U.S. delegation travels to Mexico to demand freedom for Nestora Salgado.
The U.S. Campaign to Free Nestora Salgado is sending a delegation, including Salgado’s daughter Grisel Rodriguez, to Mexico City on May 31 in an urgent effort to win Salgado’s release. She has spent nearly two years in prison, despite a Mexican federal judge’s order to release her.
The delegation will speak at a press conference on Monday, June 1, 12:00pm (Central Time) at the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (Center Prodh) in Mexico City. The families of other Mexican political prisoners will also be present. The delegation plans to visit the U.S. embassy to request a copy of Mexico’s notification to the U.S. that Salgado had been arrested. Requests for this information by the family have so far been unsuccessful. If Mexico did not officially notify the embassy of the arrest, then under international law she would have to be released or a new case would have to be filed. The Guerrero state prosecuting attorney is blocking Salgado’s release since all federal charges were dropped.
Salgado began a hunger strike on May 5. A naturalized U.S. citizen, she has been a political prisoner in Mexico since August 21, 2013 when she was arrested on charges that were later dismissed related to her leadership role in the Community Police in Olinalá, Guerrero. This volunteer force coordinated local residents to defend themselves against violence by drug cartels and corrupt officials. Community Police have legal standing under federal and Guerrero state laws that protect the rights of indigenous populations.
After her 2013 arrest, Salgado’s husband, José Luis Avila of Renton, Washington, launched his own hunger strike in front of the United Nations. Since then, an international movement demanding Salgado’s freedom has grown throughout Latin America, the U.S., Europe and Australia.
In the last three weeks, Mexico City and the state of Guerrero have been the sites of numerous protests and solidarity actions with Salgado, including a hunger strike begun May 13 by Arturo Campos and Gonzalo Molina, who are other imprisoned Community Police leaders from Guerrero.
The hunger strikes, protests and calls by various international organizations to address Salgado’s poor medical condition finally produced a promise by the Mexican Secretary of the Interior to transfer Salgado from a remote maximum security prison in Nayarit state to a women’s prison in Mexico City where she could receive medical attention and visits from her family. Many deadlines for the transfer were missed.
This morning the Comité Nestora Libre announced Salgado has arrived at Tetetan women’s prison in Mexico City — a hard-won victory for the Free Nestora movement. The delegation to Mexico will still take place and is calling on groups to hold protests at Mexican consulates to coincide with the June 1 press conference in Mexico City. ¡La lucha continua!
To watch the press conference click here.
About the Delegation
Grisel Rodriguez is the youngest of Nestora’s three daughters and the mother of two. She is a strong feminist and a tireless leader in the fight for her mother’s freedom, working with the Seattle committee.
Stephen Durham is co-coordinator of Campaign to Free Nestora Salgado – New York City. He is Acting International Secretary of the Freedom Socialist Party with strong connections to Latin America.
Tricia Coley is a founding member of the Freedom for Nestora Committee in Seattle. A militant unionist and civil rights defender, she will bring solidarity messages from several U.S. labor organizations.
Daniel Vila Rivera, originally from Puerto Rico, hosts “La Voz Latino” radio program on WBAI in New York City. He is a veteran organizer for tenants, immigrants and labor.
Alejandro Hernandez, a student and immigrant rights activist from Mexico, is a member of Ayotzinapa Committee for Justice – Chicago.
About the U.S. Campaign to Free Nestora Salgado
The Campaign is a grassroots effort with committees in various U.S. cities. Launched in Seattle with Salgado’s family in 2013, it has coordinated protests at Mexican consulates and international solidarity actions in August 2014. The Campaign assisted the U.S. tour of parents protesting the disappearance of 43 student activists in Ayotzinapa, Mexico. The Campaign calls for the end of all U.S. military aid to Mexico.