Gabriela Gonzalez, Ontario’s premier assistant, at the solidarity event for Oscar Vigil
Opening remarks by Michele Millard
Gabriela Gonzalez with Juan Carranza and Oscar Vigil
Tanyu Band on stage
Enjoying good Latin American food
Chilean artist, painter and singer Luis Ramirez
Colombian poet and musician Andres Sucerkia
NDP MP for Davenport Andrew Cash
Over a hundred community activists, political leaders, artists and the public of many Latin American countries and Canada, joined together at the solidarity night
Robert Graham and Caitlin Holland
The Salvadoran Ambassador in Canada Oscar Mauricio Duarte, and MP Andrew Cash
Julia Huys explains the legal process, on behalf of Lorne Waldman
Vilma Filici reads a support letter from Toronto Councillor Joe Mihevc
Alejandra Bravo, Community leader and Ward 17 candidate
Duberlis Ramos, from the Hispanic Development Council
Dominican Republican poet Jose Toribio
Loly Rico and Francisco Rico, co-directors of the FCJ Refugee Centre, sold tickets for a surprise raffle
By Gilberto Rogel
Toronto.- Over a hundred community activists, political leaders, artists and the public of many Latin American countries and Canada, joined together this Saturday June 7 at a solidarity night to express their full support to the cause of the Salvadoran journalist Oscar Vigil, who is fighting, perhaps, the strongest and most complicated personal battle to stay in Canada and show the Federal Government its error in declaring him an inadmissible person living in the country.
“I am here to support the cause of Oscar. We need to let our authorities (Immigration) know that it is not possible that a hardworking man and father like Oscar can be treated as a terrorist. The authorities should not believe he was doing anything other than his job, because I am one who believes that the family must stay together if we want a better society,” said Jose Toribio, poet and activist member of the Dominican Republican community, who, with over 20 years living in Canada, cannot understand the decision of the Immigration authorities.
Together with Jose Toribio, many well-known politicians also showed up to confirm their commitment to the cause. Andrew Cash, Member of the Parliament for the New Democratic Party (NDP) representing the riding of Davenport (Toronto), was one of the first to arrive at Mingles Lounge, the place of celebration.
Oscar, his spouse Carolina, and their three children came to Canada in 2001. They have been here ever since.
Oscar was found to be inadmissible under Section 34(1)(f) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). This section states that a person is inadmissible to Canada if s/he has ever been a member of an organization that has engaged in terrorism.
Oscar was a member of the FMLN which is currently the democratically elected government of El Salvador. Much like Nelson Mandella’s ANC in South Africa, the FMLN was an armed opposition prior to the Peace Accord in El Salvador. Although Oscar himself has never participated in any violent activities of any sort, the Canadian government says that Oscar was a member of a group that once engaged in terrorism.
As a result, the Canadian government denied Oscar his right to a refugee hearing. This led to the three separate legal applications that are described below.