This is the second of twelve biographies of defenders of the security system and indigenous justice system of the state of Guerrero; 12 posts put in the “12 Days in Defense of Our Lives and Freedom” campaign, against the climate of violence that prevails in Guerrero and the soaring use of targeting members with jail time because of the various manifestations of the Community Police. The campaign seeks to raise the voice for those men and women who have been victims of a justice system that on one hand leaves assaults, threats, and killings against activists and human rights defenders go unpunished, and on the other hand is attempting to coercively control the indigenous authorities who are promoting community justice.
Day 2: Ángel García García. First Commander of the House of Justice of Ayutla de los Libres, Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities-Community Police (CRAC-PC).
The legal systems of the indigenous peoples of the state of Guerrero are based on their worldview that integrates their way of social, political, and own cultural organization as having rights; the people and the communities must be respected as a multicultural, pluralistic, and democratic society.
Since before the formation of the National Government, indigenous communities had already had their own system of justice, which survives today in communities as internal regulatory systems; this, of course, does not imply that these systems are immutable or even idealized.
These internal regulatory systems include institutions, principle procedures and guidelines to ensure the safety and justice of the community. The protection of these systems is now recognized as a right of the peoples and communities, in legal instruments such as the 169th Collective Agreement of the International Labor Organization (OIT), and in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In this framework, experiences such as the CRAC-PC, that amidst the crisis of violence plaguing the country, stands as an alternative in regards to justice and security; governed by the internal regulatory systems of the indigenous peoples.
When talking about indigenous justice, the CRAC is and will remain the national and state model in the field; however, the State’s response has been to criminalize those who have organized, those who have organized to safeguard the integrity and security of their communities and to defend the collective rights of their people.
Such is the case of Ángel García García, 24, a Na Savi indigenous who is from the community of El Paraíso, municipality of Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero.
Ángel, the sixth of 10 brothers and sisters, is married and has a little boy who is three years old. He completed his basic education up until high school. Excited about furthering his studies and achieving his goal of becoming a teacher, Ángel sought out through various opportunities to be able to straighten out his studies. In 2006, he crossed the border and worked in the neighboring country in a vineyard and from 2009 to 2010; was the instructor of the National Committee for Educational Development (CONAFE) in the community of Tlacotepec, municipality of Eleodoro Castillo. Thus in 2011 he returned to Ayutla and enrolled in the National Pedagogic University (UPN); however, could not complete his studies due to a lack of economic resources, even when, at the same time, was working in a bakery in the capital of the municipality.
Faced with the difficulties of being able to support himself, he returned to his community in late 2011. Unfortunantely, his economic situation isn’t any better; Ángel doesn’t have his own land, so he has to share the lands that his father works on for the whole family.
From the moment that he returned, Ángel joined community jobs. Within a few months, he was appointed as Secretary of the Municipal Commissioner, and because of his dedication to the service, in 2012, he was appointed as Commander of the Community Police.
Ángel was arrested during the operations of August 21 in the community of El Paraíso, municipality of Ayutla de los Libres, during which 12 other members of the Community Police of the House of Justice of El Paraíso were also arrested. He finds himself deprived of freedom in the prison of Acapulco, accused of kidnapping, in the criminal case 191/2013 to be heard in the 4th Court of First Criminal Instance of the Judicial District of Tabares (Juzgado 4º de Primera Instancia del Ramo Penal del Distrito Judicial de Tabares), located in Acapulco, Guerrero.
|Arturo Campos (R) taken on August 27 when the army broke up a manifestation in the municipality of Cruz Grande|
Photo: Javier Verdín
Like many other indigenous peoples of the region, Ángel has dedicated much of his life in promoting and defending the rights of the indigenous peoples in order to preserve and maintain their own normative systems. In contrast, the state governs from the perspective of the Penal Code and intends to coercively control the community justice creating further conflict and polarization, as shown by the arrest of the activist and Director of the House of Justice of El Paraíso, Arturo Campos Herrera, who was arrested on December 1st, after the end of the presentation of the campaign “12 Days in Defense of Our Lives and Freedom” (12 Días por la Defensa de Nuestra Vida y Nuestra Libertad).