Two months since Mexican political prisoner Nestora Salgado was freed after more than two and a half years in high-security jail, three of her colleagues from the community police force she organized in the violence-ridden state of Guerrero are still in prison on trumped up charges, the Mexican daily La Jornada reported Sunday.
Gonzalo Molino Gonzalez, Arturo Campos, and Samuel Ramirez, fellow members of Salgado’s regional community police force in Guerrero, were similarly jailed on charges of “fabricated crimes” and remain behind bars as their freed leader continues to fight for political prisoners in Mexico to be released.
“Our people were suffering kidnappings, extortion, rape of young girls, and I could not sit with my arms crossed,” Gonzales said in an interview with La Jornada of his decision to take up the struggle with the community police force organizing against rampant violence and the reign of drug cartels, fueled by widespread impunity.
“They can lock me up physically, but my freedom is inside of me,” he added. “My thinking, my ideas, and my heart are free.”
Seattle city council is joining in the debate of whether to join the growing chorus of calls for the immediate release of Nestora Salgado, a former Renton resident, who is now in a Mexican prison.
Salgado was arrested in August, 2013 in her home state of Guerrero, where she led a legal community police force to fend off organized crime.
A resolution brought forward by council member Kshama Sawant would urge authorities in Mexico and the United States to “increase its efforts to secure her release.”
Today Karma Chavez talks with Grisel Rodriguez, daughter of Nestora Salgado, the indigenous Mexican woman imprisoned for fighting state violence.
Nestora Salgado is a naturalized U.S. born in Guerrero, Mexico. The indigenous activist moved to the United States in 1991, and returned two decades to help lead a rebellion against drug traffickers and corrupt local authorities.
Salgado has been detained by the Mexico government in a high-security prison for over two years now, after standing up to state violence and corruption in her hometown of Guerrero. She is currently being threatened with solitary confinement.
Grisel Rodriquez works with the Free Nestora Campaign, which was started by Salgado’s family in 2013. The Free Nestora Committee works in collaboration with the Comité Nestora Libre in Mexico, and demands freedom in several states in Mexico as well as Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Argentina and Europe.
For the past two years, though, Salgado has been stuck behind bars, accused by the state of Guerrero of kidnapping.
Guerrero state attorney general Miguel Ángel Godínez Muñoz and other Mexican authorities maintain Salgado crossed the line when the community police force she led detained three cocaine-dealing teenagers and a town official who Salgado claims worked closely with the cartels. Groups such as Mexico SOS that advocate for kidnapping victims and their families have argued that Salgado should not be released without a trial.
But among those demanding her release are dozens of human rights advocates, recently elected Guerrero Gov. Rogelio Ortega Martinez, and 13 Mexican senators, along with her supporters and family in Washington state. Mexico’s federal courts dropped similar charges filed against her, according to her lawyers, but state prosecutors in Guerrero continue to pursue it.
Human rights activist Nestora Salgado raised her family in Renton. She’s a U.S. citizen and a human rights activist.
But most people know her now as a political prisoner. She’s been held in a Mexican prison for more than two years, with limited outside contact.
Recently, Salgado was transferred to a lower security facility, and allowed more visitors and phone calls.
KUOW’s Liz Jones met up with Salgado’s husband for an update on her case.
An excerpt from Megan Cornish’s recent Freedom Socialist article:
“Nestora Salgado’s name has become a symbol of resistance for many women struggling … against patriarchal violence and for indigenous communities,” said R. Aída Hernández Castillo in the Mexican daily La Jornada in August.
But the state sees her only as a threat. Aug. 21 marked the two-year anniversary of her imprisonment on false charges, with no end in sight. She and her supporters are expanding the struggle to free her and other community police and political prisoners.
CALL: State Department press officer
Ask when John Kerry will issue a statement regarding Nestora’s incarceration.
Actions are also planned in several U.S. cities, including Aug. 21 rallies at Mexican Consulates in Los Angeles at 5 PM, San Diego at 7 AM and Seattle at 11 AM, plus a week-long series of events in Chicago where Nestora’s daughter, Grisel Rodriguez, will be speaking.
Solidarity actions are also planned in Mexico City and a large march will be held in Chilpancingo, the capital of Guerrero.
For more updates, follow our Twitter @free_nestora.
In one of the highest-profile stories about Nestora Salgado’s imprisonment yet, VICE News offers an informative account of her community policing efforts and subsequent arrest, her recent hunger strike, and the international efforts to end her incarceration (including a reference to this website). We encourage all of Nestora’s supporters to share this news story! We must spread the word if we hope to win her release!
An imprisoned U.S. citizen whose case has come to symbolize the Mexican government’s crackdown on community armed police forces in the state of Guerrero ended a month-long hunger strike on Thursday.
Nestora Salgado, who emigrated from Mexico and became a naturalized citizen in the US state of Washington, agreed to lift the hunger strike she began on May 5 to protest what she and international supporters called false charges of kidnapping and organized crime.
Salgado has been at the center of the struggle over public safety in Guerrero between state officials and grassroots community militias, which have sprung up in differing forms in states such as Michoacan.
We’ve received a promising update from San Diego:
June 3, 2015 (San Diego) Activists from multiple community groups arrived in front of the Mexican Consulate at 5 in the afternoon. They came expecting a response from the Consulate on the letter they turned in on Monday.
The group is committed to getting a response; their demand is the freedom of Nestora Salgado. While her imprisonment is no longer at the high security prison in Nayarit, but now at a mid-security prison in Mexico City, she remains in a hunger strike, now at the 30 day mark.
When they arrived outside the consulate they waited a short time and then they told the security guard they had an appointment with the Consul. They expected to be received by General Consul of Mexico in San Diego Remedios Gomez Arrau. Instead Alternate Consul Fernando Vargas received them.