HELP FREE AMERICAN CITIZEN DETAINED ON FALSE CHARGES IN EL SALVADOR
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March 2017— Long Island, NY. On December 19th, 2016 an American community leader and activist, Rafael Flores, was detained in direct relation to his outspoken criticism for political corruption and drug trafficking in El Salvador. His stance on these issues made him a rival to the political leaders connected to organized crime in El Salvador. He was intentionally targeted because of his controversial conversations on his TV show, “Rafael Flores On The Record” aired live through tribunatv.us, where he explicitly named individuals responsible for perpetuating corruption, money laundering and the abuse of government funds from the U.S. without supervision.
Rafael Flores was born in El Salvador on April 28, 1971. He moved to the United States in 1984, where he attended the Roosevelt High School in New York before attending Hofstra University. He held various jobs during that time, beginning with working in a family owned Bodega. In 1997, he married the former, Melvi Calderon, a successful hair stylist. He and Melvi then raised Rafael, 26 Jennifer, 24, Stephanie, 21 and Alejandro, 12. While raising his children, Rafael and his brother, Gilberto Flores were partners of Golden Empire Realty Co., located in East Meadow, NY.
Rafael has been recognized for his efforts by various elected officials and government agencies, including local Villages, the Town of Hempstead, Nassau County, Senators, U.S. Representatives as well as the Government of El Salvador. In 2010, Rafael founded The American Salvadorian Association of Long Island (ASALI), which is an organization that shares informational resources to Hispanics, aiding them with a variety of issues, including immigration and entrepreneurship empowerment.
Rafael’s passions in life are battling corruption, making government more efficient for its residents and serving others. Every occupational decision bears this as its goal. He has proven his dedication to serving others by working with organizations, such as Disaster Relief Command Services, Friends of Good Health, Toys for Tots, local Chambers of Commerce and many more civic groups. Recently, Rafael partnered with Friends of Good Health and was able to get pro-bono medical services provided to the most marginalized areas of El Salvador on several occasions. In one instance, 20 children were able to have their cleft lips repaired. On the same trip wheel chairs, computers and food baskets were donated to those in need.
Rafael has been able to direct numerous donations to benefit local communities in the United States as well as in El Salvador. Recently on behalf of FUSA, he channeled a donation of more than 600 bulletproof vests to the National Civil Police with the support of the Department of State and the Nassau County Police Department. The goal being to ensure that the National Police of El Salvador received the vests to protect El Salvador’s national law enforcement from gang violence.
In late December 2016, Rafael traveled to El Salvador seeking sponsorship for an event to be held in Nassau County on February 9, 2017. While in El Salvador, Rafael was detained by officers on false allegations of extortion. Rafael is innocent. We are certain that the fabricated, malicious allegations against him are in retaliation for his criticisms of corrupt politicians and members of organized crime in El Salvador. They have plotted against him to shut him up permanently and make an example out of him.
Rafael recently began hosting meetings with U.S. Representatives to advocate the suspension of U.S. funding to El Salvador. The funding was falling into the hands of unscrupulous individuals without U.S. Supervision.
Rafael’s criticisms are found on the Internet, his Facebook page and on his program, “Rafael Flores On The Record.” Rafael publicly mentioned specific people and their involvement in drug trafficking. He also interviewed ex-DEA agent, Danny Dalton, who is aware of particular individuals participating in organized crime.
The Salvadorian criminal justice system has no regard for Rafael’s American citizenship or human rights. The court has not accepted evidence from the defense team nor does it intend to. Until just recently, he was denied access to make phone calls to his family members. His family resides here in the US and is often unaware of his whereabouts, wellbeing and safety. They were also prohibiting Rafael’s family from depositing money for his basic needs, such as clothing or a mattress to sleep on. He is currently sleeping on the floor.
At Rafael’s first court date, the court claimed it had no available transportation for him. Thus, the court waived his absolute right to appear in front of a judge. An appeal was requested shortly after and was quickly denied. On February 1st, Rafael was secretly moved from his holding cell into a notorious prison, nicknamed Mariona. His attorneys were not warned of the move until after it had already happened. This sort of behavior from the Salvadorian government is consistent and will continue. We are pleading for our U.S. leaders to intercede and help free our exemplary father, husband, brother, fellow American and a friend to all, Rafael Flores.
Please sign this petition to let our government know that we need their help. Please help get Rafael Flores back home.
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