Self-defense: María Guadalupe Pereda Moreno

Originally published in Spanish on alLímite

By Mexican Activist Julián Contreras Álvarez1

Translated into English with author permission

On October 14 of this year a young Law student, of 19 years old was arrested, Maria Guadalupe Pereda Moreno alleged responsible of a murder crime. According to media reports, threatened by her former partner, attorney Carlos Balderas of 37 years old, with a gun during an argument outside Pereda Moreno’s home who disarmed and shot him to death three times; information provided by the authorities themselves realize a history of domestic violence by Carlos Balderas, in life, against the today detained.

The case is socially relevant because of the judiciary and political implications, whatever the sense of judgment that drives the prosecution in the next hours against the detained: either intentional homicide, negligent homicide (excess of legitimate self-defense), or by homicide in legitimate self-defense (justification that causes that eliminates unlawfulness)

If the prosecutor establishes a charge of intentional homicide, involve the following:

1. The denial of the version of the facts provided by the press, in the sense of a probable legitimate defense. Denial from which it follows the prosecutor proceedings and that the accused could certainly appeal if these do not correspond to the facts.

2. The denial of a legit self-defense, in the facts given by the press, as a justification of the offense; which at first instance also can be counteracted, where, from a gender perspective, it would be key.

In my view, in the first case, even if the proceedings were correct, the society would give greater credit to the press version than to the prosecutors; in the second case, a population ravaged by violence in its various manifestations, I would consider more legitimate the answer of a young abused previously and repeatedly: three shots against an abuser it cannot be read as excess in an area where extreme violence against women keep them up in a constant fear and even terror (last week the press reported brutal murders against 5 women in less than 36 hours in this town).

In both cases, the authority faces considerable social disavowal (that heavily depends on the press coverage on Pereda Moreno’s case) with possible and desirable protest actions. The rejection will be based on distrust more than justified by the cumulative discredit of the justice institutions, locals and nationals, that in a quarter of century and systematic attacks against the women of this border, have been characterized by their omissions, collusion and frank protection of criminals, especially of those with high profile closer to the established power.

Our student partner, in both cases, faces a trial whose penalty would go from 8 to 20 years in prison, depending on the mitigating and aggravating that consider the Judge in his decision or judgment.

Moreover, if the prosecutor establishes an indictment for manslaughter or the judge discarded it, after an argument against the accusation of homicide opting for the wrongful, it would imply that if faced an excess in the answer because of the aggression could remain within the framework of legitimate defense, but without diluting the unlawfulness and therefore a penalty, but attenuated response.

Under the Criminal Code of the State of Chihuahua, the penalty for murder with an excess of legitimate defense is a quarter of that willful, thing that could make her face a possible penalty of 2 to 5 years in prison, and if the sentence is less than 3 years she could obtain her freedom with a suspended sentence. If this were the case, the political pressure in general of relatives, friends, partners, feminists and activists could play an important role for her freedom.

Finally, if it’s established that the murder was in legitimate defense, Pereda Moreno would be released without penalty. But we must say that legally this is the most difficult given the lack of gender perspective at the time of solving these kind of cases and notwithstanding the political struggle of women has made the law obliges according to their consideration. Recurrent criteria ‘rationality of the means employed’ merely confined to an immediate context of the fact, without mediate considerations such as gender, class or race, put our colleague in an adverse scenario. It is important to consider that her legal defense turn on consideration of the facts as legitimate defense to ensure the implementation of a gender perspective. For this, it would be essential, resume not just legal but also politically, the contributions of Amicus Curiae2 presented by the Human Rights Commission of the Federal District and Liberation Committee of Yakiri Rubio, an important precedent in this type of cases.

The more likely is it that, first, the authority denies the cause as justification alleging that the three shootings were disproportionate or, in the worst of the scenarios, that Pereda Moreno wasn’t anymore, in a situation of defense. These considerations of a purely formal character, deny, as already mentioned, the mediate context where it can be explained the “legally disproportionate” answer and out of a restricted defense framework.

The jurisprudence regarding a legitimate defense, had been a cold interpretation, promptly, which strictly application to the women raises moral and political injustice, because in a mediate level , not considered repeatedly the application of law, the real constant existence against women of our city, and in general in the country, put them in a constant defensive position. The demand for a broader interpretation considering gender, which already requires the law, poses a methodological problem to overcome the risk of falling into a relativism that will end in other injustices that is designed to prevent them. Against this legal problem, the duty of give solution is mainly of jurists, as is ensuring a fair trial, with a gender perspective, for Pereda Moreno.

The primary duty of us is demand justice and not allows the strict application of the law without the gender considerations that requires the authority.

But beyond what the law may say and interpretation of it, María Guadalupe Pereda must be defended, firstly from moral and political criteria, considering that this act was not only fair and decent, but politically relevant for women empowerment and their right to self-defense, in a highly aggressive context that is tolerated, fomented and built by an openly criminal State.

We must defend our colleague Maria Guadalupe Pereda Moreno because the current court system in the state of Chihuahua will not grant justice. We must defend her because it is unlikely that the Mexican State will consider the law student’s actions to be a legitimate act of self-defense, not only for alleged legal reasons, but also for political reasons, while her behavior sends a message of weariness and indignation against patriarchal violence and at the same time calls for a worthy self-defense in a society where the law of the strongest prevails. Maria Guadalupe’s actions openly and courageously confront this State of Exception where not even the most basic human rights are respected

The freedom of the student Maria Guadalupe Pereda, as in Yakiri Rubio emblematic case, must be demanded by the women’s movement and everyone in general who aspire to justice and emancipation of mankind. The call should be to the creation of a committee for the liberation of our colleague.


1 Originally from Nuevo Casas Grandes, Chihuahua. Bachelor of Literature, Law student and Master in Literary Studies. Militant of the Revolutionary Socialist League.

2Amicus Curiae. Latin term meaning “friend of the court”. The name for a brief filed with the court by someone who is not a party to the case. Copyright 1998-2008 David Carney, dba Tech Law Journal. All rights reserved. Retrieved October 18, 2015 from

#RefugeeStruggle: ‘We Have Rights as Human Beings’


Excerpt from “Who’s Coming North? – Migrants’ Journeys Through Mexico”

Jorge has already been deported once from the US. His crime, a very serious one according to US authorities, was to work at a car wash.

“There’s not slavery like there was before, but there’s more deaths now,” he said. “They make slaves out of undocumented people, and once the work is done, they kick them out of the country.”

He’s lived more than eight months in the shelter, helping construct a dormitory for unaccompanied children and preparing to make the dangerous journey north to be with his wife and three kids, who are still in the US. He stayed longer than he planned to at La 72 because he believes in what they’re doing and because he wants to help others like himself on their journey.

“Here they give people help, a roof to sleep under, food, security, and they treat people in a dignified way,” he said. Continue reading

I Want to Live as if I Wasn’t a Criminal


Excerpt from “Who’s Coming North? – Migrants’ Journeys Through Mexico”

Wendy is just 17 years old, but she walked three days alone along the same route where Edwin and his friends were robbed by masked paramilitaries. As an unaccompanied minor making the dangerous journey north, she joins the ranks of what the UN has termed “children on the run,” the more than 60,000 underage migrants coming to the US every year without an adult to guide them.

“My family doesn’t care what happens to me,” she said. “They’re just not interested.”

Like roughly 80 percent of the migrants passing through La 72, Wendy is from Honduras. She says the economic situation and increasing security concerns have made the country all but unlivable.

“The law in my country doesn’t work. The cops don’t help you, you have to pay them first. Every day there’s more crime committed by the police,” she told me. “Someone has to do something.”

Her main goal in leaving Honduras, what she hopes to accomplish in the US, is to get an education. Continue reading

Statement of Solidarity With The Eaton Maquiladora of Juarez city

The caption reads: “EATON workers choose zero abuse; we are outside the maquiladora and we aren’t going to move’

The caption reads: “EATON workers choose zero abuse; we are outside the maquiladora and we aren’t going to move’

Written in Spanish by Julián Contreras Alvarez, and translated with the author’s permission.


The unjustified dismissal of close to 50 workers from the EATON maquiladora in Juarez City, in response to demands for a fair dividend for profit shares, has forced 38 workers into an indefinite sit-in, as of June 9th, to demand reinstatement, payment of lost wages, a fair profit-share dividend, and arising from the needs of this fight, an independent union to look out for the interests of the workers at the maquiladora. On Friday 19th, the forty-ninth worker was fired after shouting “Strike!”, interrupting production at the middle of the line, and joining his co-workers’ resistance.

The workers have proven their great organizational skills, wearing red shirts embossed with the words “I choose zero abuses”; they have maintained their sit-in on the sidewalk outside the factory for two-weeks now, even as temperatures reach around 40 degrees Celsius. They can be seen at Hermanos Escobar Avenue and Rafael Pérez Serna leafleting, flying their banners, and calling for solidarity with their struggle.

The response of the workers inside the factory has begun to worry management. There have been some intermittent stoppages in solidarity with the workers’ sit-in. The first of these was for two hours this past Friday, and it was led by the only 20 women employed in the plant. To discourage workers from interrupting production, management has instructed the personnel department to disqualify the workers arbitrarily dismissed for demanding their rights. [Translators’ Nota Bene, “disqualification” can adversely affect the possibility of a settlement for the dismissed workers under Mexican labor law.] Continue reading

Ayotzinapa: 100 Days of Rage, Sorrow and Struggle in Guerrero

Posted in Upside Down World

By Andalusia Knoll

Mexico has not been the same since the forced disappearance in Iguala, Guerrero of 43 Normalista students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College on September 26, 2014.  Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand that the students be returned alive and also to denounce political corruption and the “Narco-Government.” The Southern state of Guerrero has been the epicenter of these protests and a wide range of actions including citizen searches, takeovers of tollbooths, a statewide caravan, the burning of government buildings, and more.

Since the disappearance of 43 students from the Raul Isidro Burgos Ayotzinapa School and the extrajudicial killing of 3 students, Julio Cesar Ramirez Nava, Daniel Solis Gallardo and Julio Cesar Mondragon at the hands of the police, students have suspended classes.


With photos of their missing children in hand, family members of the Ayotzinapa students marched in Acapulco a little over one month after the disappearance of their children. The involvement of municipal police in the attack has led the phrases “It was the state” and “narco-state” to become popular vernacular. Continue reading

[English Subtitled Film] El Violin

El Violin


El violín narra la historia del octagenario Plutarco, su hijo Genaro y su nieto Lucio, quienes llevan una doble vida, pues además de ser músicos rurales y campesinos, participan en la guerrilla que planea levantarse en armas contra del gobierno opresor durante la Guerra sucia en México. Cuando llega el ejército al pueblo los guerrilleros huyen y abandonan las municiones y se van al bosque. Con su apariencia inofensiva de músico anciano, Don Plutarco Hidalgo (interpretado por Ángel Tavira) tiene el plan de recuperar las armas escondidas en su parcela de maíz.

English Translation:

The violin is the story of octogenarian Plutarco, his son Genaro and his grandson Lucio, who lead double lives; rural musicians and farmers, but also supporters of guerrillas who plan to take up arms against the oppressive government of Mexico and its Dirty Wars. When the army reaches their village, the guerrillas  are forced to flee leaving behind ammunition and hiding in the forest. With the innocent appearance of an old musician, Don Plutarco Hidalgo (played by Ángel Tavira) has a plan to recover the weapons hidden on his plot of corn.
For More Information Visit: El Violin

Zapatista Support Bases Under Attack: Call for a Week of National and International Solidarity

Following recent events in Chiapas, the Network for Solidarity and against Repression has urged “adherents to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, and every organization, collective, and honest person in Mexico and the world who, from your own places, extend your embrace to the dignified rage of the Zapatistas,”  to participate in the Week of National and International Solidarity, “If they touch the Zapatistas, they touch all of us”, to be held from February 16 to 23, to “denounce the counterinsurgency war” and express that “the Zapatista communities are not alone.”

This call results from great concerns about recent events, denounced by the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center as: “the Chiapas government’s failure to prevent attacks on the support bases of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) from the 10 de Abril community,” leading to “an imminent possibility of new attacks and an intensification of the violence, which would be a risk to life and personal integrity, in addition to the violations of the right to territory and autonomy of the Zapatista peoples.”

These events came to light on January 31, when the Zapatista Good Government Junta, Heart of the Rainbow of Hope, from Caracol IV, and Whirlwind of our Words (based in Morelia, Chiapas) denounced new aggressions suffered by Zapatista support bases (BAZ). The attacks were made on the iconic Zapatista community of 10 de Abril in the autonomous rebel municipality 17 de Noviembre, by groups of government supporters belonging to the group Independent Center of Agricultural and Campesino Workers (CIOAC) Democratic, from the nearby Tojolabal community of 20 de Noviembre. Six BAZ members were injured, three of them seriously, and one is in danger of losing his sight. Furthermore, a shocking attack also took place on staff from the San Carlos Hospital in Altimirano who came to give assistance, but were attacked and prevented from attending to the injured.

Background to Events in 10 de Abril

One of the most remarkable achievements of the Zapatistas following the historic uprising of January 1, 1994, one which transformed the lives of tens of thousands of indigenous people, was the reclamation, or recuperation, of huge areas of land and territory. As in many cases prior to 1994, the BAZ of what is now the ejido (communal landholding) of 10 de Abril worked their ancestral lands, taken from them after the Spanish conquest, as paeons or servants of the landowners who used the lands for cattle ranching, and treated their workers with abuse and contempt. Following the uprising, the serfs descended from the rocky hillsides to the fertile valley and reclaimed their heritage. In March 1995 they set up the community of 10 de Abril (named in honor of Emiliano Zapata, assassinated on April 10, 1919,) and worked their own land again in community as free men and women. They now use their land to grow crops including coffee, corn, beans, vegetables and bananas, and have declared the rest, which is forest and mountain and rich in unusual species, to be an ecological reserve. Continue reading

Harrowing Photographs of Migrants Making the Perilous Journey Through the Arizona Desert

Harrowing Photographs of Migrants Making the Perilous Journey Through the Arizona Desert

by Julia Sabot on October 24, 2013 ·

Matt Nager

Forty-three year old Acevedo Guadalupe-Herrera from Ahuacatitlan, Guerrero, Mexico, lays unconscious surrounded by medical officials next to a ranch off Elephant Head Road near Green Valley, Arizona, August 8, 2009. Guadalupe-Herrera was found by a ranch hand and was presumed to be dead, although he recovered with the help of IV fluids and medical attention. He had been walking for five days with little water and no food.

After the creation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, the US made several attempts to stymie and fortify undocumented movement in established crossings zones beginning with the introduction of Operation Gatekeeper in San Diego, and Operation Hold The Line in El Paso, Texas. One intended and reported result of the operation was to funnel undocumented movement into geographically inhospitable areas of the Sonora desert in Arizona in an attempt to deter potential migrants from crossing the border.

As a result of the longer and hotter path through the desert in Arizona, border deaths in this region have increased dramatically. A study by the Bi-national Migration Institute states that from 1990 to 2012, the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner examined the remains of 2,238 migrants. Of these deaths, over 750 cases remain unidentified. While apprehension numbers have fallen in recent years, deaths throughout the region have not seen a similar reduction. According to the conservative death estimates of the Border Patrol statistics there were 177 deaths in the Tucson region in 2011 alone.—Matt Nager

Having traveled a fair amount through Latin America, Denver-based photographer Matt Nager had a great interest in shooting a story on the border. In 2008, he came across an article about advances in DNA testing to help identify bodies found in the desert of Arizona. That sparked his interest, and he spent the next year researching the issue and the striking numbers of migrant deaths occurring in Southern Arizona.

During the summer of 2009, Nager spent two months working in Tucson and around Southern Arizona. He spent time with Border Patrol and activist groups who help people who are struggling in the desert. Nager spent a week at the sheriff’s office, which is the first official organization called when a body is found. He photographed inside the medical examiners office during an exam of an unidentified body. Additionally, he spent time with and photographed in the mortuary in Tucson where they cremate bodies that have been unsuccessfully identified.

In the years since this project, it appears as if the issue has largely gone unchanged. Statistics show that deaths continue to occur at rates nearing 200 bodies per year. As technology advances, it will undoubtedly become easier to identify bodies. There is now a website, Humane Borders, that documents where each body was found as well as the gender and name of that individual.


The US-Mexico border fence is highlighted by Border Patrol headlights under a bright moon in Sasabe, Arizona., Friday, June 5, 2009. Building the wall along the border has resulted in migrants following more secluded and dangerous routes where the wall has not been built. Continue reading

(Report Back) Freedom According to the Zapatistas : The Launch of the Escuelita

Chiapas Autonomous Region

Written by Andalusia Knoll

Tuesday, 27 August 2013 09:52

“The only thing that you need, objectively, to attend the zapatistas’ little school is Disinclination to talk or to judge, Willingness to listen and watch and a well-disposed heart.” – Comunicado VOTÁN II. The Guardians. Subcomandante Marcos

From August 12-16 the zapatistas opened the doors to their caracoles, communities and hearts to 1630 students enrolled in the first grade of “the escuelita (the little school): freedom according to the zapatistas.”

The escuelita didn’t have formal classrooms with a rigid schedule and teachers imparting their knowledge. Instead it featured immersion based learning, grounded in the daily tasks of constructing autonomy. This included grinding corn, weeding onion crops, collecting firewood, and washing your clothes in the river. Continue reading

EZLN Communique: Them and Us Part V. The Sixth.

Chiapas, Mexico 


bay intifada - zapatista silent march

January 2013

To: The compañer@s adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle across the world.

From: The Zapatista men and women of Chiapas, México.

Compañeras, compañeros, y compañeroas:

Compas of the Red contra la Represión y por la Solidaridad (Network against Repression and for Solidarity):

Receive greetings from the smallest of your compañeros, the women, men, children, and elderly of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.

We have decided that the first of our words directed specifically to our compañer@s of the Sixth Declaration be released in a space of struggle, a space like the Red contra la Represión y por La Solidaridad. But the words, thoughts, and feelings outlined here are also meant for those who are not present…especially for them.

Continue reading