By Chris Stone and Ken Stone
Updated at 11:35 p.m. April 18, 2017
Hugo Castro, the migrant-rights activist whose disappearance in Mexico five days ago captured world attention, was with his partner Tuesday afternoon, says the founder of the immigrant rights group Border Angels.[contextly_sidebar id=”lEpLEqxBDlrgKiK317C0y7T8XvYyKZdC”]Enrique Morones, the founder, said Castro was in Mexico City being checked out medically. He was with Gabriela “Gaba” Cortés.
A big party will be held when he returns, Morones told Times of San Diego.
Late Tuesday night, Cortés posted to Facebook: “El estado de salud de Hugo Castro es delicado, se encuentra hospitalizado, el pronóstico médico es reservado.” (The state of health of Hugo Castro is delicate, [he] is hospitalized; the medical prognosis is guarded.)
Asked when U.S. citizen Castro and Cortés would arrive back to Tijuana — where they live — Morones said he wasn’t sure, but “hopefully soon.”
Cortés met at 8 a.m. Tuesday with officials at the Mexican Attorney General’s Office in Mexico City and was told that Castro had been found alive.
Details about his location at the time he was found is unknown at this point, but more information will be sent out soon, Morones said.
In the afternoon, Mexico’s attorney general office said in a press release, “He was found on a street called Avenida San Rafael in Tlalnepantla de Baz, a city in the State of Mexico, after the office of the special prosecutor for disappeared persons received an anonymous phone call describing his location.”
Castro was “stable” after receiving medical attention for wounds tied to an apparent kidnapping,the statement said.
Said Morones: “We’re just excited that he is alive. We were so worried, not sleeping, contacting the whole world, and the whole world contacting us.
“I was getting calls from Germany, Spain, from South America, Central America, all of Mexico, all of the U.S. Everyone was very concerned.”
Castro was first reported alive in a Facebook note about 1 p.m. Tuesday by Cortés, posting from Tlalnepantla, Mexico.
The Mexican paper La Jornada said Castro was found in Tlalnepantla, “suffering multiple blows that kept him in a delicate state of health.”
Wilner Metelus, president of the Citizens’ Committee in Defense of the Naturalized and Afro-Mexicans, told the paper Castro was hospitalized at the Tlalnepantla Red Cross but that his colleagues and friends would try to take him to another site.
Metelus said a press conference at noon Wednesday would explain the “details of the aggression against the social fighter.”
Angie A. Velásquez, Castro’s sister, posted a message on her Facebook page this week that said, “In a country of missing persons, Hugo Castro, you will not be one more number, you will not be a statistic. We will find you.”
Castro, a high-profile volunteer with Border Angels, had not been heard from since about 5:30 p.m. Thursday, when he found himself stranded on the side of a highway to Puebla in a crime-ridden area.
He used his smart phone to air a chilling 20-minute video on Facebook Live. It shows Castro on a busy highway, appealing for someone to pick him up.
“Castro mentioned that he was attacked by a group of ‘criminals’ and had to get out of a bus and sneak down the road,” said Agencia Fronteriza de Noticias.
Cortés reported on Facebook she has not heard anything from him and asked the authorities and partners to help him find him.
On Friday night, she posted a video and said: “These are difficult times for everyone. We ask for respect and high to speculation and misinformation Hugo Castro is still missing and we don’t have any substantiated information. We ask you stay tuned for the announcements of the family.”
Media reports said Castro left April 9 from his home in Tijuana, bound for Tapachula, Chiapas, where he would meet up with the caravan of the “Viacrucis del Migrante” on their way to that area near the Guatemalan border.
El Periodico reported that a hundred undocumented immigrants, mostly from Central America, were traveling north by foot and vehicle “to denounce the violence they suffer on their route to the United States and demand a dignified treatment of the authorities.”
Organizer Cristóbal Sánchez, a human rights defender of the Migrant Culture Movement, told the paper: “It is Holy Week and we try to emulate the Passion of Christ, the suffering that he had when he was crucified, and thus to make visible violence, abuses, human rights violations, kidnappings and police repression.”
Castro, 45, is a volunteer coordinator for Border Angels’ SOS Migrant program and takes food to 32 shelters north of the border.
SOS Migrants responds to emergency calls for help and reaches about 5,000 immigrants, including 3,500 Haitians in 32 shelters south of the border. Also helped are Central Americans fleeing violence at home and those deported from the United States.
The San Diego State graduate makes several trips a week to shelters housing migrants from Central America and Haiti.
Founded by Morones in 1986, Border Angels is an all-volunteer nonprofit advocating for human rights, humane immigration reform and social justice with a focus on U.S.-Mexican border issues.
Social media was flooded with relief and gratitude.
— Brooke Binkowski (@brooklynmarie) April 18, 2017
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