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National Campaign
to Free Alvaro Now!

The trial of Alvaro Hernandez will be in Odessa, Texas after a change of venue from Alpine, in far west Texas. As soon as a definite trial date is set, it will be announced. Alvaro Hernandez is being tried on charges of aggravated assault on a sheriff and a city police. The real issues though are a person right to self defense against police abuse, conspiracy and terror.

The police in west Texas have a history of abuse, frame-ups and brutality against Alvaro going back to his days as a youth. Two sheriff deputies were convicted in Pecos federal court for criminal civil rights violations ensuing the brutal beating of Alvaro years ago. One of those unindicted co-conspirators who participated in Alvaro's beating is now sheriff of Fort Stockton, Texas. What punishment did the police receive? Five years probation! Never did they spend a day in jail! The system protects those who commit crimes against our Raza. As a result of that beating, Alvaro won a civil rights lawsuit against the police and the county of Pecos-a county notorious for being anti-Mexican ever since the legendary judge Roy Bean's "law west of the Pecos", a colonial judicial system designed to "legalize" land thefts and lynching of Mexicanos by gringo colonial settlers.

The authorities are trying to unlawfully imprison Alvaro Hernandez because he is not afraid to fight back and because he has stood firmly against all forms of injustices committed against la Raza, through his community based activism and organizing. On November 4, 1996, representing himself in court, first degree felony charges were dismissed against him because he proved his innocence in a police-prosecution plot to falsely imprison him through lies and withholding of evidence that cleared him of said false charges. If it hadn't been for those original false charges, Alvaro would not now be sitting in jail awaiting trial on other charges of alleged false police assaults. The police had been provoking Alvaro months prior to the confrontation he had with the sheriff, when the sheriff attempted to assault Alvaro with the sheriff's gun. It is common knowledge of police to assault citizens then turn around a file false assault charges on citizens to cover up police crimes. The Houston police murder of Jose Campos Torres is a classic example of such police crimes against our Raza. see also, Armando Morales' "Ando Sangrando" (I am bleeding) a study of Mexican-American police conflict.

Alvaro currently has civil rights lawsuits against the city of Alpine, the county, the sheriffs and police departments for false arrest, malicious prosecution, conspiracy, illegal search and seizure, inhumane jail conditions and mistreatment; also against Alpine state district judges for maintaining a history of discrimination and exclusion of Mexican -Americans from grand juries on the basis of race. Only a small percentage of Chicanos are selected to serve on grand juries in Alpine while 90% of felony indictments are against Raza in a county who's population is 50% Mexican-American. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed race discrimination against Chicanos in the landmark case of Hernandez vs. Texas, 347 U.S. 475(1954). Despite these laws, Chicanos in West Texas continue to this day to be systematically excluded and under represented in grand jury service. see, Flores vs. State, 783SW2d 793 (Tex-App-El Paso). Federal law (18USC Section 243) makes in a crime punishable by fine to exclude persons from grand jury service on the basis of race. In Alvaro's case, the federal government was made aware of violations of these laws by state judges. Because the federal government failed to enforce those laws, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno has been named as a party-defendant in Alvaro's lawsuit for discriminatory enforcement and denial of equal protection of the law. The entire criminal justice system in Alpine, and particularly throughout Southwest U.S. continues to be pervaded with racism against Raza-from the police house to the court house. see, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, March 1970 report; Mexican-Americans and the Administration of Justice in the Southwest.

Police continue to attempt to frame Alvaro with lies to hide the conspiracy against him. Some Alpine community members have not remained silent: barrio walls have been spray painted with "Free Alvaro" slogans.

The police, la migra, and the U.S. military continue to murder Raza every day, particularly in the border states (occupied territories) of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Arizona, and California. Such gross human rights abuses and genocide are on the rise. It is the product of this government's anti-immigrant, anti-Raza racist hysteria to blame us, and all poor and voiceless people's for the social economic goals of this society. History is repeating itself. Let us never forget this government's continuing policy of brutal repression, exploitation, lynchings and murders of Chicanos Mexicanos ever since the 1841 conquest and occupation of the U.S. Southwest; the genocide of Chicano youth by the imperialist Vietnam war; the police murders of 11 year old Santos Rodriguez-Dallas, Ervay Ramos-Alpine, Larry Lozano-Odessa, Ricardo Morales-Castorville, Jose Campos Torres-Houston, Ricardo Falcon-New Mexico, Los Seis de Boulder-Colorado, Ruben Salazar-East Los Angeles, and many more victims of state sanctioned police terror against our oppressed Raza, barrios, and communities.

Alvaro has a history of community based organizing on behalf of our Raza. He was in the process of organizing against police brutality in Alpine. That's the real reason the police began harassing him that ultimately led to all these false charges. We must not allow this unjust, oppressive and racist judicial system to bury Alvaro alive in one of its concrete tombs designed for the poor-its jail-prison cells. Texas has become the nations "prison house" for warehousing human beings, with more prisons and prisoners than any other state in the union, perhaps, more incarcerated person than Russia and South African. The majority being Chicano and Black prisoners. Prisons are now being operated like para-military institutions and it has become a lucrative money making business industry for state and private corporate profit. We must support Alvaro and defend our freedom fighters, our political prisoners.

The system keeps transferring Alvaro from solitary jails cell to cell, from Alpine to Odessa, to El Paso, in efforts to break his spirit of resistance, to disorganize his outside support, to prevent him from organizing inside the walls, and to silence his legitimate protests against the subhuman, inhumane living conditions that exist in West Texas county jails. The authorities fear Alvaro because he is not afraid of them, nor their threats, because of his sharp legal skills, and because he's an articulate spokesperson fro prisoners' rights and Chicano liberation. Alvaro is presently confined in the El Paso county jail. You can write directly to him to offer your messages of support and solidarity at:

Alvaro Hernandez, 7005911
El Paso County Jail
P.O. Box 125
El Paso, TX 79999

Join the National Campaign to Free Alvaro Hernandez Now! You can help by sending your financial donations by check or money order made payable to Free Alvaro Hernandez Now! Your donations will help pay legal defense fees and to produce other organizing materials on Alvaro's behalf.

Letters from Alvaro

March 18, 1997

Estimados Compañeras y Compañeros en la Lucha:

Yesterday morning a 33 year old Chicano, Juan Ernesto Franco, was found dead in one of the jail cell blocks. Today the medical examiner concluded that the prisoner had been murdered by strangulation. (Channel 9-KTSM, El Paso television) six prisoners are in segregation as "suspects" and jail authorities are putting the blame on "gang warfare" in here in the prison.

Although gangs are a way of life in here, the real issue is being obscured by authorities. The blame should be on the jail authorities for failure to provide a safe and secure jail environment, in this situation, more so, because jail authorities are under a current federal court decree in Smith vs. Sheriff Sullivan, El Paso County Jail, 611F.2d 1039 (5th cr. 1980) to provide such safe jail conditions. There exists a current level of violence, assaults, attacks, etc., that is alarming, and not only violates the court decree, amounts to cruel and unusual punishment that afflicts all of the jail inhabitants, but also deliberate crimes by the authorities and violates international human rights laws against the poor, voiceless, and oppressed class of prisoners here.

Believe me, it is not uncommon for jail prison authorities to have direct participation and involvement in such murders. For example, if you are a prisoners "disliked" by authorities, or a prisoner like myself considered a "trouble maker" or involved in the struggle inside ("jail house lawyer", or "leaders") authorities will use other prisoners, or place you in a situation that will cause injury or loss of life to "rid" the system of the "thorn" in their saddle, their business, industrial dynasty. The San Quentin prison assassination of George Jackson, Black Panther Party, Minister of Defense; the prison medical murder of Ricardo Flores Magon (los hermanos Magon) in Leavenworth prison; and the many of my comrades killed by prison authorities (or set-up to be killed) in our prison struggle in Texas. (see Ruiz vs. Estelle, 503 F.supp 1265 (1980)) is reality.

I know. Texas prison authorities tried to have me assassinated in the past many times. The sheriff in Alpine (Sheriff Jack McDaniel) was in the process of killing me on July 18, 1996, so I have no regrets, nor remorse of what happened in Alpine. You know of the history of brutal repression of liberation movement by the political police in the United States, FBI's COINTELPRO, and the government's program in the 60's, 70's to destroy the Chicano Movement, La Raza Unida Party, Los Seis de Boulder, the attacks on Escuela Tlaltelolco(Crusade for Justice), MAYO, and many more. The mother of the murdered prisoner, Estella Veva Franco, was on TV crying for her murdered son-jail authorities and the state of Texas' hands are right now dripping with the blood of Juan Ernesto Franco. May he rest in peace. We must rage on clarifying the issues, dialectically, for our Raza, and bring them into the class reality of how we must organize nationally to stop state crimes against our Raza and for our self-determination and our liberation. YA BASTA!

In the next week or so I will file documents with the federal court asking that jail authorities here be held in contempt of court for this level of violence, not with the expectation of "relief' (because courts protect the real criminals!), but to create an awareness with barrio Raza in El Paso to unite and mobilize against such injustices in here. The families and friends of prisoners must be reached and united in this lucha comun en contra del enemigo comun que nos trata como personas de segunda clase, vive de nuestra pobreza y explotación, y nos niega el derecho a la paz, la libertad, y auto-determinación y liberación!

I propose that a protest be staged outside this jail to demand my freedom, to call on families, friends of prisoners to unite under a common banner of struggle and to protest violations of human rights in here, when you all come down here for the proposed April 5 meeting in my case. A simple one page flyer should be put out an circulated in the barrio and to the local media-Channel 9, Channel 7, Noticias 26, El Paso Times, etc.

If they start chingando con migo next week call, write, or fax a complaint to these pigs about my safety and well being:

Jose Rodgriguez
County Attorney
500 E. San Antonio, rm. 203
El Paso TX, 79901
(915) 546-2050
fax: 546-2133

Sheriff Leo Samaniego
and / or Captain Ralph Mitchell
601 E. Overland
El Paso, TX 79941
(915) 546-2285

Jack E. Crump
Director- Texas Commission on Jail Standards
P.O. Box 12985
Austin, TX 78711
(512) 463-5505
fax: 463-3185

and inform other support people, groups, and raise hell! My only hope is in the mobilized power of the masses.

Venceremos en la Lucha,
Alvaro Hernandez Luna

Links

Chicano Mexicano Prison Project Alvaro Page


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