Divisions in Mexico's Indigenous Rights Movement in Wake of Nestora Salgado's Release
Stephen Durham - Freedom Socialist
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December 14, 2016

In Chilpancingo, Mexico, a march organized by the National Committee to Free Political Prisoners in Mexico calls for the release of the three community police members still in jail. (National Committee to Free Political Prisoners in Mexico)

Winning the release of imprisoned community police leader Nestora Salgado, jailed for two-and-a-half years in Mexico on trumped-up charges of kidnapping, was a thrilling victory for international working class solidarity, especially in a time of deep-seated reaction.

The “Free Nestora” campaign was a complete repudiation of Trump’s brand of racist, “America First” nationalism. It involved hundreds of individuals and groups on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border, and in other countries, who lent their time, talents, financial support and hearts to the struggle. Experts in international law, Salgado’s family in Mexico and the U.S., socialist parties, labor unions, U.S. immigrant rights activists, Mexican teachers, feminists, a U.S. congressman, and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Workers (the largest U.S. public workers union) all contributed to the victory — among hundreds of others.

Deserving special mention is the Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR) and its affiliates — Partido Obrero Socialista in Mexico, Núcleo por un Partido Revolucionario Internacionalista in the Dominican Republic, Partido Revolucionario de las y los Trabajadores in Costa Rica, and Freedom Socialist Party in the U.S. — for launching the international solidarity movement.

But of all the many contributors, no one gave more than José Luis Ávila, Salgado’s husband, who launched the effort to free her by staging hunger strikes at U.S. federal buildings, accompanied by her daughters, shortly after her arrest.

Sadly the movement that won Salgado’s freedom is today fractured. The fault lies with the Mexican government that lost no time sowing seeds of conflict within the community police in Guerrero. At the same time, it extended a helping hand to Salgado using one of its client indigenous organizations.

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