Sunday, August 19, 2007
Fugitive Story: A Message from Alvaro Orozco
As many of you know Alvaro Orozco is a young gay man who has gone into hiding somewhere in Toronto.
"Most of the time, I'm hiding because I'm not supposed to be anywhere. I feel like a fugitive. It's really bad..."
A fugitive in a country he hoped would give him a safe place to call home at last. But one that is instead preparing to deport him back to Nicaragua....where he could be hurt, jailed, or killed.
You know when you are a gay kid ....and you run away from home at the age of twelve because you are tired of being beaten and you want to live free.... and you hitch hike through Central America and Mexico....and you swim across the Rio Grande....and you spend years being shunted from one refugee shelter to the other in the United States...or dodging immigration officials.....and you NEVER give up your dream of coming to Canada...you gotta have a LOT of hope.
So Alvaro must be so disappointed.
This brave gay kid is a real fighter. But after finally making it to Canada...and having lived here for three years....to be told that he has to leave must have really hurt. Quite apart from all the legal arguments....after ten years of fighting all kinds of obstacles...that must have put a real dent in his heart.
So as one gay brother to another I decided to send him an e-mail to cheer him up. And I told him if he wanted to send out a message I would be happy to publish it.
So he sent me a note. With his permission I corrected some of the English and shortened it a bit.
It repeats some of the stuff you may have read before. But I think you can get an idea of what a strong and decent kid he is.
And how disappointed and hurt he is as well....
My name is Alvaro Orozco I was born in Nicaragua. My early years were hard. I lived with my mother and brothers because my father couldn’t support us. He was an alcoholic who often abused my mother. From the age of seven I knew I was different from my brothers and friends. I had gay feelings. Although at that time I was just a child and confused, and I decided to wait until I was older to see what would happen.
Later my father also realized I was different. He hated me because I would try to defend my mother. He started to beat me every day and most of the time for no reason. He said he would make me straight and a real man. At that time in Nicaragua there were still no laws protecting women and children, so men could do what they wanted, and sometimes macho culture is even stronger than religion.
But of course the church is very powerful too. They are in the government and responsible for laws that say that any gay man who is out, or lives an open life with other men can spend three or four years in prison.
But the reality is even worse. Thanks to the Catholic Church gay people have been tortured and killed since colonial times. And they are still killed in the streets because the Church teaches people that gay people are evil and must go to hell.
There is no protection for women from domestic abuse in Nicaragua. And for gay people it is not the right place to live.
That’s why I am hoping so much that the Canadian government will help me to stay here, where I am safe, instead of sending me back to Nicaragua.
I am so sad that the Canadian government and the immigration department don’t seem to care about gay rights, even though we are human like everyone else.The laws in Canada are supposed to protect gay rights, but it seems they only protect gay Canadians but not gay immigrants.
I hope that people can wake up and open their eyes and see that this is not justice, that justice is for everybody, and freedom has no name, no country, no race. That we all have hope, and that all gay people want to live with equal respect and freedom no matter where we are.
Please help me. Thank you to those who are supporting me.
Alvaro Orozco has been treated like an animal by our immigration officials. By the ones who questioned whether he was gay. And by the ones who are sending him back to Nicaragua ....even though they must know what kind of reception awaits him.
Judging from the comments in a Nicaraguan paper...
"God free us from all this faggotry... Imagine if all of God's creation was gay, who would have children? It would be the end of the world."
Alvaro told me his lawyer is challenging the government's ridiculous pre-removal risk assessment that claims he wouldn't be in danger if he returned to Nicaragua.
And a lot of good Canadians have come to Alvaro's defence. But unless we can keep the pressure up, immigration officials will eventually move in and deport him. That's the way it ALWAYS works.
So please think of ways to keep attention focused on his situation and his suffering....and use this website to send e-mails to Immigration Minister Diane Finley and other politicians.
Tell them this isn't just a LEGAL question anymore...it's a question of basic humanity...it's a matter of life and death.
Tell them that if Canada sends Alvaro Orozco back to Nicaragua...after all the publicity his case has received... it could end up with blood on its hands. And a stain on this country that will never go away.
The brave little fighter may be feeling down and hurt....but he isn't giving up.
And if we love Canada and human rights and justice...
We can't either...