Nestora Salgado’s message to the compañeros of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero on the September 2014 assassination of at least 28 teacher’s college students

Thursday, October 2, 2014

From the maximum security prison en Tepic, Nayarit

What’s up, compañeros. Here I am in this prison. This is Nestora Salgado García

I send warm greetings, although for now only with my heart and in my thoughts I join you compañeros de Ayotzinapa in all that has taken place. I want to ask you not to be discouraged but instead ask you to join together stronger because we must always be united in difficult times. Oftentimes we become united only in difficult times but we must please always be united. This is why, compañeros, we must always be in constant communication because on some days we come together for some and other days we join together for others.

We know well that the government of Guerrero is very abusive and repressive. In power, they abuse authority. The governor and the whole government is abusive. Clear proof of this is my case. They have been abusing me as much as possible, even mistreating me in this prison. I have declared that the governor of Guerrero has determined to keep me here, knowing full well that I am innocent and that he is violating the constitution of Mexico.

We did not make the laws, like the 701 law which the Guerrero government does not respect. We ask only that this law be upheld along with Article 2 of the Mexican Constitution. But I ask only that you, young people of Guerrero, please know that now is the time that we must raise our voices and we must be heard now because if not now, then never.

Do your best, muchachos, continue studying and preparing yourselves because we all know that the government wants us to remain ignorant and backward. That is why they promote and protect the criminals. That is why they harbor the drug dealers. Why? They want to keep los muchachos drugged and powerless. No muchachos recharge your batteries and let’s show them that we are intelligent and that we can overcome.

Please, muchachos, keep studying and let’s struggle together and defend our state and show that we will not remain in the hands of vultures like those in power now who have done as they desired with us, including carrying out assassinations.

Look what they have done to me in fabricating charges that they know perfectly well are false. They have someone who says that I am a kidnapper, but they do not listen to my witnesses which number in the thousands—witnesses who testify that I am not a kidnapper and no criminal. Why don’t they listen to my witnesses? An entire town is witness that I am not a criminal and have fought for me, and yet the governor of Guerrero is not interested in this. He is not interested in what the people say. He just continues to lie that I am a criminal in a clear abuse of power. This is the abuse of corrupt officials. Court judges haven’t even responded to the legal filings of my lawyers, not even responded, nothing. No response–just complete silence. Why? Because all these people are mixed up in the same outfit; because they are equally corrupt; because I should not be here in prison. I should be free, but those in power keep me here.

But, compañeros, you I embrace and I am with you in prayer. To all of you I plead: stand in unity with the muchachos de Ayotzinapa. Do not leave them alone at this time and don’t let them do as they wish with them. They have always been peaceful. They never took up arms. There is no justification for them to be killed and missing. No reason at all!

I stand with you compañeros. I am with you and will always be in spirit. I would love to be there with you in this fight, to join you on the front lines, all of you together. For now, though, I join you with my prayers from this prison.

The day they arrested me I was on my way to help the compañeros in Tlatauquitepec, This unfortunately was my luck, given what the government had prepared from me. So, I am here. I stand in solidarity with you. Please don’t lose faith or be afraid. This is the struggle and we will go forward.

Compañeros of the Politécnico, I, Nestora Salgado, send you greetings. You have my deep appreciation for the support you have given the Ayotzinapa compañeros. I send you greeting, hoping you know about me. Here I am and someday we will be in the same struggle together.

Thanks so much for your continued support for the Ayotzinapa compañeros. Don’t leave them alone. To gather strength, please continue preparing yourselves and studying.

So compañeros, thanks a lot and may God bless you.

From here I send you a warm embrace.

Nestora Salgado García, political prisoner

Member of Coordinadora Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias-Policía Comunitaria.

Legisladores de México y Estados Unidos piden por la libertad de Nestora y Suástegui

The following post originally appeared in an article in the publication El Sur:

agosto 11, 2014
Declaración de Smith sobre llamada telefónica con el Embajador de E.U. sobre el caso de Nestora Salgado
Washington, D.C. – El día de hoy, el diputado Adam Smith habló con el embajador de Estados Unidos en México, Earl Anthony Wayne, sobre el caso de Nestora Salgado. La señora Salgado es residente de Renton, Washington, quien fue arrestada por su liderazgo en un grupo de policía comunitaria en su natal Olinalá en el estado de Guerrero, el cual tiene una larga tradición de grupos de defensa comunitaria legalmente reconocidos. Nestora fue injustamente arrestada por ejercer los derechos garantizados a su comunidad indígena por la constitución mexicana, dijo el diputado Adam Smith. Esto no sólo ha sido reconocido por cortes federales, sino que un juez federal ha ordenado su liberación inmediata de la prisión de máxima seguridad donde se encuentra debido a que los cargos por crímenes federales le han sido retirados. A pesar de esta orden, ella permanece detenida en condiciones inaceptables y no ha se le ha otorgado un proceso legal adecuado. Estados Unidos debe hacer más por presionar a las cortes del estado de

Guerrero para que agenden un juicio inmediatamente o que la liberen de acuerdo a la decisión de las cortes federales. El 18 de abril, el diputado Smith mandó una carta al secretario [de asuntos exteriores] Kerry donde le apremia a garantizar que Nestora reciba el debido proceso y que llame la atención sobre sus deplorables condiciones en prisión. Smith también ha acompañado a la familia de Nestora y a su representación legal en una conferencia de prensa en la Universidad de Seattle para llamar la atención sobre su caso y abogar por su libertad.

La diputada federal Rosario Merlin García, clamó por los presos
La diputada federal perredista, Rosario Merlin García, demandó al gobierno estatal y federal la libertad del promotor de las autodefensas y vocero del Cecop, Marco Antonio Suastegui Muñoz. “Estamos aquí con la finalidad de rechazar y exigir no a la criminalización de los luchadores sociales, defensores de derechos humanos y por la libertad de Marco Antonio Suástegui Muñoz, además del esclarecimiento de los homicidios de nuestros compañeros luchadores sociales. “Como el caso de nuestra compañera Rocío Mesino (líder de la Organización Campesina de la Sierra del Sur) cuyo asesinato no se ha esclarecido, por eso exigimos al gobierno de (Enrique) Peña Nieto, que lo haga. Acompañada por colonos, organizaciones sociales, representantes de las comunidades y de la OCSS, el ex diputado Rómulo Reza Hurtado, transportistas agrupados en la CETIG, la diputada federal, exigieron al Secretario de Gobernación Miguel Ángel Osorio, la libertad inmediata del líder del CECOP y al mismo tiempo de la coordinadora de la CRAC en Olinalá Nestora Salgado García.
El SUR, 7 enero 2012

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.

Gunmen kill a woman traveling with them. Members are asking for protection for Nestora Salgado’s daughter and sister

Originally appeared in La Jornada, June 3, 2014. Translated for posting on this website.

Members from the PRD and PT reported that they will request precautionary measures on behalf of the sister and daughter of Nestora Salgado. Yesterday, while traveling to Mexico City to give a press conference, the bus they were traveling on was stopped by armed men who took a passenger who resembled both women, and shot her four times.

Rep. Roberto Lopez (PRD) confirmed that this is not an isolated incident because Nestora Salgado’s family has to make the trip from Olinalá, Guerrero to Mexico City and then take another bus to Tepic, Nayarit, in order to visit her in the maximum security prison in which she is located.

Legislators explained that the Interior Ministry should ensure the safety of Salgado’s family, and they indicated that they will demand her transfer to a prison in Mexico City, in order to ensure that it has appropriate measures for her imprisonment.

On her part, Rep. Loretta Ortiz Ahlf (PT) considered it “incredible”  that nine months after her arrest, without a warrant , Nestora Salgado still does not have legal counsel, because authorities from the Northeast Women’s Center in Tepic, have not allowed contact with Emiliano Gomez Mont, who was hired by an NGO and a U.S. university.

”No one was present when the statement was made, a key moment in which the consul (U.S.) and the lawyers should have been,” she said, referring to the fact that Nestora Salgado has U.S. citizenship and yet the U.S government has not aided.

She said that during the visit, the former coordinator of the Community Police from Olinalá confided that she “does not believe in justice within the Mexican government and requests the U.S. governments exercise of diplomatic protection action, because judicial authorities here are not reliable and fears for her life.”

She also added that ”Salgado’s arrest was made without notice to the consul. Not only is consular assistance a right, but so is notification of when liberty is deprived. It doesn’t matter where it is, it needs to be done immediately.”

Translated by Nathaly Fernandez

Freedom for Nestora News Bulletin

The Freedom For Nestora Committee – Seattle has prepared a newsletter for April, highlighting the progress of Nestora’s case such as a Mexican federal court dismissing federal charges of “organized crime” against Nestora, bringing her closer to freedom.

To read about this and other updates on the case, click here.

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

La difícil batalla para liberar a Nestora Salgado

Fred Hyde

Nestora Salgado es ciudadana naturalizada de los Estados Unidos y líder indígena en su pueblo natal de México, Olinalá, Guerrero. El verano pasado, las autoridades mexicanas la encarcelaron debido a falsos cargos relacionados con su función de líder electa de la policía comunitaria de Olinalá, la cual defiende a la gente contra los violentos carteles de las drogas y contra los funcionarios corruptos.

La campaña de bases para liberar a Nestora es parte de una cruenta batalla contra el neoliberalismo. Durante las últimas décadas, EEUU ha participado en muchos planes, tratados y alianzas con México con el fin de abrir los mercados para EEUU garantizando así los suministros de petróleo y, supuestamente, para combatir el narcotráfico. La realidad es que la “Guerra contra las drogas” de Washington ha servido para proteger las ganancias de las corporaciones transnacionales y de los bancos extranjeros, incluyendo miles de millones de dinero lavado del tráfico de drogas.

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