Mexican authorities say Guatemala businessman Roberto Barreda de León accused of murdering his wife Cristina Siekavizza, escaped from Guatemala to Mexico using a Belize passport, according to articles in Mexico’s Diario de Yucatan and Guatemala’s Prensa Libre today.
Citing government sources in Mexico and Guatemala, the newspapers say it is believed that Barreda de León procured a Belize passport and then entered Mexico from Belize in January 2012 from the eastern Guatemalan department of El Peten that borders Belize and Mexico. The businessman and his children first lived in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Tabasco, before settling in Merida, Yucatan according to the Diario de Yucatan.
Barreda de Leon is the main suspect in the disappearance of his wife 33 year old Cristina Siekavizza who was last seen on 7 June 2011. The case was first suspected to be a kidnapping and received extensive news media coverage. After police uncovered incriminating evidence against Barreda de Leon, he disappeared along with his two children Roberto Jose 8, and Maria Mercedes age 4. An INTERPOL arrest warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with the disappearance and possible murder of his wife Cristina Siekavizza.
Barreda de Leon was arrested in Merida, Yucatan on 8 November 2013 and deported to Guatemala. His children were also repatriated to Guatemala in the care of their maternal grandparents.
In an interview given to El Periodico on 1 August 2011, Barreda de Leon stated that he and his wife visited Belize in April 2011 for a vacation.
Another Guatemala newspaper, Siglo 21, has retraced the movements of Barreda de Leon through Belize and Mexico. It notes that “The authorities believe that a criminal enterprise, with ties in several countries, helped him change his name and that of his children, and obtain new travel and government identification documents; in the birth certificates of the children it is noted that they are of Mexican nationality and are recorded with one year less than their actual age.”
The issue of Belizean passports and visas being sold by corrupt ministers in the Belize government has been receiving extensive media coverage in Belize and abroad. This was sparked by the “Citizen Kim” case where a South Korean national Kim Wong Hong who was incarcerated in Taiwan, managed to obtain a Belize passport in an attempt to avoid extradition to his home country. The Minister of Immigration Hon. Elvin Penner was fired from the Belize cabinet after evidence was uncovered connecting him to the passport scandal.
The “Citizen Kim” passport scandal has now escalated to include the illegal sale of Belize travel visas by members of the Belize government.
Evidence has also been uncovered of the existence of a human trafficking organization that procures Belizean visas for residents of China and the Middle East wishing to enter the U.S. using Belize as a staging point. Belize’s Minister of Transport Hon. Edmund Castro has been implicated in an alleged visa ring.
The news of a prominent Guatemala fugitive with an INTERPOL arrest warrant being able to obtain a Belize passport is expected to add more fuel to the ongoing Belize passport and visa scandal.