San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
El Salvador

US to deport ex-Salvadoran minister over rights violations

WASHINGTON D.C. — The U.S. upheld this week the deportation order of a former Salvadoran defense minister accused of grave human rights violations, including torture and extrajudicial killings, during the Central American country’s civil war.

Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova, 78, was defense minister during the 1980-1992 war pitting a U.S.-backed government against leftist rebels, which left some 75,000 dead and another 7,000 missing.

As chief of the Civil Guard and later defense minister, Vides Casanova “participated” in acts of torture and extrajudicial executions by preventing, either by omission or commission, defendants from being taken to trial, the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals said.

His deportation had been ordered in 2012 but he lodged an appeal against it, arguing that he couldn’t prevent his subordinates from carrying out torture and extrajudicial killings when we has head of the Civil Guard.

That appeal was dismissed on Wednesday by the board, which is the top U.S. immigration authority.

Vides Casanova became head of the National Guard in 1979, and was promoted to defense minister in 1983.

He arrived in the U.S. in 1989 on an immigrant visa, but 20 years later the U.S. government began deportation proceedings over his alleged role in human rights crimes in El Salvador.

Read the Board of Immigration Appeals’ ruling here

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