Saturday 4 February 2023

Human rights “observer” of National Rescue Movement was imprisoned for drug trafficking

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4 February 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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QCOSTARICA – Hermez González Álvarez, the human rights “observer” presented Monday by the Movimiento Rescate Nacional (National Rescue movement), the group behind the two weeks of protests across the country, does not actually have any representation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS) or the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UN) or any international human rights body.

González Álvarez calls himself an observer because he is the president of a private organization that he founded after being in prison for drug trafficking.

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This was confirmed by González Álvarez himself in an interview with “I am not a representative of the Inter-American Human Rights System.”

In a publication on the Facebook page of the Movimiento Rescate Nacional, made on October 12, it is indicated that there are “Declarations of Lic. Hermez I. González Álvarez, General Coordinator of Human Rights, Costa Rica”, despite the fact that this movement does is legitimized by any body or country.

Why does the National Rescue Movement want to validate you as a representative of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Costa Rica?  “No, I am not a representative and it is very clear. I have never been nor am I a representative of any group or movement,” González Álvarez answered.

However, González did accept that some press conferences of the said movement were held in his office.

“The ‘confusion’ could have occurred because they have asked us for use of the office space, which are not so big, and we have provided them for the press conferences (…),” said González.

So, what was your intention in approaching the Casa Presidencial?  “My intention is that the President has not given us an answer, to our ask for mediation and be accepted to the dialogue table.”

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González pointed out that an organization in Ecuador, called the International Human Rights Committee, sent a letter to President Carlos Alvarado, in order for him (Hermez) to be the guarantor in the negotiations carried out by the Casa Presidencial with social organizations.

In the country, González represents the Foundation for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (Fundeprode) and the National Coordinator of Human Rights of Costa Rica, both non-governmental non-profit organizations; that is, private organizations founded by himself.

González confirmed that he was convicted in 2000 for international drug trafficking. According to him, this was due to a telephone call that linked him to a person who was being investigated for such. He was released in 2007 and that year he created a private foundation to work for the rights of those deprived of liberty.

“I did not transport drugs and nobody caught me with drugs, it was a phone call. Drug trafficking for me is the most destructive for society. That has expired and I do not have a criminal file in this country and anywhere in the world,” said González.

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Gonzáles, a journalist and public accountant, born in Mexico of Cuban parents, faced in February 2018, a deportation process by Costa Rica’s immigration service.

At that time, he told that the Administrative Immigration Court lost his file on two occasions and also argued the crime of drug trafficking for which he was convicted.

In a publication of the Diario Extra, also from February 2018, it was indicated that Immigration signed the deportation order of González for being illegally in the country.

At that time, Gisela Yockchen, Director of Immigration, told Diario Extra that the deportation process that began in 2007 was carried out with the due process established in the Immigration Law when he made a residence application, which was denied.

However, González indicated that after clarifying the entire situation with Immigration, that institution told him that he did not have undergo the residency process. On October 8, 2018, the Tribunal Supremo de Elecciones (TSE) granted him naturalization.

González said that his foundation is financed thanks to “junk donations” made by public institutions and that they sell to scrap yards in the country. He indicated that the furniture they have in the office and two cars were donated by the Judiciary.

He explained that they have received donations from private companies such as hardware stores, some of ¢500,000 or ¢1,000,000 colones.

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