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Published:January 23rd, 2014 08:29 EST
Will Edgar Tamayo`s Execution Further Compromise Relations With Mexico?

Will Edgar Tamayo`s Execution Further Compromise Relations With Mexico?

By John G. Kays

The execution of Edgar Tamayo,46, in Huntsville was much more high profile than others here in Texas, since he was a Mexican national. Tamayo died by lethal injection, administered by the State; a sedative pentobarbital, which will no longer be available once stocks are depleted, was used. Tamayo took 17 minutes to die, expiring at 9:15 PM, after a 3 hour delay caused by legal wrangling. Edgar`s crime, the reason for his execution, was he killed a Houston Police officer, Guy Gaddis, a little over 20 years ago (January 21, 1994), while in commission of another heinous felony, armed robbery.

With the case receiving comprehensive international press coverage, even though Texas has executed 509 death row inmates since 1976, like it`s no big deal, I wanted more specifics on Edgar Tamayo`s original offense. I came up with little until I read the Houston Chronicle (Mexican man executed for HPD officer`s death, by Allan Turner); well, I should have thought of that in the first place, since Houston is where the crime took place. Furthermore, I was somewhat surprised to find so much coverage from the Mexican perspective, including Tamayo`s family and relatives, who live in the southern central state of Miacatlan, which is experiencing a great deal of unrest itself currently.

In any case, from their point of view, the family was very sadden to hear of Edgar`s execution, after the U. S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution. The Houston Chronicle has a nice photograph gallery, giving you both sides of the story; the slain police officer`s family and the Houston Police Department, many of which witnessed the execution, as well as the perspective of Tamayo`s Mexican family, many of which had considerable anguish and anger in their eyes, when you look at the photos. Had Tamayo`s rights been violated in 1994?

This is not a question I can answer too easily, since I`m not an attorney. I did read over the arguments posed for the violation of Tamayo`s rights (since he was a Mexican national) in several reliable news sources, stating he should have been allowed to contact his consulate under provisions of the United Nations. A Reuters article tells me this is an international treaty known as the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. I see this as the international equivalent of allowing you one phone call, should you be arrested and thrown in jail, or reading you your Miranda Rights before they handcuff you.

Well, it looks like Tamayo never was allowed to contact his consulate back in 1994. Secretary of State John Kerry sent out a warning letter more than a month ago, urging Governor Perry to grant a stay. It`s not so much that Perry doesn`t believe Texas certainly has the legal authority to carry out the execution, since the Supreme Court is backing them, but rather it`s the ramifications of compromised diplomacy, where the State of Texas throws water in the face of international law. Our relations with Mexico just soured a bit more (the drug wars are the main reason why they are so bad)!

I`ll never go to Mexico again for the rest of my life! That would probably be the case anyway, even if Rick Perry had granted the stay. Mexican society is torn apart by the drug wars and the primary reason for it is economic; supply and demand - Americans need Mexican narcotics, so Drug Lords give us what we want, even if many of their citizens have to die in the process. But now, I believe, if any Americans traveling to Mexico, think they can have a good time (such as it was in the `70s, `80s, and `90s), will likely find they`ll be treated with raging hostility, since Edgar Tamayo was denied of his rights.