Afro-Mexicans demand answers re death of Malcolm Latif Shabazz
By Karen Juanita Carrillo | 8/15/2013, 9:35 a.m. | Updated on 8/15/2013, 9:35 a.m.
Metelus added: “Mexico is one of few countries that does not officially recognize it’s Afro-descendant citizens. And, also, since Mexico is a transit site for people who are on their way to the United States, we constantly have to pressure the authorities to respect Afro-Mexicans and Black people who are in Mexico.”
The CCDNAM was on the verge of commemorating the murder of another Black man in Mexico when it got word of the death of Shabazz. This year’s remembrances for Isaac Chinedu Nwachukwu wound up converging with protests over the murder of Shabazz.
Nwachukwu was a 29-year-old Nigerian who sold jewelry at various markets in Mexico City. He had made Mexico his home after having reportedly been sold into slavery in Sierra Leone as a child. After a non-governmental agency helped free him, Chinedu boarded a ship that left him in Veracruz, Mexico. The young man made his way to Mexico City but had problems there as well. In 2004, Chinedu brought suit against police authorities who beat him after he got into a verbal argument with the driver of a public bus, and then on April 12, 2007, authorities accused Chinedu of being a drug trafficker—charges that he fought and which were only dropped as of May 20, 2009.
Even with all of these problems, Chinedu had still fallen in love and married while living in Mexico. Together with Liduvina Castillo, Chinedu had a baby daughter. On May 11, 2011, Mother’s Day, Chinedu left a restaurant with his wife and their daughter. As he tried to hail a taxi, members of the auxiliary police accosted him, started an argument and began beating him. The officers who beat Chinedu were initially arrested, but ultimately authorities determined that Chinedu’s death occurred after a vehicle hit him following the beating. In protest, the CCDNAM sponsored a 12-day hunger strike alongside Chinedu’s wife in June 2011. Two of the police officers that beat Chinedu were brought up on charges, and each had to pay a $210 fine.
Metelus says there remains a lot of suspicion about a cover-up of the murder of Shabazz. “May 10 is Mother’s Day in Mexico, and where Malcolm Latif died is a place where all families come out to celebrate. But no one seems to have seen anything and cameras that were in the area, none of them recorded anything. The bar where he was killed, it did not even have the right licensing to be in operation. But this is, sometimes, how things function in this country. So we’re still looking for answers, definitive answers, about what happened to Malcolm Latif that night.”
Meanwhile in the United States, a number of organizations are planning a protest on Friday, Aug. 16 at 10:30 a.m. calling for justice in the death of Shabazz. The protest will be in front of the Mexican Embassy at 1911 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W. in Washington, D.C. Those participating include Razakhan Shaheed of the Philadelphia Innocence Project; Rozlyn Ratliff Cross of the Malcolm Shabazz Memorial Facebook Page Coalition and Judicial Justice Movement; Pam Africa of the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal; Basiymah Muhammad, fourth assistant president general of the World Body of the United Negro Improvement Association; Philadelphia President General of UNIA Mshindi Ziaga; Empress Chionesu Phile of the Million Woman Movement; Archbishop John Lewis III of the African Orthodox Church; and Dr. Randy Short of the Black Autonomy Network Organization.
Those interested in further information can contact Dr. Randy Short at 202-710-4294 or Razakhan Shaheed 267-226-8474.