On Sunday, Arturo Pierre Martinez from El Paso, Texas, appeared on North Korean media to criticize American policies. Martinez claims that he crossed into North Korea illegally, but authorities have not detained him. He hopes to make his final destination Venezuela.
Just days after North Korea slammed the U.S. for its use of torture and police brutality towards minorities, Arturo Martinez arrived seeking refuge in the hermit kingdom and voicing his own condemnation of American policies.
His trip to North Korea is Martinez’ second attempt. According to the Washington Post, his mother claims he tried to enter in September, only to be arrested by the U.S. authorities, possibly over the Han River on the border of North and South Korea.
Officials then sent Martinez to a psychiatric hospital; his mother says he has bipolar disorder. He didn’t stay there long though. After convincing the hospital that he was ready to leave, Arturo got a payday loan and bought a ticket to China, where he crossed into North Korea, supposedly over the Yalu river.
Martinez now says that even though he entered North Korea illegally, he was not under arrest. As reported by CNN, officials allowed him to lay out his critique of American policy in the People’s Palace of Culture in Pyongyang.
“The illegal war carried out against the nation of Iraq serves as a perfect example of how the U.S. government acts much like a Mafia enterprise, but criminally plundering entire nations of their resources, strategic reserves and economies instead of smaller scale business and individuals, and does so without a code of ethics.”
He went on to slam the electoral system as “unfairly built for the benefit of the wealthy” since it requires a costly fundraising process for politicians.
“The democracy of this nation is an illusion and its representatives act as nothing more than power brokers for those who can offer them.”
He also talked about UFOs, ultrasonic devices that cause people to hear voices, the CIA’s involvement in the cocaine trade, and how western media have unfairly portrayed North Korea.
Martinez says that despite the cordial treatment he received in North Korea, it wasn’t his final destination. According to the Washington Post, he hoped to go on to Venezuela.
However, Martinez’ mother seemed to have other plans, saying in a statement, “I’m glad and relieved that my son is safe. I am appreciative to the North Korean authorities for pardoning my son and releasing him. I look forward to spending Christmas with him after they release him.”
She explained that although her son suffers from bipolar disease, he’s incredibly intelligent.
“My son is very intelligent. He said he wanted to protect Latinos and he worried about the world and about people. At 15 he obtained his computer certificate. He loves to read and write and work on the computer. He loved to help poor people. He is our only child.”
North Korea said in a separate statement that Martinez showed up in November, but didn’t elaborate on his legal status.
[Image Credit: J.A. de Roo/Wikimedia Commons]