looks after transient migrants on their way north, is sponsored by the 30 southern Catholic dioceses in Mexico, from Puebla to Chiapas.

Padre Solalinde (I think) has been working in this position with the illegal aliens for 13 months. Apparently the train stop at Ixtepec is a big gathering spot for the illegals. The padre says he and many local people have been providing food and water alongside the railway for those 13 months.

Now comes the bad part, at least for the good padre.
"It is difficult to say this, but in the trafficking of illegals and these kidnappings (of this morning), there is broad collusion. It is a mafia which involves organized Central American gangs, the "polleros" (traffickers in illegal aliens), members of the municipal police and the Zetas (ex-military hired guns - mostly deserters). I have their names but I cannot give them to you. My superiors not only have their names but also my records of all of this (incidents, names, dates and places)."
If he's right, and I certainly have no reason to doubt it, the good padre may have just signed his death warrant. The Zetas kill without hesitation. It's what they get paid for.

Father Alejandro Solalinde Guerra in the Ixtepec jail before being released. In the photo in the original post, it looked like he was wearing chinos and a white shirt. The police had pushed his cassock up around his chest as they hustled him into a squad car. The white cassock is common in the tropics as is the lack of a Roman collar. And it gets plenty hot and humid on the isthmus. The white cassock will surely make the padre an easy target if the Zetas decide to take him out.

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