Mexican Border State Labor Organizer Faces Riot, Coercion Charges

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A Mexican attorney and labor movement leader was released on bond amid charges of allegedly intimidating a mediation court to secure a favorable outcome. The June arrest drew the attention of several U.S. congressmen who sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asking for her release.

In January 2019, Susana Prieto traveled to Matamoros, Tamaulipas, to represent workers at car manufacturing plants. Incumbent labor unions claimed Prieto pressured workers to join her new bargaining unit. Prieto claimed the existing unions favor company management over members. While in Matamoros, Prieto led a movement called “2032,” where she demanded a 20 percent raise and a $32,000 peso bonus for her members.

Although Mexican-based collective bargaining deals with international companies are supervised by federal officials, the matter eventually fell before state arbitration courts after the labor secretariat ignored the conflict. Mexican attorney and activist Arturo Alcalde, the father of Labor Secretary Luisa Maria Alcalde, has been criticized in recent months for allegedly being an ally of Prieto. According to an interview with El Sol De Mexico, Alcalde claimed that it was all an attempt to taint their image.

The criminal charges against Prieto stem from a March 2020 incident where 400 workers surrounded the labor arbitration court. According to court documents from the criminal charges, Prieto incited the group to block the entrances to the building under threat of violence for several hours. A court employee was also allegedly assaulted at the scene. Tamaulipas prosecutors charged Prieto with one count each of making threats, inciting a riot, coercion, and crimes against public servants–leading to her widely publicized June 8 arrest in Matamoros. At the time of her initial bail hearing, a state judge denied release claiming her permanent residence was in Chihuahua and therefore could not be certain she would return for future hearings.

Prieto, who claims to be a “political prisoner,” agreed to live at her home in Chihuahua, avoid the arbitration court and employees, and repay the damages caused by her actions ($60,000 pesos). If convicted, she could still face jail time. Moments after her release, Prieto took to social to claim political persecution and decried lacking police protection on her journey home.

On June 30, 59 Democrat U.S. Congressmen sent a letter to Secretary Pompeo, claiming Prieto was arrested on “trumped-up” charges. Interestingly, the three Democrat border congressmen from the Rio Grande Valley: Filemon Vela, Vicente Gonzalez, and Henry Cuellar, did not sign the letter.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and senior Breitbart management. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com

Brandon Darby is the managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded Breitbart Texas’ Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and senior Breitbart management. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.     

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