Mr. Ward Hindson is a profoundly ignorant man. And because of his ignorance, a family is being torn apart.
Jose Figueroa and his spouse left El Salvador for Canada in 1997, claimed refugee status settled down in Vancouver. They had three children, one of whom is autistic. In 2000, his claim before the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) was unsuccessful; he and his spouse then asked to be accepted on humanitarian grounds, and the processing of their application began in 2004.
Six years later, on the recommendation of the Canadian Border Services Agency's Ward Hindson, he is about to be deported to El Salvador.
It seems that Figueroa was a member of the Farabundo Martí Liberation Front in the early '90s. "Aha," said Hindson. "Terrorist!"
The FMLN forms the current government of El Salvador. It had been one side of a civil war in that country, pitting peasants against government death squads. Pleasant fellows like "Blowtorch Bob" d'Aubisson were ruling the roost back then. Archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated by his paramilitaries; nuns were raped and murdered by government soldiers.
In 1992, after twelve years of this, a peace accord was reached and the warring parties chose to engage in elections instead.
Here's a little potted history for the likes of Ward Hindson. It would have taken him 10 seconds or so to Google it for himself:
After the ceasefire established by the 1992 Chapultepec Peace Accords, the FMLN became a legal political party. The FMLN has now participated in elections in 1994, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2009. The 1994, 1999, 2004, and 2009 elections were for the Presidency. The 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2009 elections were for Legislative Assembly seats and mayor and municipal council positions.
Note the dates. In the early '90s, when Figueroa's involvement in the FMLN constituted "terrorism" according to Hindson, the FMLN was already taking part in democratic elections. Indeed, an IRB member in the original refugee case in 2000 wrote that "The FMLN is a recognized, legitimate political party."
Perhaps the IRB members who, more recently, uncritically accepted Hindson's bone-headed assessment is even more to blame here. That agency, stuffed with patronage appointments, has made some staggeringly awful decisions recently, including the acceptance of a claim from a white South African that he was persecuted in SA because of his race, and ordering the deportation to Burma of a young military deserter who would have faced certain death.
This must be overturned--and Hindson, not to mention the IRB members involved, should be ordered to take a remedial course in modern Latin American history.
FURTHER: Decision link in this story. The part-time IRB official is one Otto Nupponen. In 2007 he appalled observers by releasing another El Salvadoran into the community--a gangster with up to sixty arrests who admitted murdering four people.