Miguel's community has an important history of anarchist struggle and he joined it. The struggle is for usos y costumbres [indigenous social and organizational practices] and to prevent the removal of natural resources from the community, etc. In Mexico, the matter of political parties is very complicated. There are political parties with strong criminal histories, such as the PRI. The PRI is one of the political parties inside of Eloxochitlán. Things are very tense in the community and it is split into two sides, the side with political parties and the side in favor of autonomy. Obviously the side that has the power of the government is the political party side. There have been intense attacks against those seeking autonomy, and among them is Miguel Ángel Peralta Betanzos. First, his father was arrested. Fortunately he is now free. Later they arrested eleven more compañeros belonging to the community assembly. And finally they arrested Miguel.
Miguel was arrested on April 30, 2015 in Mexico City, where his family has a small business. His was at the shop when the police arrived and removed him by force from his business without any arrest warrant or paperwork. They disappeared him for many hours; no one knew where he was. The car that took him had no license plates, so there was no way to identify it. No one was notified until later. He was transferred to Oaxaca and they accused him of first-degree murder, for a murder that happened in Eloxochitlán while he wasn’t even there.
He had to wait a very long time for his first hearing, which was the “evidentiary hearing.” In quotation marks, because the police weren’t there, they’ve cancelled hearings, and more than a year after his arrest he hasn’t been sentenced, there’s been almost no movement in his case.
Life in Prison
He’s in a prison that is a new one-of-a-kind version in Mexico that they want to base all their prisons off of. It has been adapted from the United States, where the prisoners all wear uniforms, there is little contact with guards because everything is electronic, visits aren’t permitted, reading material isn’t allowed, they can barely go out to the yard, letters aren’t allowed, it’s very difficult for someone who isn’t related to visit, and this increases the isolation.
He was released on October 14, 2019.