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

U.S. Citizen Nestora Salgado closer to freedom in Mexico

Seattle, WA–Nestora Salgado-García of Renton, who has been illegally detained by Mexican authorities since August 2013, won an important victory in her struggle for freedom when a Mexican federal judge dismissed significant criminal charges against her.

“This decision represents a breakthrough for Nestora,” said Professor Thomas Antkowiak, Director of the International Human Rights Clinic at Seattle University School of Law, which has led international litigation on her behalf. “The judge recognizes that she is not guilty of any crime, because she was acting legally as an authorized leader of her indigenous community.”

State kidnapping charges are still pending against Salgado. However, “this important federal precedent may well lead to the dismissal of the state charges and her release,” states Alejandra Gonza, co-counsel. Accordingly to the federal ruling, law enforcement actions by community police leaders such as Salgado could not be considered illegal.

Salgado was arrested for her courageous community work in the small indigenous village of Olinalá in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Guerrero law and the Mexican Constitution guarantee the rights of indigenous communities to form their own justice and security institutions. Salgado was a leader of a community-policing group that legally forms part of state law enforcement, and had the express approval of Guerrero’s Governor.

Corrupt authorities abruptly changed position, however, when the group arrested a local official for committing a crime. Salgado was immediately seized by military forces and flown nearly 1,000 kilometers away to the maximum-security prison of El Rincon, in Nayarit.  She was denied visits from her elected attorney and family members.  Among many other deplorable detention conditions, she has been refused clean water and medical treatment. Supporters hope she will be transferred to a safer facility closer to her family in Mexico.

A naturalized U.S. citizen, Salgado moved to the United States in 1991 at the age of 20. More recently, she divided her time between Olinalá and the Seattle area, where she lives with her husband, José Luis Avila, her daughters, and grandchildren.

Her daughter, Grisel Rodriguez of Renton, expressed hope after many months of despair over and advocacy for her mother. “This shows she is innocent and must be released. She cannot survive much longer in that terrible prison.”

A broad coalition of national and international supporters has demanded Salgado’s release. The Freedom for Nestora Committee – led by Fred Hyde, a retired Administrative Law Judge, and Su Docekal – has obtained the endorsement of many thousands of individuals and organizations. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and several U.S and Mexican political leaders are closely monitoring the case.

Contact: Katherine Hedland-Hansen
hedlandk@seattleu.edu
+1(206) 793-3487
Seattle University School of Law

The uphill fight to free Nestora Salgado

By Fred Hyde

Nestora Salgado is both a naturalized U.S. citizen and an indigenous leader in her Mexican hometown of Olinalá, Guerrero. Last summer, Mexican authorities jailed her on trumped-up charges related to her role as the elected leader of Olinalá’s community police, which defends people against violent drug cartels and corrupt officials.

The grass-roots campaign to liberate Nestora is part of the hard-fought battle against neoliberalism. Over the past decades, the U.S. has joined many plans, treaties and alliances with Mexico aimed at opening up markets for the U.S., securing its oil supplies, and, ostensibly, combating narco traffic. In reality, Washington’s “War on Drugs” has been about protecting the profits of transnational corporations and foreign banks, including billions from laundering drug money.

Read more at socialism.com >>

Mexico: the right of civilian self-defense

By Cuauhtémoc Ruiz

The emergence of community police and self-defense groups (las autodefensas) in thirteen of Mexico’s states is a major political event nationally, but also internationally. It is not every day that a sector of the population arms itself. Even more remarkable is what is happening in Michoacán: over a period of months, thousands of armed people pursuing groups of criminals and releasing territories from the control of mafias and drug traffickers. This armed organization is a great feat of the Mexican people, who have shown that their organization and will are stronger than the capitalist state.

The national and state governments together have been powerless to fight the criminals and bring security. (Nationally, the parties heading these governments have been the Partido Acción Nacional, or PAN, of Felipe Calderón, followed by thePartido Revolucionario Institucional, or PRI, of Enrique Peña Nieto; in Michoacán, the Partido de la Revolución Democrática, or PRD, followed by the PRI; and in Guerrero, the PRD.) However, the brave and organized masses have been able to accomplish this, while risking their lives every day.

Read more at socialism.com >>

Deputies require record review Nestora Salgado community leader, arrested in 2013

By Enrique Mendez and Roberto Garduño

Mexico, DF. Representatives of the Commission on Human Rights called for the revision of the file that was opened against Nestora Salgado Garcia, coordinator of community policing Olinalá, Guerrero, who was arrested in August 2013 for military, marine, state police and municipal, and who has reported violations of their rights and be forced to sign documents to incriminate.

Lawmakers matches of the Democratic Revolution Party of Labour and Citizens’ Movement raised to consider all exculpatory evidence in favor of Salgado Garcia, respect human rights and ensure you provide all legal guarantees as imputed.

Members noted that the self-defense movement emerged Olinalá October 27, 2012 with the objective of stopping crime in Guerrero to the failure of the authorities, and that the arrest occurred Nestora Salgado allegedly in retaliation for days before police Community detained criminal suspects linked to city authorities.

Read more at La Jornada >>

Freedom for Nestora/Libertad para Nestora Committee’s Letter to Mexican Deputies

Freedom for Nestora/Libertad para Nestora Committee
5018 Rainier Avenue S., Seattle, Washington 98118, U.S.A.

FreeNestora.org . FreeNestora@gmail.com
March 18, 2014
To the Honorable Deputy Senators Roberto Lopez Suarez, Alejandro Carbajal, Luis Manuel Arias Pallares, Jose Luis Muñoz Soria, Margarita Elena Tapia and Loretta Ortiz Ahft,

The Freedom for Nestora/Libertad para Nestora Committee urges you to take all possible action to help secure the immediate release of Ms. Nestora Salgado. Community leaders in Washington State in collaboration with Ms. Salgado’s family formed the Committee last November and it has since grown into a national and international campaign. Ms. Salgado is a U.S. citizen and a resident of Renton, Washington and there is a growing outcry in this state for her release and dropping the clearly false and politically motivated charges against her.

There have been dozens of radio, TV and newspaper stories about Ms. Salgado in this region of the United States, and the coverage is now spreading nationwide in both the English and Spanish language media. Over 120 organizations and prominent individuals have signed on to support the Campaign to Free Nestora Salgado, including human rights attorneys and organizations, the Washington State Labor Council representing 425,000 affiliated union members, political leaders, Native American indigenous activists, the Seattle Human Rights Commission, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 28 of  Washington, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Committee, and numerous advocacy organizations from around the country. (A list of the endorsers is attached.) In addition, 6,500 people have signed the online petition urging President Barack Obama to intervene on Ms. Salgado’s behalf.

Legal petitions have been filed with the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Resolutions and letters from several organizations have been sent to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry requesting his help obtaining Salgado’s freedom. A multi-city, multinational day of protest and picketing was held on International Human Rights Day, December 10. Protests took place at Mexican consulates in five U.S. cities and government offices in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica. There were also other actions in Australia, France and Argentina.
Last week International Women’s Day press conferences, forums and rallies were held in New York City, San Francisco and Seattle, as well as in Mexico, where supporters and family members of Nestora Salgado demanded her release.

The Freedom for Nestora Committee is currently following up with the U.S. Congressional delegation from Washington State in order to insure more aggressive intervention by the U.S. Secretary of State on Ms. Salgado’s behalf.
It is becoming increasing clear to us and to the broader U.S. public that Ms. Salgado is guilty only of trying to help the people of her hometown of Olinalá, where she is a respected community leader. We are also gravely concerned about the fate of Ms. Salgado’s colleagues in the Community Police Force in Guerrero who have been persecuted for carrying out their duties and for protesting Nestora Salgado’s arrest.

We heartened to hear that your esteemed body is investigating Ms. Salgado’s incarceration and mistreatment, and look forward to hearing the results of your inquiry.  If we can provide any more information that would assist your efforts, please contact us at the above address or email.

 

Sincerely,
Su Docekal

Chairperson,

Freedom for Nestora/Libertad para Nestora Committee

Seattle, Washington

Statement by Nestora Salgado on International Women’s Day 2014

My name is Nestora Salgado García. I am 42 years old and have three daughters and four grandchildren. I have been unjustly jailed since August 21 of last year. Even though I am jailed and my captors want to break me, I speak to you with optimism on this International Day Women’s Day 2014.

This is a message to the women of Mexico and the United States, as well as the women of other countries where women suffer discrimination.

My message is to resist, to protest and to fight whenever you find yourself humiliated in your place of work, your community or even in your own home

The life of women in countries such as Mexico is very difficult, above all in campesina families and communities like mine in the mountains of Guerrero, a state which has always had a lot of poverty and inadequate levels of all types of services. Guerrero also has suffered a lot of corruption and abuse at the hands of government officials.

I have always worked to take care of my daughters, the first of whom was born when I was 16 years old. I had to emigrate from Mexico to the United States where I worked doing many things like cleaning houses and working as a waitress in restaurants. Through my own efforts, I managed to become a U.S. citizen. But I never forgot my roots, my parents, my brothers and sisters and my family who I frequently visited. Neither did I forget my community. I could not remain indifferent to what was taking place with my neighbors and in my hometown of Olinalá, which unfortunately was happening in other places in our cherished Mexico.

The abuses of organized crime had become commonplace every day. It had become impossible to live in peace. We could not leave our houses. We could not work, travel, mount a business or confidently send our children to school. We could not go to the town square in peace and enjoy an ice cream. So, the community suddenly organized itself and elected me as its representative. I became the coordinator of Olinalá community police.

In the beginning, the government officials supported the community police. The governor of Guerrero provided us with two vehicles and other support. We also received official documents designating us as community police.

As the community police, we did our job and we did it well. We served the community of Olinalá. We confronted organized crime and those who supported it. In the first year, the index of major crimes dropped by 90%. Maybe this is why the government ended up attacking us and taking me into custody together with 12 other CRAC (Regional Coordination of Community Authority- Community Police) in Guerrero.

I was arrested in an impressive display of military and police force, greater than any used previously in apprehending the worst drug traffickers. Within hours, I was sent to a high security prison in Nayarit where I am currently held as if I were a dangerous animal.

I am isolated from all the other inmates. One of my daughters and one of my sisters can only visit me every two weeks. I cannot speak to anyone. I never see the sun or enjoy sunshine. I receive none of the pain medication I need due to a car accident I suffered. I am allowed no magazines or newspapers. I cannot even receive a letter from my husband who is in the United States, nor a drawing from one of my grandchildren. I am allowed only a few minutes of conversation with my daughter Zaira. I cannot watch television.

I know they want to break me but this will not happen. I know that in locking me up they want to send a message to all the women and men in Mexico standing up against injustice. But they will not break me. I will never ask for forgiveness from my jailers. I have no reason to ask from anyone, especially the Mexican government. Out of my mouth and from my heart, you will hear only words of encouragement for all those who, like me, have committed themselves to accomplishing something for their communities and their families.

I want to speak especially to the women–to the wives and the mothers of the other imprisoned other community police. I say we will endure the cold prison. And we believe that the day is near when we will be free.

To all women, I say: Do not give in to anything or anyone. Do not tolerate any corrupt government official or mafia criminal. Do not tolerate discrimination or mistreatment from anyone.

To the women of Olinalá, I ask that you continue the struggle that we began a year ago with our husbands and neighbors.

My captors are piling up charges against me. But I know that in the end I will walk out of this jail. I will do so with my head high because I know that no one believes that I am a criminal. There are honest people in Mexico, in the United States and other countries who know that I am a political prisoner.

I will leave prison to take up once against the struggle for community police that I initiated.

Onward women of Mexico and the world! History teaches us that sacrifices are necessary to accomplish what we want. Let us stand fearless and determined to do away with evil and those who support it. This is how we women will build a bright and better future.

–From the high security prison in Tepic, Nayarit, March 7, 2014

Reprinted by:  Libertad para Nestora/Freedom for Nestora–Seattle Committee
FreeNestora.Seattle@gmail.com . 206-722-2453 . Facebook.com/FreeNestora
5018 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, WA 98118

WSLC joins campaign to release Renton woman from Mexican prison

salgado-nestora(Feb. 25, 2014) — At the direction of the Washington State Labor Council’s Executive Board, WSLC President Jeff Johnson has written U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to urge him to press for the release of a Nestora Salgado, a Renton woman who has been imprisoned in Mexico since Aug. 21, 2013.

According to a Seattle Weekly report on her arrest, Salgado, a naturalized U.S. citizen, “got swept up in the movement to fight violence, organized crime and what many believe is government corruption” in Olinalá, the remote, impoverished town where she was born.

Mexico’s federal law, and that of the state of Guerrero, gives indigenous people the right to form their own police force… many such community police forces have sprung up across the country. Olinalá’s even had the backing of Guerrero governor… Salgado, who had started spending months at a time in Olinalá, was elected leader of the that force. The governor might not have anticipated that Olinalá’s militia would arrest the town sheriff. (Sources say) the sheriff had been called upon to investigate the double-homicide of a father and son. Instead, they say, the town official tampered with the evidence at the crime scene and tried to steal the dead men’s belongings, including a cow.

Read more at TheStand.org >>

Solidarity Statement from the Freedom for Nestora – Seattle Committee

The Freedom for Nestora – Seattle Committee issued a Solidarity Statement on January 17, 2014 to a demonstration in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero standing with the demonstrators demanding freedom for all political prisoners in Mexico.

Read the statement here.

Resolution Endorsing Campaign to Free Nestora Salgado

On January 7th, Seattle City Council member and Chairman of the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee Larry Gossett signed a Resolution Endorsing the Campaign to Free Nestora Salgado.

Click here to view the resolution.