By Gloria Muñoz Ramírez
March 17, 2014
Translated by Scott Campbell
Day and night, Nestora Salgado García inhabits a dark world of artificial light. Fifteen days pass without seeing a ray of sunlight. She has no physical contact with anyone, she is only allowed a hug and cannot touch her daughter or her sister when they visit. Not even the guards speak to her. Instead of the four hours every 12 days for visits that she has the right to, after her family members pass the ordeal of security checks, they are left with only two and a half hours. She doesn’t have the recommended medication for the spinal problem she has suffered from for 12 years. In prison, Nestora lives in punishment for her bravery.
Nestora is an activist, a community leader who loudly and unabashedly denounced the local authorities of the municipality of Olinalá, in the mountains of Guerrero, of complicity with organized crime. Her role as coordinator of the Community Police was conferred upon her in an assembly. This legitimate law-enforcement mandate, recognized by the very government of Guerrero, led her to order, on August 16, 2013, the arrest of comptroller Armando Patrón Jiménez, accused of cattle rustling and of presumed participation in the killing of two farmers. The local official was transferred to the regional House of Justice to be processed according to a community system legitimized in the region for the past 18 years. This isn’t an apparatus of self-defense groups, but an entire system of security, prosecution and administration of community justice, upon which the state government has conferred legality and even financial support.