Gonzalo Molina, Ex-Political Prisoner and Member of the CRAC-PC, Missing (Mexico City, Mexico)

This communique comes from the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center and demands the safe return of Ex-political prisoner and member of the CRAC-PC, Gonzalo Molina, after he and three family members went missing in Mexico City on March 26th. The original in Spanish was published on the Tlachinollan website and can be found here.

We, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Center express our solidarity with Mrs. Hortensia Honorato, wife of Gonzalo Molina, promoter of the community police in Tixtla, Guerrero. According to information provided by social organizations who were with him on March 26th, 2019 in Mexico City, Gonzalo Molina and 3 members of his family were traveling in an uber when communication was suddenly lost, not knowing anything about his whereabouts. Gonzalo was released on February 28 and chose to leave the state of Guerrero because of telephone threats he began to receive, due to the work he has done and because of his systematic condemnation of the authorities who have links with organized crime.

During this time, he took the opportunity to receive medical attention for the deterioration of his health.  He testified about his struggle with UNAM students (in Mexico City). He also gave some interviews with the media, highlighting the situation of violence in the state and the continuing pattern of criminalization against community defenders.

Gonzalo Molina was arrested in October 2013 in a police operation and was presented to the public as a highly dangerous criminal. He has been a fierce defender of autonomous self-defense systems and community justice and a comrade in solidarity with people who have been unjustly detained. Gonzalo Molina faced 7 criminal trials for: kidnapping, carrying weapons, terrorism and for aggravated assault.  These were unfounded crimes that attempted to subdue and silence him. They transferred him to the medium security prison in Miahuatlán, Oaxaca to isolate him and leave him totally powerlessness.

For more than two decades, Gonzalo has maintained a firm commitment to the defense of community rights, which are under siege by organized crime groups and the threat of mining projects. In the city of Tixtla he denounced the collusion that exists between criminal groups and state agents. This breaking down of security institutions led him to promote the formation of a community police force in the Fortín neighborhood.  When Nestora Salgado was arbitrarily detained by the navy and the army, Gonzalo Molina led several protests to demand her freedom. These mobilizations were carried out by community police forces at the Ayutla City Hall and contributed to the government of the state focusing its persecution against the most visible leaders like Gonzalo Molina and Arturo Campos.

Gonzalo Molina’s defiant stance toward the government’s strategy of criminalizing the social struggle prompted him to be accused of terrorism, justifying his transfer out of the state of Guerrero. In spite of this persecution, Gonzalo has defended the community justice system at all times, claiming its autonomy and the right of people to organize, taking as a legal basis the collective rights recognized nationally and internationally.

The case of Gonzalo, like that of Marco Antonio Suástegui and Arturo Campos, are clear examples of how the justice system is used to punish those who defend the rights of the people.

They are placed in the forefront to show they represent a danger to social and political stability. Their commitment to the most unprotected population is based on the exercise of collective rights but has been stigmatized and stories are fabricated to discredit their legitimate struggle.

On February 28th, Gonzalo Molina was exonerated of the crimes he was charged with, demonstrating that his imprisonment was due to political reasons. He showed that the state justice system, instead of recognizing the work of the defenders, treats them as criminals in order to denigrate their struggle and discourage community organization.

We demand the authorities to carry out an immediate, timely, transparent investigation based on useful and scientific information to find Gonzalo Molina and the 3 members of his family alive, as well as the guarantees of security for his wife and other children.