What Did Castro Do to Ire the US?

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Updated: July 24, 2017

On May 30, Minister Edmund Castro, announced that he had received a communication from the US Embassy here in Belize informing him that his US tourist and diplomatic visa had been revoked.  Back then Castro said he received no specific reason why his visas were revoked and he has no intention of travelling to the United States of America anytime soon. An official reason as to why his visas were revoked was not given to the media. In an interview with the US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires, Adrienne Galanek , she referred reporters to section two-twenty-one of the Immigration and Nationalities Act. In an interview with Belize’s Foreign Minister, Wilfred Elrington, he opined that the revocation of Castro’s visas can be interrupted as the US not being happy with something that Castro has done.

WILFRED ELRINGTON

The United States has different mechanisms whereby it exerts pressure on different individuals and on nations, sanctions, revocation of visas, prevention of people coming in for one reason or the other; this is standard fare and they do it all the time in the Caribbean, if they have to reason to believe that they don’t find a government official they are not desirous of having that person visit their country they revoke the visa. It’s something that they do all the time. As I am saying this is the Modus Operandi of the United States, very recently Canada prevented all people from St .Kitts to be able to go to Canada at one point they used to go visa free; for some reason the Canadians decided to not to allow them to go without a visa so these are things that are changing the governments take one position or the other. Clearly it is a signal from them that they are not happy with something in relation to Mr. Castro but it’s not a matter that we deal with.”

LOCAL REPORTER

But if that is the case you would think it would only be his tourist visa that was revoked.”

WILFRED ELRINGTON

Well it depends on the kind of message they want to send.”

LOCAL REPORTER

So you don’t consider it an indictment on the government itself?”

WILFRED ELRINGTON

You can’t indict the government for something done by one person in the government, the government is a whole host of people.”

Minister Castro has been accused of many things especially from Alvarine Burgess. Burgess first appeared on TV accusing Castro of taking monies from her in return for visa recommendations. He filed a lawsuit against her but later dropped the case. Burgess reappeared when she was called in to testify by the Senate Select Committee. During her testimony, Burgess stated that when she was called in to the US Embassy she was presented with audio recordings. Minister Elrington spoke on the matter.

WILFRED ELRINGTON

The kind of real corruption that goes on in other countries make what is going on in the Senate Hearing look like child’s play; that is not to say that I am condoning improper behavior but it is not something that has gripped the rest of the world as it seems to have gripped certain segments of the Belizean population.”

LOCAL REPORTER

Did it past local barriers though when it was declared by Ms. Alvarine Burgess one of the witnesses that the US embassy some of their officials had played back recordings of a call that she had engaged in with someone else it means that the US embassy would be recording Belizean citizen.”

WILFRED ELRINGTON

Well you listen to what is happening between the United States and Russia in terms it seems as if the Secret Service Records everybody, everybody who is suspect they have recordings of their discussions and they debate on it so it would not surprise me that they do that in Belize. People of interest to them record your information.”

LOCAL REPORTER

Invasion of privacy?”

WILFRED ELRINGTON

I don’t know if you call it invasion of privacy but it is done routinely and internationally. It’s a practice that is why you have ambassadors stationed in foreign countries, so that they can get information.”

LOCAL REPORTER

But you’re saying that it might have been done in Belize which would mean.”

WILFRED ELRINGTON

They may be doing it right now, that is the role of the ….”

LOCAL REPORTER

Yeah but you make it seem that the government is supporting this.”

WILFRED ELRINGTON

They don’t ask us permission. They are sending their ambassadors and they want to meet with the press and Derek Aikman and the new party that it is formed, why do you think they want to meet with them for ? They want to get information which they regard is important to their nation. So that is nothing outside of the norm, it’s very natural and normal and people who are not doing anything wrong should have no fear.”

The Senate hearing resumes on Wednesday.