This is the third 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.
Day 3: Samuel Ramírez Gálvez. Community Police member of the House of Justice of Zitlaltepec, Regional Coordinator of Community Authorities-Community Police (CRAC-PC).
Samuel Ramírez Gálvez, 18, is a young Na Savi indigenous originally from Zitlaltepec, municipality of Metlatónoc. The fourth of six children, he dedicates himself along with his family to work in the fields on the family farm, where they have a small farm of coffee and bananas. Like most youths from the Montaña region, particularly from Metlatónoc, Samuel did not complete his basic education.
Samuel, who speaks little Spanish, was appointed a part of the Community Police of Zitlaltepec on August 10, 2013; one of the few youths who have been appointed to this role at such a young age. His commitment towards community services originates from a family actively linked with the people. During the same community assembly in which Samue was elected as part of the Community Police, his mother, Beatriz Gálvez Macario, was elected as Coordinator of the House of Justice of Zitlaltepec, the first woman elected to this position in the history of this House of Justice. Mrs. Beatriz had previously held the title as Minister of the House of Justice for two years, and is one of the women of the CRAC who has been actively involved for over a decade; in promoting the human rights of women in Zitlaltepec.
Samuel has grown alongside the CRAC-PC during his life, and has been trained in a system of respect towards the habits and customs and legal systems of indigenous peoples of the community. In the state of Guerrero, the CRAC-PC is a collective body of native peoples, whose model of justice remains effective and successful; the paths and towns where the justice system of the CRAC prevails today are safe. There, you can walk and sleep peacefully, even when the operation of the Community Police has been persecuted and threatened by the authorities throughout its history. The CRAC has a regulation that has condensed the legal systems of the indigenous peoples who are in the community, without stifling the dynamism of the common law that by its very nature is oral and casuistic. This regulation is the framework for action of the Community Police and its coordinators.
Samuel was arrested along with 12 other Community Police of Zitlaltepec on October 6 of this year in Cochoapa El Grande, Guerrero. He finds himself deprived of liberty in the prison of Chilpancingo charged with criminal possession of a firearm that has exclusive use by the Mexican Army in the criminal case 61/2013 instructed by the 7th District Court of Chilpancingo, Guerrero. The other 11 Community Police officers who were arrested were released on bail on October 15, 2013.
The scale of the combined operations by those who have carried out arrests on defenders of the legal systems of the indigenous peoples and their speedy incarceration, contrasts sharply with the inefficiency with which the Guerrero authorities conduct their investigations launched for crimes committed against social activists and human rights defenders. For example, while no one has been punished in the forced disappearance, torture, and extrajudicial killing of Raúl Lucas Lucía and Manuel Ponce Rojas on February 2009-among the many other cases of assaults and murders of activists and human rights defenders- Indigenous people of the same Na Savi village are criminalized. Such is the case of Arturo Campos Herrera, who on December 2nd was arbitrarily and without any justification arrested the day before (December 1st), transferred to a federal maximum security prison by the government of the state of Guerrero, with the complacency of the Federation, with the clear aim of impeding his defense and to weaken and intimidate the community justice systems, who have legitimate roots in the community and in the state, national, and international regulatory frameworks.