Nestora Salgado Vows – “We are still missing 500 Political Prisoners, and I am going to fight to get them out. “
After leaving prison, Nestora Salgado, leader of Community Police in Olinalá, Guerrero, said she will seek the release of "500 political prisoners." At the press conference held on Friday at the Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Centre, Nestora said, "We are missing 500 political prisoners, and I am going to fight to get them out … I’m going to manage the release of my colleagues. Wherever I might have to go to put a stop to it, there I’ll be, because I am with you in your struggle and all the struggles of the people."
However, she explained, first she will travel to the United States to address her health problems.
The Comandanta related part of what she went through in prison: "For 20 months, I was in solitary confinement, isolated, they made an example of me. They did what they could. It’s difficult to fight against a government when you are made an example, for defending our people … It is horrible that I have paid for a crime I did not commit, for having wanted to defend my people, my pueblo ['pueblo' refers both to the people and their village].
"It hurts me to have known the prisoners’ situation. They are beaten, punished. After paying with a conviction, they are still cruelly punished. Prisoners arrived at the hospital with their intestines torn apart by the police," she denounced. "I was charged with crimes I did not commit … we did not commit any crime, but we have a big weight in there. It is horrible psychological damage."
She held Ángel Aguirre, Guerrero’s former governor, responsible for the "terrible times" she lived through in prison. Nestora called on the government of Guerrero to release the remaining Community prisoners, and she asserted that she will initiate a "campaign for their freedom".
Regarding the allegations made against her by the activist Isabel Miranda de Wallace, she said: "May God forgive her. I have already forgiven her."
She critized some media for having criminalized her: "The media made me into an image of a kidnapper, a killer, a pickpocket … no sir, I am not a murderer. I am a mother who fights. I am not a criminal, and they imprisoned me unjustly."
"I hold my head up high, because I am not ashamed of anything," she said.
Salgado also sent a message to President Enrique Peña Nieto: "Tell the señor that he might respect our people and our Community Police, the pueblo does not defend criminals, and I ask support for our indigenous peoples."
Translated by Jane Brundage
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