Nestora needs YOUR help!

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Despite an outpouring of support on August 21, 2014, winning freedom for Nestora and her fellow political prisoners still lies ahead of us

nestoraAugust 21 marked the one-year anniversary of Nestora Salgado’s incarceration in federal prison at Tepic, Nayarit. With your support, the movement to free Nestora and other political prisoners in Mexico has grown internationally over this time, but victory is still elusive.

The September massacre in Guerrero of nearly 50 students, in a coordinated attack by police and criminals, is further evidence that we have our work cut out for us. These murders have drawn international attention to the corruption of the political figures most responsible for keeping Nestora behind bars: Guerrero governor Ángel Aguirre, who refuses to release her despite the order of a federal judge, and President Peña Nieto who has presided over the incarceration of hundreds of men and women who have stood up against similar violence and corruption in other Mexican towns and states.

To keep this campaign alive and growing, we need your continued financialsupport. Your contribution will be used to expand public outreach, aid the working class families of other Guerrero prisoners and the enormous costs associated with Nestora’s legal representation. How much we can accomplish depends on you—Nestora’s longtime supporters.

DONATE online or write a check.

Accomplishments since August 21
The grassroots protests organized internationally on August 21 resulted in substantial media attention, in both English and Spanish outlets, for Nestora’s plight. And, through the efforts of committees in cities throughout our hemisphere, the number of groups and individuals endorsing the call to free Nestora has grown. In the U.S. alone it now stands at over 160.

Less than two weeks after the August event, U.S. Congressman Adam Smith issued a second letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to intervene with the Mexican government to ask for Nestora’s release. This letter, signed by eight members of the Washington state delegation and a member of the Hispanic Caucus from California, is a product of our grassroots organizing. It documents the awful conditions of Nestora’s continued incarceration and points out that Mexican officials are ignoring a federal court ruling ordering her release.

DONATE now and we can keep the pressure on the State Department.

The most exciting recent expression of support for Nestora is a resolution from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO and its 1.6 million members calling for her immediate release. Rank-and-file unionists who support Nestora kicked off the campaign that won this important victory.

Your contribution will help us carry on and expand the scope of this work

Nestora and her co-defendants come from poor and working-class families who have nowhere near the resources of the Mexican government. Because of this disparity, Mexican officials believe they can act with impunity in violating their due process and human rights, denying them the right to see lawyers of their choice and incarcerating them far from home.

A significant portion of the funds collected thus far has been spent by the Seattle Libertad para Nestora Salgado Committee to help cover the out-of-pocket travel expenses of Nestora’s Mexico City pro bono attorneys. They have traveled hundreds of miles to interview witnesses, locate and copy thousands of documents, and to meet with state and federal officials in an attempt to win improvements in her prison conditions and to negotiate her release.

We have also used your generous gifts to:

■ produce educational materials, banners, signs, photographic enlargements, and thousands of flyers

■ pay travel expenses to send Nestora’s husband Jose Avila to organizing meetings and speaking engagements in Los Angeles

■ aid the wives and children of other community police force leaders from Guerrero whose families were left destitute when they were also jailed

This is an all-volunteer effort, so your financial help keeps the campaign going strong. Please contribute generously to free this brave indigenous woman leader who has become a symbol of the broader movement for justice in Mexico.

DONATE online at FreeNestora.org or make out a check to Radical Women/Nestora Fund and mail it to: Freedom for Nestora Fund, 5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118. (Radical Women is administering the Freedom for Nestora Fund.)

For more information visit our website at http://www.freenestora.org or contact the Libertad para Nestora/Freedom for Nestora campaign in Seattle by calling (206)953-5601 or emailing FreeNestora.Seattle@gmail.com. The campaign in New York City can be reached at (917)714-6453 and FreeNestora.NYC@gmail.com. In Southern California, call (323)732-6416 or email FreeNestora.LA@gmail.com.

MUCHAS GRACIAS for your generosity throughout the last year! We couldn’t do this without you.

August 21: International Day of Protest to Free Nestora and all political prisoners!

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August 21, 2014 will be the one year anniversary of Nestora’s arrest and imprisonment. For 12 months, she has been denied the right to see her lawyers. Orders to free her by a federal judge have been ignored. Kept in isolation without medical attention, she represents hundreds of people in self defense groups who have been jailed for defending their communities against powerful, politically connected criminal cartels.

In June, the Mexican government expanded its occupation and repression in Michoacán, arresting Dr. José Mireles and nearly 100 of his followers. They were on their way to regain public control of Lázaro Cárdenas port, the largest seaport in Mexico, from a drug cartel known as the Knights Templar. This criminal syndicate used the port to export goods and resources stolen from the people of the region. Today Nestora Salgado and Dr. José Mireles are powerful symbols of popular resistance against Mexican government corruption and unbridled crime. As U.S. military aid to Mexico increases, the violence continues.

August 21 will be a day of International protest calling for the release of Nestora, Dr. Mireles, and all political prisoners. Join a location near you in international solidarity!

Free Nestora Salgado!
Free Dr. José Mireles!
Free all political prisoners!
Stop the government repression of self-defense forces and indigenous leaders!
End U.S. military aid to Mexico!

Protest Locations:

Seattle
Thursday, August 21, 4 PM
Federal Building Plaza, 915 Second Ave, Seattle (Downtown, between Madison & Marion)
206-722-2453; FreeNestora.Seattle@gmail.com

Portland
Thursday, August 21, 12 PM
Mexican Consulate, 1305 SW 12th Avenue, Portland (Corner of SW 12th Ave and SW Morrison St)
503-516-2151; jsardo60@hotmail.com

San Francisco
Thursday, August 21, 7:30 AM
Mexican Consulate, 532 Folsom Street (between 1st and 2nd), San Francisco
415-864-1278; freenestora.sanfrancisco@earthlink.net

Los Angeles
Thursday, August 21, 4 PM
Federal Building, Downtown LA (300 N. Los Angeles St)
323-732-6416; freenestora.la@gmail.com

New York City
Thursday, August 21, 1 PM
Mexican Consulate, 27 E 39th St, Manhattan (between Madison Ave and Park Ave)
917-714-6453; FreeNestora.NYC@gmail.com

Melbourne, Australia
Saturday, August 23, 1 PM
The old GPO, corner of Bourke Street and Elizabeth Street, Melbourne
03 9388-0062; freedom.socialist.party@ozemail.com.au

For information about protests in these countries:
Costa Rica: infoprtcr@gmail.com
Dominican Republic: hco2245@gmail.com
Mexico: pos.org.mx@gmail.com
For information about actions elsewhere, contact fspnatl@igc.org.

International supporters in Australia march for Nestora

Supporters of the campaign to free Nestora Salgado in Australia participated in the annual NAIDOC march in Melbourne, 11 July 2014. NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. For information abut the history of NAIDOC see: http://www.goingrank.com.au/naidoc.html

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Freedom for Nestora Committee News Release

News Release
June 17, 2014
For release:  Immediately
Contact: Su Docekal
206-953-5601 (cell)
FreeNestora.Seattle@gmail.com

Congressman Adam Smith and Washington state activists demand justice for indigenous leader Nestora Salgado, imprisoned in Mexico

In a crowded courtroom at Seattle University’s School of Law, U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, Washington, joined human rights advocates and attorneys in defense of naturalized U.S. citizen Nestora Salgado, who has been illegally imprisoned in Mexico, without trial, since August 2013.

Salgado had been elected to lead the community police force in her desperately poor hometown of Olinalá when she ran afoul of the authorities while exercising her duties under Guerrero state law. While attempting to rid the area of violent crime and corruption, she was falsely charged with kidnapping and sent to a federal prison six hundred miles from her home. After 10 months in prison, she has yet to see her lawyers. A dozen other Olinalá residents who came to her defense are also under arrest.

“I am outraged at the reports of deplorable conditions and treatment that violate Ms. Salgado’s basic human rights,” said Rep. Smith, who represents her congressional district. “Mexico has virtually made no effort to follow due process.”

Rep. Smith has urged Secretary of State John Kerry to press both the Mexican authorities to treat Ms. Salgado fairly and the U.S. Embassy to “use all means necessary to ensure her health and safety while she is detained. “Let the story be told,” he said, “shame the Mexican government into doing the right thing.”

Professor Thomas Antkowiak, director of the International Human Rights Clinic at Seattle University School of Law, which leads the international litigation of the case, reported that she is being held in a maximum-security prison, which denies her clean water and medical treatment. A Mexican congressional delegation, which traveled to the prison two weeks ago corroborated that she is enduring “psychological torture.” He added that in March, “a Mexican federal judge ruled that she was acting legally as an authorized leader of her indigenous community, and ordered her immediate release.” The Guerrero state court has refused to release her and is looking into adding more state charges to those she already faces.

“My mom is a person with strong morals and a huge heart,” said Grisel Rodriguez, Salgado’s daughter who spoke at the conference. “That is why she never forgot her hometown, or the situation that the family lived in back in Olinalá. When intense violence tore into the communities in Guerrero after 2000, she tried to help any way she could and that is how she got involved in the Community Police, or Communitaria. The Community Police is a legal organization that works under Guerrero state law 701 which allows indigenous communities to form autonomous police forces.”

“They are not gun-toting vigilantes,” explained Rodriquez, “they are community people who primarily do social service work, such as providing hurricane relief to people who were forgotten by the state government after the tropical storm last October. Now my mother is a political prisoner,” she said, holding back tears. “My family and I are pleading for your help to secure her release and to bring her back home.”

In answer to a question from the media, she explained that neither Washington State Senator Patty Murray nor Senator Maria Cantwell had taken any action despite her meeting with their staffs months ago.

Su Docekal, chair of the Freedom for Nestora Committee in Seattle traced the beginnings of the fight for Salgado’s freedom to December 10, 2013 when local activists organized an action in front of Seattle’s Mexican Consulate. “Word had spread,” reported Docekal, “and simultaneous protests were held in five other U.S. cities and in Mexico, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Australia, France and Austria.

Docekal said that following Salgado’s imprisonment, dozens of other community police were also arrested, and twelve still remain in prison. “They include indigenous leaders Gonzalo Molina and Arturo Campos who led protests after Nestora’s arrest, and whose families our committee is also supporting. All of the detainees are from towns and villages which sit on huge reserves of gold and silver and that are resisting the encroachment of international mining companies, such as Goldcorp, Inc., based in Vancouver, BC, which are ravaging their land, water and way of life.”

Stephen Durham of the Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR), which with the Partido Obrero Socialista is leading the fight to free Salgado in Mexico and coordinating international support work, asked whether international legal initiatives have been filed. Antkowiak responded that the Legal Clinic has filed petitions with The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Inter-American Commission Human Rights, which are both now closely monitoring the case.

Student Miriam Padilla also spoke for the Freedom for Nestora/Libertad para Nestora Committee. “Nestora’s story touches people from many backgrounds,” she said. “She and her family are working-class people. Jose, Nestora’s husband, is a carpenter and Nestora held jobs as a custodian, maid and restaurant worker. Her outspoken feminism and her advocacy for her indigenous community have won her wide support. Latino, African-American and Native American communities, labor unions and women’s organizations have all spoken out on her behalf.”

“Nestora Salgado reminds me of Rosa Parks,” said Padilla, “who was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance, but whose act of defiance began a movement.” She thanked those present for their support and noted that they represented a sample of the wide endorsements that Nestora’s fight has received. Among those present were: Herbie Martin, Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO and A. Philip Randolph Institute; Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Jimmy Haun, Political Director, Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters; Patricia Coley, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 46; James Williams, Seattle Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee; Stephen Durham, Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR) and Campaign to Free Nestora Salgado, New York City; Alejandra Gonza, international human rights attorney; Steve Hoffman, Washington Federation of State Employees, Local 304; and Fred Hyde, Freedom Socialist Party (FSP). Padilla thanked the FSP for being “one of the first groups to initiate this campaign because of its longtime involvement in immigration and indigenous struggles.”

Ann Rogers, a Chippewa elder of Seattle Radical Women, observed: “Standing up for basic human rights protection of communal land and the equality of women should not land a person in a federal prison. There is something very wrong with a government that allows this to happen.”

A statement by El Centro de la Raza concluded that “We need to increase awareness of Nestora Salgado’s case and send a clear message that we stand in solidarity with the community of Olinalá, Guerrero. Their leaders are unjustly detained for seeking a dignified, humane existence safe from crime and violence.”

The Freedom for Nestora Committee (Freenestora.org) urged supporters to write letters to Washington Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray and to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urging them to intervene on Nestora’s behalf. They also announced that if Salgado is not free by August 21 — one year since her imprisonment, an International Day of Action is being planned by her supporters in a number of countries.

The Seattle Committee meets on the first and third Saturdays of each month, at noon, at 5018 Rainier Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98118. For more information or to make a donation visit www.FreeNestora.org, email FreeNestora.Seattle@gmail.com or call 206-953-5601.

Fiesta! A Freedom for Nestora Benefit

Fiesta Nestora Event

Featuring
Live music by La Pasion
Muy sabrosa home-cooked Mexican dinner
Agua fresca, horchata, tres leches cake
Dancing and conversation
$10-25 sliding scale, children $5
Saturday, April 19, 7:00pm
New Freeway Hall
5018 Rainier Ave S, Seattle

Hosted by Libertad para Nestora/Freedom for Nestora Committee and Nestora’s family
For more info: 206-722-2453, FreeNestora.Seattle@gmail.com, http://www.FreeNestora.org

Nestora’s husband, José Luis Avila, to speak in Los Angeles

José Luis Avila, husband of Nestora Salgado, political prisoner and leader of an indigenous militia in Olinalá, Guerrero, will be at la Casita del Frente (318 S. Alvarado St., Los Angeles, CA 90057) on Saturday, April 12th at 10:00 AM. Avila will lead a discussion on the situation of political prisoners in Mexico and the actions needed to win freedom for Salgado, and all political prisoners.

The event will take place at 318 S. Alvarado St., Los Angeles, CA 90057.

For information call 213-479-0960.

Radical Women: International Women’s Day Celebration

freenestora:

A great Seattle event honoring International Women’s Day and Nestora.

Originally posted on She's With Me:

When: Friday, March 14, 7:00 pm
Where: New Freeway Hall, 5018 Rainier Ave S., Seattle, WA 98118
Cost: $2 donation, $7 for snacks

International Women’s Day: Sisters Stand Up to Political Repression and Mass Incarceration Public celebration will honor grassroots movements mobilizing to free political prisoners and end wrongful convictions. Radical Women will highlight cases being fought by Marissa Alexander, Rasmea Odeh, Nestora Salgado, and Lynne Stewart.

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