Monday, March 10, 2008

International Incompetence

I hope by now you know who this woman is. If you don't, in part, you can thank your current government for not having brought her to your attention. That is because their attention doesn't seem focused in her direction. The media are finally doing a better job at getting her story out there, but the incompetence that the Con's have shown on this file is astonishing.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Brenda Martin has been in a Mexican prison for over 2 years. Her crime? She hasn't committed one, but if you had to ascribe one to her, it would be that she was not equipped to navigate a corrupt justice system.

Martin, 51, has been imprisoned in Guadalajara since February 2006, charged with money laundering and being part of a criminal conspiracy. She had been living in Puerto Vallarta for several years before she was hired in 2000 as a chef and house manager by former Edmontonian Alyn Waage.

Martin's Toronto lawyer, Guillermo Cruz Rico, said a review of the legal file showed consulate officials were notified of Martin's incarceration on Feb. 18, 2006, but it was not until Dec. 14, 2007, that a representative made official inquiries to the Mexican court about her legal status.

Can you imagine being in a prison, in Mexico for 22 months without Canadian officials taking up your case? It should be unbelievable but the incompetence that this government has shown on Foreign Affairs matters, sadly makes it quite credible.

This isn't the first time I've written about Brenda Martin. The government has an option to send a formal Note of Protest, but they seem to be resisting that. The situation has been bad from the beginning, but it's become much worse over the weekend when Brenda Martin was hospitalised and is now under a 24hr. suicide watch. She's lost all hope because a judge ruled against her last appeal which outlined how she has not been afforded due process.

More info here and here.

She is just one person of course who is languishing in a foreign jail. Two others who have been in recent news are Huseyin Celil, and Saul Itzhayek. Then of course we have the ridiculous situation where we recognise the Death Penalty in the US re' the Ronald Smith , while advocating against it and expecting to be effective in negotiating on behalf of Mohamed Kohail.

Since this government took power, they have made a real mess of all things related to Foreign Affairs. Beginning with the war in Lebanon, insulting China, Ambrose on the environment in Nairobi, not attending the International AIDS conference, Harper and his position on the Environment at the G-8, Baird in Bali and of course now the NAFTA mess.

Please write your MP and copy Foreign Affairs on behalf of Brenda Martin.

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