(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.
Following are Johnson’s Feb. 24 letter and the WSLC resolution urging that the U.S. government take action to urge Mexican officials to release Nestora Salgado:
Dear Secretary Kerry:
On behalf of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and our 425,000 affiliated union members, I have enclosed a resolution passed at our February 6, 2014 Executive Board meeting titled, “Campaign to Free Nestora Salgado.” This resolution asks you to take “immediate and rigorous action to secure Ms. Salgado’s release from a Mexican prison.”
We believe Ms. Salgado, a resident of Renton, Washington, is being falsely charged with kidnapping the local sheriff of Olinala, Mexico. In fact, a democratically elected community police force, under Ms. Salgado’s supervision, arrested the sheriff of Olinala on charges of corruption. The people of Olinala have been terrorized by drug traffickers and exploited by mining companies who have operated under the protection of Olinala’s sheriff.
We ask you to do everything within your power to help secure Ms. Salgado’s release so that she and others can continue help build and strengthen the community of Olinala.
Thank you for your consideration of this request.
Jeffrey G. Johnson
Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO
RESOLUTION ENDORSING CAMPAIGN TO FREE NESTORA SALGADO
Approved by the WSLC Executive Board on Feb. 6, 2014
WHEREAS, Nestora Salgado is a resident of Renton, Washington, a naturalized U.S. citizen, and an indigenous leader imprisoned in Tepic, Mexico; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Salgado and the indigenous citizens of her hometown of Olinalá, Mexico, decided to defend themselves from drug traffickers, corrupt politicians, and exploitation by mining companies by organizing their own legally-sanctioned, democratically-elected community police force with Ms. Salgado as their coordinator; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Salgado’s duties included working to reduce domestic violence and child abuse and engaging in conflict resolution and community building; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Salgado was jailed and falsely charged with kidnapping after community police officers under her command arrested the sheriff of Olinalá on theft charges and she insisted he stand trial like every other citizen; and
WHEREAS, Ms. Salgado is being denied medicine and medical attention in jail; and
WHEREAS, over 120 organizations and individuals have endorsed the campaign to free Nestora, including the Seattle Human Rights Commission, Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 8, Washington Federation of State Employees Local 304, Puget Sound Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, Puget Sound Coalition of Labor Union Women, the National Lawyers Guild, Central Puget Sound Carpenters Union Local 30, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) San Francisco Chapter, United American Indians of New England, and the Seattle Martin Luther King Celebration Committee 2013-2014; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council endorses the “Libertad para Nestora/Freedom for Nestora” campaign and urges affiliated organizations to do the same; and be it finally
RESOLVED, that the Washington State Labor Council urge the U.S. State Department to take immediate and rigorous action to secure Ms. Salgado’s release.
Short URL: http://www.thestand.org/?p=30008
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