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Napoleón Gómez Urrutia Napoleón Gómez Urrutia

Exiled mine union leader back on Interpol wanted list

A hero to some, a crook to others, miners union leader Napoleón Gómez Urrutia is back on the Interpol red alert list, being wanted in Mexico for defrauding 20,000 miners of US $55 million.

Gómez is now a resident of Vancouver, Canada, where’s been since 2006, having fled Mexico and criminal charges. But he continues to serve as president of the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers.

Last Thursday the attorney general’s office confirmed that Interpol had accepted Mexico’s request to consider Gómez as an international fugitive. But it’s a long process said a spokesman for the attorney general.

“. . . we have to wait for a judge in Canada . . . to issue a provisional arrest warrant, then arrest him and submit a request for extradition to Mexico.”

Gómez was on the red alert list before, but was taken off by Interpol in April last year following its own investigation.

Meanwhile, a rival miners union is hailing the Interpol action as an act of justice for the more than 20,000 defrauded miners. Carlos Pavón of the National Mining and Metallurgical Union described it as “a step forward for Mexican justice and proof that no one is above our laws.”

Pavón also said he hopes that the eventual imprisonment of Gómez will end the strikes in Cananea, Sombrere and Taxco.

But Gómez lawyer thinks it unlikely he will be arrested. Marco Antonio del Toro, who is also legal counsel to former teachers’ union leader Elba Esther Gordillo, who is now in jail, said attempts at extradition have failed till now for lack of evidence.

Many labor organizations around the world claim that Gómez is being unfairly persecuted for political reasons. Gómez himself has written a book about his case, Collapse of Dignity, which was published last year.

Source: El Economista (sp)

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