Nestora Salgado is not a woman who caves in easily.
A child bride who soon became a single mother of three, Salgado was still a teenager when she left her hometown in the mountains of southern Mexico to rebuild her life in the US.
Two decades later, she returned home to lead an armed rebellion against drug traffickers and corrupt local authorities – only to be accused of kidnapping and imprisoned.
Salgado spent 21 months in a high-security jail until a hunger strike galvanized international support for her case and helped secure her transfer last month to the medical wing of a more relaxed facility.
Now, in her first interview with the international press, Salgado argued that she was guilty of nothing more than helping her community stand up to the narcosand their corrupt political allies, and called on the Mexican government to release her and drop all the charges.
Nestora Salgado is an indigenous leader, a naturalized U.S. citizen and political prisoner in Mexico. She was seized without an arrest warrant by Mexican federal soldiers in August 2013 as a result of her leadership role in community policing against organized crime, which has swept through the indigenous communities of the state of Guerrero over the last several years.
Nestora was held incommunicado and transferred to a maximum security prison far away from her home community of Olinalá. For weeks, she was denied access to her attorney and visits from her family. She is being denied pain medication and physical activity she requires due to her rehabilitation from a severe auto accident.
Libertad para Nestora/Freedom for Nestora – Seattle Committee
The Seattle Committee formed in November 2013 when community activists came together with Nestora’s family, who live in Renton, to organize a protest in front of the Mexican Consulate on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day. Word of the campaign spread across the country, and actions were held that day in six U.S. cities, plus Mexico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, France and Australia. Over one hundred organizations and prominent individuals have since endorsed the Campaign to Free Nestora Salgado.
The Seattle Committee participated in the Martin Luther King Day Celebration last January, where Nestora’s family addressed the rally. The Committee has also spoken at International Women’s Day and May Day rallies, sponsored a Freedom for Nestora Fiesta benefit, and has provided speakers at numerous community and union meetings.