Mexico: persecuted gay teacher wins asylum in US

The Mexican daily La Jornada reported on Sept. 6 that the US had granted political asylum to Mexican teacher Agustín Estrada Negrete, who claimed he had suffered persecution and torture from officials of México state because of his homosexuality. Estrada was removed from his post as a school principal after he had appeared in women’s clothes at a festival against homophobia in May 2007. Following a march demanding his reinstatement in 2009, México state police arrested Estrada in Toluca and took him to the La Palma prison, where he said he was beaten and gang-raped. He arrived in San Diego in September 2010 in a wheelchair to seek asylum.

Jaime López Vela, the president of the sexual diversity collective Agenda LGBT, told La Jornada that the grant of asylum to Estrada “shows that the human rights violations he reported have been fully proven.” “Throughout the process we always demanded that his labor rights be restored, but there were only rejections by the México state authorities, based on homophobia, since they said that as long as he continued with his ‘homosexual attitudes,’ he wouldn’t go back to work.” The state’s governor during the period was Enrique Peña Nieto, the official winner of this year’s July 1 presidential election; his inauguration takes place in December.

In addition to his US asylum bid, Estrada filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR, or CIDH in Spanish), which issued a precautionary measure, number MC 222/09, in April 2010 calling on México state to protect the lives and physical integrity of Estrada and his family. According to CIDH spokesperson María Isabel Rivero, the measure is still active, since Estrada’s mother and sister remain in Mexico. (La Jornada, Sept. 6; Los Angeles Press, Sept. 6)

In an interview with the Spanish-language website Los Angeles Press in April 2012, Estrada claimed that he and Peña Nieto were secretly lovers for seven years and implied that the president-elect had persecuted him in an effort to conceal the affair. (Los Angeles Press, April 25)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 9.