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Apr 20, 2018

Belizean Fisherman Iginio Canto Bacab Remains in Custody in Livingston

Iginio Canto Bacab

As of news time, Belizean fisherman Iginio Canto Bacab of Caledonia, Corozal District, remains in custody in Livingston, Guatemala, charged with illegal capture of lobster. His hearing is set for Monday. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Canto along with Alejandro Rodriguez Ortega, a Guatemalan who was born in Belize, and Julio Rodríguez Blanco, a full-fledged Guatemalan, were picked up by Guatemalan military personnel near Livingston, in Guatemalan waters. Also found and confiscated were a large amount of lobster in coolers. The lobster season is now closed. This afternoon, senior ambassador Said Badi Guerra gave us an update on the case.

 

On the Phone: Ambassador Said Badi Guerra, Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“It’s Mister Iginio Canto, originally from Corozal as he told me; I made my way directly to Livingston under the instructions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to make sure that his rights weren’t violated. I must add that the Guatemalan authorities were very helpful; they went out of their way to make sure that I got to see Mister Iginio and to talk him, to interview him a bit and see how he was doing and if he had any problems with the authorities; he said no, he didn’t have any problems. And that I could find out that he was really a Belizean-born. There were two others; I know that the Guatemalan news was saying that there were three Belizeans – it was only one Belizean, not all three. Two of them are Guatemalans. One of them is born Belizean indeed, but he has been living in Guatemala for many, many years; his kids are already adults, and the documents that he handed over to police are Guatemalan documents, so obviously, as you know, I cannot go there and assist a Guatemalan; it’s a Belizean I have to assist. So it’s only one Belizean, Mister Higinio Canto, who at this moment is at the correctional [facility] because they are waiting for the hearing to take place. The hearing was supposed to take place today, but they have moved it to Monday, because the judge has a long list. What we have done is we have established communication with the family here in Belize, Mister Higinio gave me a number and I immediately sent it to Miss Ayesha [Borland] here in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and she made contact with them, so we have been back and forth. I have identified an attorney in Puerto Barrios who will be taking the case. And so we are hoping that he is going to be fined and then released.”

 

Guerra confirmed that at the time of his capture, Canto only had his Belizean fishing license and Social Security card. It is not yet clear how he and the others managed to drift into Guatemalan waters or exactly what they were doing there in the first place.

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