iOS app Android app More

Mexican Pro-Migrant Priest Flees Death Threats


05/14/12 11:25 PM ET  AP

MEXICO CITY -- An outspoken priest who runs a shelter for migrants in southern Mexico has temporarily left his facility after receiving death threats, the shelter coordinator said Monday.

The "Hermanos en el Camino" shelter run by the Rev. Alejandro Solalinde said in a statement that the Roman Catholic priest is "protecting his physical safety" until state and federal prosecutors thoroughly investigate the threats.

The shelter said Solalinde is expected to return to his work, but didn't say when.

"International human rights organization that work closely with Solalinde suggested he go away for a while," said Jose Alberto Donis, who coordinates activities at the shelter.

Donis said the most recent threat came on April 15.

Prosecutors in southern Oaxaca state have said they are investigating and are providing police security for Solalinde.

Solalinde has become widely known in Mexico for publicly denouncing corruption and abuse of mainly Central American migrants who cross into Mexico seeking to reach the United States.

Last year, he took the unusual step of publicly implicating the violent Zetas drug cartel in the kidnapping of migrants. He also criticized corrupt police.

"His comments made candidates and organized crime gangs uncomfortable," Donis said.

Also Monday, a group of experts from the U.N. and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on Mexico to approve a proposed law to defend human rights advocates.

Margaret Sekaggya, the United Nations special investigator for the treatment of human rights defenders, said such activists in Mexico "desperately need the state's effective protection now. "

"They continue to suffer killings, attacks, harassment, threats, stigmatization and other serious human rights violations," she said.

Also on HuffPost:

SLIDESHOW: Our Lady of Guadalupe Festivals
Loading Slideshow...
  • Procession

    An annual Los Angeles procession in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe draws thousands of worshipers, some in Indian attire carrying banners of Mexico's patron saint as well the Mexican flag.

  • The Traditional Story

    The celebration includes music, dancing, prayer and scenes from the traditional story of the Virgin Mary's apparition before an impoverished Indian named Juan Diego in December 1531.

  • Costumes And Dance

    The Virgin Mary's apparition as an Indian woman was said to be recorded on Juan Diego's cloak during the encounter on a hilltop on the outskirts of Mexico City. For centuries, the image of the dark-skinned virgin has endured as a symbol of unity and hope for believers throughout the world.

  • Stadium Mass

    The yearly procession is followed by a Mass celebrated at the East Los Angeles Community College Stadium.

  • A Gathering Of Clergy

    This year's procession will be followed by a Mass celebrated by the head of the Los Angeles Archdiocese as well as auxiliary bishops and other clergy members.

  • The Virgin and Her Followers

    The annual procession in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe brings together thousands of Catholics from diverse ethnic communities. It is the oldest religious procession in Los Angeles.

  • Colorful Celebration

    The colorful procession is part religious ceremony, part celebration of Mexico's rich indigenous history.


Filed by Cristina Costantini  |