Por QueEstelle Gonzales Walgreen
Execution of Mexican Humberto Leal Highlights Texas as ‘Lone’ State & Gov Perry’s Limitations
Photo: Execution of Mexican Humberto Leal Highlights Texas as ‘Lone’ State & Gov Perry’s Limitations
At 6:21 p, (CST) yesterday Humberto Leal Garcia, Jr. died by lethal injection in a Texas prison for a heinous crime. So who cares about another poor excuse for a human being wiped off the earth. But you see, the UN, the White House, the governments of Brazil, Honduras, El Salvador, Mexico, Switzerland and Americans in foreign jails, to name a few, cared.
As a Mexican citizen, Leal’s execution for the 1994 murder of 16-year old Aria Sanchez was another blow to U.S.-Mexico relations and put a dink or more likely a dent in the world’s perception of the US. A Mexican representative put it succinctly:
“Another execution of a Mexican national in direct violation of international law would undoubtedly affect public opinion in Mexico, undermining support for a constructive and forward-leaning bilateral relationship,” said Ricardo Alday, spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in the United States.
Apparently Texas authorities did not tell Leal after his arrest that he could seek legal assistance from the Mexican government through the local consulate under an international treaty right. Leal who moved to the US as a toddler only remembered to assert his foreign national rights when his ass was on the line – literally. When his lawyers asked, Texas said no therefore violating those pesky international laws.
Neither the Obama administration nor the Mexican government nor the UN contend that Leal is innocent. Rather, they argue that the US has an obligation to comply with the laws of the international community it is a part of. Under the 1963 Vienna Convention, of which both Mexico and the US are party to, a foreigner has certain rights when arrested ouside his country. Yes, even a scum bag like Leal looking for an angle to save his hide gets the protection of the Vienna Convention so less scummier and possibly innocent people get the benefit of it.
So the National Human Rights Commission, countless foreign governments and even Texan George W. Bush turned to the one person who could right this wrong in the name of national interests – Texas Governor Rick ‘Praying’ Perry. Good luck I thought, he’s probably busy at a shooting range, prayer meeting or patrolling the border.
Texas is the only state not to comply with national consular access that ironically George Bush mandated Texas to do so when he was President and Perry Governor. The ‘lone’ star state is acting as the ‘lone’ state yet again. On a side note, Perry obviously thinks he doesn’t need Dubya if he runs for President. ‘Praying’ Perry should remember that Dubya doesn’t forget a slight just asked the now deceased Saddam Hussein.
Neither did Perry appear very worried about the fact that some 2,000 Americans are arrested and locked up abroad each year. Because of Mexico’s proximity, its top on the list of countries Americans are most likely to get arrested in. And you know what that means – if arrested in Mexico don’t mention you know Governor Perry and maybe even forget to mention you are from Texas.
Then there’s that overriding fear expressed by the White House that other U.S. prisoners abroad facing similar fates as Leal will be denied their rights and face legal peril abroad. No worries, I say other nations aren’t as rogue as Texas or its Governor.
Perry showed no signs of backing down. A Perry spokesperson noted: “Texas is not bound by a foreign court’s ruling,” referring to a International Court of Justice mandate that Texas stay the execution and give Leal another trial. Yee Haw Cowboy. It was a long shot, I know, what with 200 men being executed since Perry became governor and indeed it fell on his very deaf capital-punishment loving ears.
With the evidence at hand Leal would have been convicted again and been executed later. Yet by Perry staying the execution the greater good would have been served, i.e. not only what’s good for Texas and Perry’s myopic principals. But alas for the man who wants to be President that didn’t matter.
Who cares about protecting U.S. interests aboard, fostering cooperation with foreign nations, not causing ‘irreparable harm’ to America interests, etc… .
A President is the one that should care and one seeking that office should appear to care even more.