By Sophie Lavoie
Day six involved quite a few hours of travel from El Estor, up through Río Dulce (the portal from Lake Izabal to the Carribean), and back down to Antigua. Luckily, our travel day was interrupted by a visit to Lucy Granados, a woman who was deported back to Guatemala by the Canadian government just a few weeks ago.
Photo credit: Juan Carlos Martinez
Lucy, her mother and children welcomed us into their home for some refreshing horchata (a sweet rice-based drink) and tostadas. There, Lucy shared some details of her violent arrest in Canada, a country where she has lived and worked, undocumented, for 9 years.
Lucy fled Guatemala after her husband’s murder and settled in Canada. In Montreal, Lucy had become a great activist for the rights of undocumented and migrant workers and, especially, women. In early April, Lucy’s detention and the threat of deportation sparked Canada-wide support for her, under the slogan « Let Lucy Stay! »
Despite this movement, Lucy was deported to Guatemala. She described that a hole was cut out of the chain link fence around the detention facility in order to bypass a protest by her supporters. She was put on a plane and not even given her medication to take with her. Her belongings only arrived weeks later in cardboard boxes.
Lucy’s injuries, sustained during the detention, are still very painful and she has been trying to get a diagnosis, which has been very expensive. Her mother confirmed Lucy also still had nightmares about her sudden and violent detention and deportation.
We were all moved by Lucy’s emotional words. Lucy’s return is bittersweet, as her mother explained; she is happy to have her daughter there but saddened by her physical and psychological state. While she was in Canada, Lucy’s remittances supported her children’s education and wellbeing, so the family is in dire straits and Lucy’s daughter has talked about leaving school.
As the group bid an emotional farewell to Lucy, she admitted to being very pleased for the visit which gave her a spark of hope, an opportunity to share, and showed that she was not completely abandoned by all Canadians.