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WALNUT GROVE, BC - Salvadoran Canadian José Figueroa is at home in Langley, British Columbia for the first time in two years.
Canadian Border Services finally dropped its demand that the refugee return to El Salvador because he once belonged to the Farabundo Marti Liberation Front (FMLN) in the fight against a vicious US-backed military regime. Figueroa took sanctuary in the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church when his deportation seemed imminent. He had been fighting the demand that he return to El Salvador for nearly 20 years.
José and his lawyer say negotiations to drop the persecution of the father of three started to take a turn for the better following the October federal election.
Friends, family and the members of the church were all on hand today to watch José take a step outside in an emotional and uplifting ceremony. He told assembled supporters that his first act of freedom would be to visit US army war resister Rodney Watson, who has been in sanctuary at First United Church in the Downtown Eastside for six years.
PS: It was Jose's birthday today.