Dear Friends of Annunciation House,
Today Annunciation House joins the international community in calling for the immediate support and action on behalf of Belen, Posada del Migrante. A shelter located in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, Belen, Posada del Migrante has been providing hospitality to the most marginalized of immigrants, Central Americans, for twelve years. Annunciation House recognized Belen, Posada del Migrante as the 2011 recipient of the Voice of the Voiceless Award. Both Father Pedro Pantoja Arreola and Friar Jose Raul Vera Lopez, OP, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Saltillo, Coahuila joined us in El Paso to receive the award on behalf Belen, Posada del Migrante. Annunciation House continues to support the crucial work of Belen, Posada del Migrante as we are reminded of the cost of being a Voice for the Voiceless – constant attempts to silence the work and advocacy on behalf of the oppressed.
Belen, Posada del Migrante has endured previous harassment and through it all, continues to be a light in the darkness of violence that has saturated Mexico. Yet, this new wave of threats and information theft requires our immediate support for the staff of Belen, Posada del Migrante. On January 7th, Amnesty International released an “Urgent Action: Fear for Security of Shelter Staff in Mexico” calling for action on behalf of the shelter staff. In the newest attacks, the director, Father Pedro Pantoja Arreola, received a threat on his personal phone after his car was broken into and confidential work documents stolen. Eight days later, the shelter coordinator’s car was also broken into, and confidential work documents taken. These latest attacks are alarming in their explicit nature and acute objective of seeking sensitive work-related documentation.
Belen, Posada del Migrante has come to know opposition intimately. Their prophetic voice and witness in not only accompanying, but also documenting and recording testimonies of abused immigrants, has guaranteed the presence of those intent on stopping their work. Since 2010, a patrol car as been stationed outside of the shelter, a protective measure the Mexican government mandated after receiving instructions from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Yet, the staff at Belen, Posada del Migrante has articulated that this form of protection is not adequate. The worst fears of the staff are now being realized with the most recent attacks.
Please join us as we stand in solidarity with the staff and guests of Belen, Posada del Migrante. Father Pedro Pantoja Arreola and his team continue their tireless efforts a Voice of the Voiceless. They will not be silenced, and neither will we. The allies of Posada del Migrante have started a chorus of support demanding that definitive and concrete measures be taken to guarantee protection of the shelter. Please join us in this effort.
Rubén L García, Director
To view the “Urgent Call” from Amnesty International, including information for writing to the appropriate authorities in Mexico, please visit this link.