Nestora Salgado is a mother of three who left her hometown of Olinala, Mexico as a teenager 20 years ago for a new life in the United States. She became an American citizen and worked three jobs to provide for her family. But after a car accident in 2002 nearly killed her, she quit working and moved back to her hometown just as drug cartel rivalries became more violent.
The cartels fought for territory around Olinala, subjecting residents to kidnappings, extortion, and murder. Outraged, Nestora became the leader of a community police force that took on the cartels by arresting murderers and drug dealers. She operated under legally recognized community policing rules that were enacted to protect indigenous populations after a massacre of peasants by state security forces in 1995.
Two years ago she was arrested by Mexican authorities.
Recent reports claim that the new prosecutor assigned to Nestora’s case not only refuses to drop the charges against her, but is seeking a prison sentence of nearly 1,000 years for the community police force leader. Such trumped-up charges reveal the extent to which the government is willing to go to send a message to political dissidents seeking to end corruption in Mexico.
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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