Update: 10:30PM Thursday June 10th: It turns out that Andrea, the daughter of Karol Cabrera was not in danger, but had wandered outside the airport of El Salvador for some "personal time" during the layover because she did not feel well. Apparently she was able to sneak past Salvadoran authorities and walk the streets of the surrounding city. After about 24 hours of panic in four countries and the involvement of Interpol and the international press, Andrea walked back into the airport unharmed and was reunited with her mother. All members of the Cabrera family are now safely in Canada where they will be living under political asylum.
While the situation seems unbelievably anti-climactic, the concern over Andrea's well-being was well justified. Ms. Cabrera has already lost a daughter to violence, and was literally in the process of fleeing Honduras in order to save her life and the lives of her family.
Finally, a happy ending for this tumultuous story. Though it does prove that the self-absorption of teenagers can often manifest itself during the most complicated, and in this case, the most inappropriate of times.
Good luck to the Cabrera family with their new lives in Canada. We hope that the nightmare is now over.
Karol Cabrera , a Honduran journalist who survived an assassination attempt in her home country, was recently awarded political asylum in Canada and was traveling with her family to start a new life.
However, Cabrera's nightmarish experience is far from over. According to Mega News Nocturno, on Spanish language station Mega TV, during a lay over in El Salvador, her 14 year old daughter, Andrea, asked to use the bathroom in the airport, and never returned in time to join the flight to it's final destination in Toronto. It is suspected that the young girl has been kidnapped.
This development is the latest in a string of tragedies that have plagued the Latin American reporter. This year, assassins attempted to kill Cabrera, shooting her dozens of times while she was speaking on a live radio program. Just months before that shooting, Karol's oldest daughter, pregnant at the time, was murdered in the street in an attempt to punish Cabrera for her support of then Honduran President Roberto Micheletti, who gained power after the removal of leftest President Manuel Zelaya.
Since the assassination attempt, Cabrera had been in a government hospital in Tegucigalpa, recuperating from her wounds, but also for protection, as she had received numerous threats on her life were she to ever leave the hospital.
During this time, there has been a movement to get Cabrera political asylum in North America. Fernando Del Rincon, anchor of Mega News Nocturno, Mega TV's nighttime news program, has spearheaded this effort and had connected Cabrera with various lawyers and human rights activists to help her case. After seeing Karol's Cabrera story (which has not gotten any airtime in the mainstream media outlets), Canadian Lawyer Angelica Gonzalez took on her case pro-bono and was able to get her and her family asylum in Canada.
At this time, Karol Cabrera is still in El Salvador as they search for her daughter. While some have speculated the daughter had possibly run away so as not to go to Canada, most believe she was very excited to leave the dangers of Honduras behind and start a new life in Toronto.
This horrible situation is all the more tragic because this flight was supposed to bring Karol Cabrera and her family to freedom. Questions arise as to how a 14 year girl can disappear from the airport in El Salvador without a trace during a simple lay over. We now have three countries involved in this situation and a potential international incident. Interpol has already been asked to investigate.
The other question is why the US didn't play a more active role in getting her asylum here, having known her situation, and after agencies like the Committee to Protect Journalists had being contacted numerous times. The process in the US was said to be slow and bureaucratic, compared to the Canadian process which took a matter of a few months.
As I stated in my previous post on this topic, the story of Karol Cabrera illustrates the dangers journalists are facing every day outside the U.S. More must be done to protect journalists and their families. The international community needs to get more involved in this particular situation immediately. US and international media outlets must take on this story and shine a light to what's going on in places like Honduras. It is obvious that there are agents who will stop at nothing to destroy this journalist and her family, even as I write this. Real lives are depending on the world breaking its silence. The world must pressure Honduras, and other countries, to protect their journalists and protect freedoms of the press.