Sunday, September 18, 2011

As the Frijole Turns .....

Lots of queries are coming in thus I thought it best to update the blog.  Most who know Alexander don't believe that he could be guilty as charged (by the media anyway).  I am troubled by my "gut instincts" having failed me, or is it not as it seems?  The stories abound.  I look at the mug shot of Alex on the internet and just cannot get my head around the fact that this fellow who has done many kind things for me in the past, often keeping me out of danger is where is he. Perfect, no. Devious, yes but I don't believe he is a hardened criminal.  It all makes one try to get inside the mind of someone who has had to struggle to survive every single day of their lives.  Might we be any different in the same circumstances?

Today I went to "Family Day" with Estela and kids at the new Antigua International School.  They have agreed to take Astrid and Denis which will be a game changer for them.  I have spoken to the director and he knows the whole ugly story and doesn't care.  This is the fourth such school that he has been involved in in four different countries.  He and Denis have already made a connection.  The teachers are an interesting group of dedicated American teachers who travel the world and work in such schools.  Many like Jim, the director, have lived and worked in a number of countries and speak multiple languages.

While the kids were playing soccer with their new school mates Estela told me that Alexander's sister had come to the house yesterday.  She had been to the jail to see Alex and reports that he is very, very upset and asking to see his children.  It was news to me that he had family as he had always told me that he was "solito."  Marielos, the mother of his two youngest children, told me last week that his father has driven a chicken bus for 25 years, that he has two brothers and two sisters and some half siblings.  Despite his tales of being "solito" his family has come forward and are doing what they can to help.  His sister reports that his attorney (government appointed) says that he is being named as an "accomplice" in the most recent caper which resulted in his arrest.   He has no previous criminal record and he is apparently not being named as being involved in any previous "delitos" of the three brothers also arrested. He is also being held in a different part of the jail from the three bad brothers which may or may not be significant.

Marielos told me that Alex had called her the day of the arrest saying that he was leaving San Antonio Aguas Calientes (where Estela and her children live) and that he would be at Marielos's place in about 15 minutes.  He never arrived and later that evening she saw him being arrested on television. When arrested the three brothers were in Alex's car which he reported as having been stolen last month.  I recognize that car as Alex's from the photos on the internet.  In the car with the bad brothers was the woman they had kidnapped the day before and a pistol (no ammunition).  Alex was alone in another car with two cell phones, one of them an old Blackberry that I had given him in May thinking he would sell it.  One or the other of Alex's phones holds the evidence that he had made calls negotiating the ransom for the woman in the other car.  Those of us who have known Alex for a number of years feel certain that he would be far more likely to be involved in negotiating for money than in rape.  That simply does not compute for a guy who has been so protective of his children.  Or does it?

I am sure, that in time, justice such as it is in Guatemala, will be done.  Clearly Alex got mixed up with a very bad lot, probably (likely) he borrowed some money from these guys who had money from their previous bad deeds.  Alex was never very interested in re-paying debts which is why I cut him off.  "Borrow" does not have the same meaning to Guatemalans as it does to gringos.  But, in this country if you borrow from the wrong people and don't pay it back you can be in big trouble, even dead.  Perhaps he was told that he could have his car back if he made the ransom calls.  While he has a gentle, kind side to him Alex also has a serious credibility issue thus it is very hard to know what to think.

Alex's sister reports that he is a very changed person and that she feels that he has finally learned a very hard lesson.  His family has given him Q1000 ($130) which allows him to pay the "boss" to sleep on a cot with a blanket.  Previously he was sleeping on the concrete floor without a blanket.  Denis has decided that he wants to see his father so his aunt is going to take him next Saturday.  Apparently one is encouraged to send food or they often don't eat.  I haven't spent much time in jails anywhere but can imagine that the Guatemalan ones are pretty grim.  I thought I might send some photos of all the kids with Denis and perhaps some good old peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which offer a bit of nutrition and a long shelf life.   Funny where this life leads us.

So, Friday I bought a car totally in Spanish, Saturday I bought a toilet all in Spanish and today I rode the chicken bus to and from "Family Day" which was a couple of miles outside of Antigua. Tuesday I hope to talk some sense into the Montessori School that suspended Christopher and Michelle.  I saw them a couple of days ago and even at 3 and 4 they are very eager to go back to school and they recited the names of all their teachers for me.  I may have to offer to sit out front armed with a pepper spray until they come to realize that none of the bad guys even know where Alex's kids are or even that he has any.  I am certain he probably has a few more that even I do not know about and that is OK as I am up to my ears in tuition payments as it is.  If I can just get these five educated I will feel that I have done my part.  Stay tuned!

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