Thursday, June 21, 2012

Free Jason P.

I did plan on showing you some pictures from Las Vegas today, but this is much, much more important.  It's vaguely connected with my trip to Vegas, though, because that's where I was when I first heard about this.

Imagine that you fell in love with a foreign country.  You married a local, had a great job, even appeared on international television.  You settled down to a content existence in a beautiful location.  Then, one day, you were arrested.  There's no proof that you committed the crimes for which you were arrested; even the other people who were arrested with you testify that they have no idea who you are.  But the government of your adopted country is convinced of your guilt and you're sentenced to 22 years in prison.

For Jason Puracal, this is the nightmare in which he's found himself for the last eighteen months.

Jason is an American-born man who fell in love with Nicaragua while serving in the Peace Corps and moved there permanently, marrying a Nicaraguan woman with whom he had an adorable little boy.  He's a real estate broker who was once even featured on House Hunters International.  But in November 2010, Jason's dream crashed when police raided his home and arrested him for drug trafficking and money laundering.  Since there was no proof of him ever doing any such things, he expected the local justice system to set him free as a matter of course.  Instead, he was found guilty even though there was no evidence of any kind and he's now in a Nicaraguan prison.  His health is deteriorating because of the horrible conditions, and his family is terrified that he won't survive.

Efforts are, of course, being made to release him.  More than forty members of the United States Congress have petitioned the president of Nicaragua for Jason's release, and the United Nations has declared his imprisonment to be unjust and are also asking for his freedom.  So far, nothing seems to be working, but for Jason's sake and that of his family, the efforts continue.

I became aware of Jason's story in my hotel room in Vegas, where I caught the first part of his interview with Anderson Cooper.  I knew right away that it was something I wanted to share with my readers, but my notes got misplaced when I first came home and so I didn't post right away like I intended.  To me, there's absolutely no doubt that he needs to be released as soon as possible, and I would like to request that everyone reading this do their part to help bring it about.  How can you help?

  • Read the facts about Jason's case.
  • Sign the petition at - add your name to the more than 80,000 worldwide who are calling for Jason's release.
  • Write a letter to Jason to show him your support and give him hope.
  • Follow the "Free Jason P." campaign on Twitter and/or Facebook.
  • Subscribe to Jason's channel on YouTube.
  • Donate to the fund to finance his legal battle.
  • Buy something from the "Free Jason P." store.
  • Share Jason's story with others!  The more people there are who know about his plight, the more people there are who can help with the fight.  (Hey, that's catchy.)
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil to is for good men to do nothing." ~Edmund Burke

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