Our friend, Juan Alberto, has been assaulted at knife or gunpoint at least 17 times. He was an easy target because of his severe hemophilia, because it meant he couldn’t run when local gangs in Guatemala City began to target him 3 years ago. Each time he lost his phone (if he had one), wallet, and what little he had on him. He reported the assaults to the police, but they could not help him and simply suggested he walk another route next time. He changed his route often, but couldn't escape. During one of the more recent assaults, the gang members managed to stab him in the chest (a VERY serious injury for a hemophiliac). He was hospitalized. With time, he recovered, but he was suffering from frequent nightmares, chronic pain, and constant fear of being attacked. He didn’t leave his house unless it was absolutely necessary.
Juan had been working for the Guatemalan Association of hemophilia for 10 years as their administrative secretary. When they had to stop paying him in early May of this year due to economic hardships, he struggled to make ends meet with the medical bills, and a near constant need to purchase another phone or wallet after each gang assault. He loves his country and had no desire to leave. He couldn’t go elsewhere due to the lack of hemophilia health care. He was desperate and felt he had no choice but to come to the United States and seek asylum. He has now been in a detention center for over 3 months. His bail was recently set at $17,000 (an astronomical, but common bail amount). If he can’t pay, he will either be deported and likely be killed by a gang, or remain in detention for the duration of his asylum process, which can take years. However, his medical condition can’t be treated in a detention center. It is imperative that he be released to his U.S. sponsor–who is ready and willing to support him.
We know he is one of so many thousands of people seeking asylum right now. However, we want to help him specifically because we know and trust him. We have worked with him. We know of his intentions, work ethic and integrity. Most importantly, we feel he has been targeted for his medical condition, hemophilia. He deserves a fighting chance. Help him fight with whatever (tax-deductible) donation you can spare. Thank you.