Make-a-List Monday: Central American MPs

Missing persons who are native to a Central American country — as defined between Guatemala and Panama.

Costa Rica
Nobody (though there are several who are thought to be there, or planned to travel there, or had been there before they went missing)

El Salvador
Sandra Yaneth Aguilar-Granados (I think)
Oscar Giovanni Garcia-Calles
Samuel Esay Garcia-Calles
Katya Marie Lyne
Senovia Medina
Cecilia Elizabeth Newball
Kimberly Abigail Orellana
Jose Francisco Fuentes Pereira
Eric Fernando Salguero Franco

Guatemala
Adrian Garcia Najera
Francisco Javier Sanchez
Rolando Schweikert
Romeo Sierra-Portillo

Honduras
Melvin Eduardo Turcios Cedillo
Juan Ramon Madrid-Bueso
Isabel Rodriguez

Nicaragua
Donald Marcelino Alvarez-Vallecillo
Yansis Massiel Juarez
Blanca Elisa Roberson

Panama
Tilsia Peralta Martinez

D’you reckon these are the same person?

I’ve been going through the FDLE missing persons database again and trying to find pictures to connect with the names so I can add them to Charley. I found this entry for a Wolther Geovanny Midence Bustillo, missing since 2007. I Googled his name and found this article (in Spanish) from a newspaper in Honduras: a Geovanny Wolther Midence Bustillo was arrested for forging and cashing a check in Tegucigalpa, the capital city, in October 2009.

The Honduras guy would be the same age as the Florida guy, and their names are almost the same, and that can’t be a common name, even in Latin America. For what it’s worth, both of them appear to have brown hair and eyes. And if Mr. Midence Bustillo is in Honduras, that might explain why the police in Florida can’t find him.

What do you think? Same person? Worth phoning in to the cops?

Another missing illegal immigrant, another typical response

Justin showed me this article about a thirteen-year-old Guatemalan boy who vanished while crossing the Mexican border illegally to join his mom in Arizona. I have not heard of this kid before. He’s been missing for two months and it really doesn’t look good. It seems unclear whether he vanished on American or Mexican soil — thereby giving both country’s authorities an excuse not to look for him.

What really gets my goat, though, is the barrage of ugly, vicious, racist comments attached to the article:

She is illegal and so is her son. I care nothing if they are found dead in the desert…The more of them found dead, the better off the world is.

Another one down…how many to go?

Good riddance to this gang banger.

And there was another comment, which I can’t find now and must have gotten deleted (and rightly so), saying something like “Her son is dead and he’s a good boy, because the only good wetback is a dead wetback.”

No matter how you stand on the immigration issue, you’d think people would feel some compassion for this child, and his mother. If this boy disappeared on American soil, then the American authorities have an obligation to look for him, the same way they’d have an obligation to look for someone from, say, China, or England, who disappeared within the United States borders.

The racism inherent in the illegal immigration issue bothers me a lot. If you are in this country illegally, you are MUCH less likely to be deported if you’re white. When people come here seeking asylum, either they’re let go on bond until their court date, or they’re put in immigration detention, and it’s a proven fact that people of color are MUCH more likely to be put in detention than white people. There was this one guy I know about who disappeared in Texas, and who was originally who was from Russia. I saw a board post from the police officer whose department was investigating the case, saying they had found the Russian man alive and well in another state. The cop added, and I quote, “He’s here illegally, but because he’s not Hispanic and he’s not Middle Eastern, we’re not going to do anything about it.”

I was horrified. I mean, I don’t especially care whether they deported the person or not. But I was shocked and deeply saddened that a public official would openly state that they were not going to enforce the immigration law in his case for the sole reason that he was white. The guy was every bit as illegal as someone who’d crossed over from Mexico. It’s like a judge saying at sentencing, on the record and in front of everyone, “Well, if you were a black guy you would be getting five years for this offense, but since you’re white, I’ll let you off with probation.” Disgusting.

What is it about illegal immigration that seems to rile up so many people, even more than crimes like murder and selling drugs? I mean, for example, you don’t see a lot of people saying “Who cares about Haleigh Cummings, her parents were drug-dealing criminals and they deserved to lose their kid, and she would have turned out the same way as them” or something like that. I am horrified by these people’s utter lack of empathy. I swear it makes me want to cry.

UPDATE: I found this article with photos of the missing boy. They think they might have found his body, but they’re not sure.

Border crossings

I just found this excellent CNN article on the 1993 disappearance of Jose Francisco Fuentes Periera. Before this I had known practically nothing about his disappearance.

Seven-year-old Jose, along with two older brothers, his sister and an aunt, disappeared shortly after sneaking over the US border in southern California. They were part of a large group of people being smuggled in and someone yelled “policia,” and then everyone freaked out and scattered. When they all calmed down and found each other again, Jose was missing. The smugglers, after escorting everyone to safety, went back with a search party, but he’s never been found.

The prospects of finding Jose seem pretty bleak. They’re not even sure exactly where he disappeared, since they were all out in the middle of nowhere. Further, Jose didn’t know his date of birth or his last name, and he might not have known his real first name, since everyone called him by the nickname Paquito. I suppose it goes without saying that he didn’t speak any English either. The family is originally from El Salvador. Jose and his siblings was going to join their mother, who had moved to the US four or five years before, leaving them to be raised by grandparents. They lived in a small, remote village and Jose had never attended school.

Quite a few people — no one knows how many — disappear or die trying to cross the border every year. Because more urban areas are harder to get through, they try to go through the desert, where conditions are treacherous and it’s easy to get lost. Then, naturally, people are afraid to report disappearances and bring themselves to the attention of the authorities, and it’s likely that the authorities themselves will squabble over jurisdictional issues. I tried to see how many others on Charley disappeared during a border crossing and came up with Melvin Cedillo, Sandra Aguilar-Granados, Delfina Guzman, Miguel Cisneros and Armando Rivera Noriega. I’m sure this barely scratches the surface of the problem, though. I also have a few illegal immigrants who disappeared within the United States.

Like sex trade workers, people who vanish or become crime victims while illegally crossing the border are seen as having brought this on themselves, and I’ve seen some people speculate as to why the cops should bother to look for them, since it’s not like there aren’t enough crimes to investigate already. I think that kind of behavior/thinking is disgusting. However you stand on the immigration issue, these people are people, and if they disappeared within our borders then our authorities have an obligation to try to locate them.