Filed under: Indigenous, Land, Political Prisoners
This audio comes from Maria del Carmen García Vázquez, the partner of Indigenous Yaqui land defender and political prisoner, Fidencio Aldama Pérez. It gives an update on the recent appeal of his sentence and the next stages in his legal battle. For more information on the context of Fidencio’s arrest and the struggle in the community of Loma de Bácum in defense of their territory, see below.
Regarding the appeal in the case of Fidencio Aldama Pérez, the result was again negative. They again found Fidencio guilty. His sentence of fifteen years and six months was upheld. I just spoke with Fidencio Aldama’s lawyer. He is concerned because the judges who will decide the writ of amparo, they had returned Fidencio’s appeal case to the appellate court because the appellate judges had not reviewed Fidencio’s case. Nonetheless they found him guilty. The fact is that the appellate judges are supposed to have reviewed the case of Fidencio. However, they continue with the same attitude and with the same response, that Fidencio is guilty. Now the case of Fidencio will advance to the next legal stage, to the writ of amparo. The judges who will decide on the writ of amparo have already taken account of the fact that there are anomalies, there are injustices in Fidencio’s case. That is why they had returned the appeal.
Do you remember? I imagine that you do remember what I told you. I sent you all an audio about this. So now, to notify you all compañeros, that in the appeal process, the result was negative and he was again found guilty. Now we will go directly to the writ of amparo but I would like you to support us by applying pressure there in Mexico City, or wherever you are, to see what can be done with the imposition carried out by the governor, Claudia Pavlovic, imposing her will to continue saying that Fidencio is guilty. The appellate judges are still with the government, colluding with the government, and that is why the negative result came again.
So, if you can support us compañerxs, I don’t know, maybe applying pressure. You all know more about this than I because I have never been the wife of a political prisoner. Not until now. If you can support us by applying pressure. I would like to ask from the bottom of my heart that you help us. You all know that this time of the year, in December, is very sad when you have a family member far away. More so that he is in jail, and not with us. Not with our children. Not with me. Not with his family. It’s very sad and that is why I ask for your support. Nothing more. This message was to notify you all of what is happening in the case of Fidencio.
I send you all greetings and a strong embrace. All the good vibes I have left and my strength. Thanks for your support.
This audio comes from Maria del Carmen García Vázquez, the partner of Indigenous Yaqui land defender and political prisoner, Fidencio Aldama Pérez. It speaks to the context of Fidencio’s arrest, his current legal situation and the need for solidarity in helping free Fidencio Aldama.
My name is Maria del Carmen García Vázquez. My husband is Fidencio Aldama. He is a political prisoner of the Yaqui Tribe, from the town of Loma de Bácum, Sonora. We, the town of Loma de Bácum, are opposed to a gas pipeline that the government of the State of Sonora—the government of Claudia Pavlovich Arellano—wants to build.
On October 21st, Yaquis from the eight Yaqui towns arrived in our community. These Yaquis receive money and new cars from the government and from the pipeline company, Sempra Energy. These Yaquis came to attack our traditional guard, and to attack our community, as a means to impose their authority and move forward with the gas pipeline project. For unknown reasons, we as Yaquis and as Catholics, we say it is metaphysical; that day October 21st, they arrived and attacked our traditional guard and our community. Unfortunately, in that conflict, Cruz Huitimea Piña was shot and killed. As the result of bad luck, or due to destiny, Fidencio Aldama Pérez was accused of the murder. That day Fidencio Aldama Pérez was working as part of the traditional guard, what they call community security or community police in other Indigenous communities. He had a 45-caliber weapon. Cruz was assassinated with a 22-caliber weapon. You all can see the difference there. Fidencio had a 45-caliber weapon and Cruz was killed with a 22-caliber weapon.
On October 27th, 2016, a week after, or six days after, the prosecutor’s office asked our Indigenous authorities permission to interview or take statements from the people that were there part of the traditional guard the day of the conflict. They asked to speak with Fidencio. At the moment Fidencio got into the automobile, darkness took over. They took Fidencio, alongside the compañera, Anabella Carlon, and a lawyer named Merardo, to Obregon. There he was taken to the attorney general’s office, where they made him sign papers and where he was given an arrest warrant. At that moment, Fidencio said he wondered why his arrest warrant wasn’t given to him in front of the traditional guard, in front of the traditional authorities and the people of the community. He asked why he had to sign the papers. The investigating state police told him that everything would be fine. He thus signed because he didn’t have any other option.
After Fidencio signed the paperwork, he was taken to prison in Ciudad Obregon. Since October 27th, he has been there, deprived of his freedom, innocent. After four months, Fidencio had a hearing. There, witnesses were present who said he is guilty. A year later, the trial was held. During the trial, the witnesses they brought forward were people they had paid off. They were the same people who arrived and attacked our town on October 21st. They brought these witnesses as a means to keep Fidencio in prison. This would help to pressure the authorities to sign the passage of the gas pipeline. Fidencio was eventually sentenced to fifteen years and six months in prison.
Fidencio remains in prison. His words support and nourish us. He tells us to stay together, to continue fighting for our territory. He says if he has to be there imprisoned, that is not important. What is important is that we continue the struggle. However, there are days that he says to me, when I talk to him or visit him in prison, he says to me that he can’t continue there, that he doesn’t want to be there. “I want to leave, I want to be with my children. I want to be in my home,” he says. I want this all to end, but what can I do. All of this makes me very sad, but I can’t do anything.
Right now the lawyer, David Guadalupe Valenzuela, has submitted an appeal in the Court of Hermosillo, Sonora. They have three months or ninety days to resolve the appeal. Those three months end in June. Supposedly the lawyer also went to talk with the federal government—with the secretary of government—because there was the possibility of the Senator Nestora Salgado helping release political prisoners. However, it turned out that the case of Fidencio is in the hands of the Ministry of Interior Affairs; they have the case of Fidencio.
Just yesterday, the lawyer, David Guadalupe Vanzuela, sent me a message saying that the president’s office was going to take a look at Fidencio’s case. The president’s office has solicited all of the paperwork related to the case of Fidencio saying they were going to give priority to the case. We don’t know how honest that is.
I only ask those that listen to this audio, that you help me to get Fidencio free. If you can share this audio, or if you can help us with this struggle, I would be so grateful.
His children need a father. The pain is so powerful that sometimes it is impossible to endure. Either way, we are here and we continue the struggle. Thank you all for the support and hopefully you can share this audio to help free Fidencio Aldama. I send you all greetings and blessings.