Tonight, Texas again did the unthinkable---it ignored the international law that guarantees someone arrested in a foreign country the right to see a representative of their country or origin. And, not only did they thumb the nose at international law, but also at a treaty signed by the US and Honduras back in 1927, ironically called some thing like the Treaty of Friendship and Commerce.
Heliberto Chi was pronounced dead at 6:25 PM. His cousin Edgardo witnessed his execution, along with representatives of the Honduran Embassy and the Honduran Consulate. Edgardo waved at the family as he crossed the street to enter the death house.
His mother and brothers, along with 15-20 members of their extended family stood outside of the death house in the intense heat, with not even one cloud for a little shade. They were with us abolitionists before and during the execution.
His brother Hernan spoke forcefully on the microphone about the crimes of the US and how his brother was being executed because he was poor. He said that only the poor and Blacks and Latinos were treated this way by the state of Texas. "In this imperial country, there is no justice for the poor, only the rich," he said in Spanish to the crowd gathered outside the death house. He also spoke with Otis McClay on KPFT Radio who was doing the Execution Watch show on KPFT's HUD2 channel. (You can listen to this show on every day that Texas executes someone by going to www.KPFT.org and clicking on the HD2 channel to get the show. I think there may be a photo of Ray Hill to click on. The live show is on from 6-7:00 PM and includes reports from Huntsville as well as discussion with attorneys and family members of those on death row or activists against the death penalty.)
His baby brother, German, who is 17 years old, told me about how their grandmother in Honduras got sick in July and said she was going to die because she could not live and experience the execution of her grandson. And then she did die and was buried by the family. He said she just couldn't bare the thought of knowing that Heliberto would be murdered. So they will take Heliberto back home to Honduras to be buried by his grandmother.
The family was quiet and stoic during the execution.
Then at 6:30 when the witnesses came out of the death house, the cousin, Edgardo came out to the family and nearly collapsed in their arms, sobbing uncontrollably and saying in Spanish that it was over and that Heliberto was with Jesus now, that he was in peace.
About 5-7 Spanish language news media surrounded the cousin and the family, doing interviews and relaying stories to people around the world about Heliberto and Huntsville, the execution capital of the United States.
The baby brother, German, told me that Heliberto was happy and at peace with the execution. He said that Heliberto told him that it would feel good to never have to go back to the Polunsky Unit and live in that hell anymore.
Heliberto's last words were, "Jesus receive my spirit. I love you Edgardo. I appreciate your hard work. Thank you. O.K. Receive my spirit. Thanks, sir."
As we were gathering up banners and signs, many of the Chi family came and thanked all of us for being there and for supporting them. His mom hugged me so tight and told me in Spanish, "Thank you so very much. Your support is so important for our family. Thank you for being here."
When I explained that Kristin Wood, who was standing with me, was the wife of an innocent man set to be executed on August 21, they hugged her also and took brochures about Jeff's case. As they walked away, they were talking among themselves about Jeff and his wife. See Jeff Wood's site.
The highest court of Texas, the Court of Criminal Appeals, and the highest court of the U.S., the Supreme Court, both are guilty of the legal lynching of Heliberto Chi. So are the governor and all the spineless politicians who allow this medieval ritual of murder to flourish in Texas.
The last time in my memory that two non-citizens were executed in three days was back in 1993 when Carlos Santana from the Dominican Republic and Ramon Montoya from Mexico were executed on March 23 and March 25.
Heliberto Chi, Presente!