by Karen Juanita Carrillo
Special to the NNPA from the New York Amsterdam News
It’s been three months since the May 9 murder of Malcolm Latif Shabazz in the capital city of Mexico, and there remains no resolution for the Shabazz family about the crime, notes Wilner Metelus, president of the Citizens Committee for the Defense of the Naturalized and of Afro-Mexicans (CCDNAM).
Metelus’ CCDNAM, a group designed to fight for the rights of Afro-Mexicans and for those Blacks or Africans who reside in Mexico or even pass through the country, has been Mexico’s most vocal organization in demanding justice for Shabazz in the days and now months following his murder.
Shabazz, the grandson of human rights activist Malcolm X, was killed after getting into an argument over an exorbitant $1,200 bar bill at the Palace Club in Mexico City’s touristy Plaza Garibaldi area. Within a week of the murder, bar waiters David Hernández Cruz and Manuel Alejandro Pérez de Jesús were charged with having punched, kicked and even using a stick to beat Latif Shabazz during the attack. But there has been little progress on the case since then.
The city’s district attorney noted that security cameras at the Palace Club had been moved to suggest that they had not recorded the incident, but many believe that the entire incident can be found on the camera’s tapes.
“It’s shameful that after three months, there is no punishment of those responsible for this crime. Those who assassinated our brother Malcolm Latif remain free from justice, with the complicity of the authorities,” the CCDNAM said in a press release issued Aug. 10. “We are not just upset but also outraged that the district attorney has not commanded the Ministry of Public Security to show the video which explains how our Brother Malcolm Latif died.
“We make a new call on the authorities of the federal district’s Commission of Human Rights that they look into the aggression that laborers who were in solidarity with Malcolm Latif have been facing. The Commission must demonstrate that it is defending the interests of its citizens.
“The only thing we ask is that the authorities provide justice for the family of Malcolm Latif,” the press release stated.
In an exclusive interview, Metelus explained that the CCDNAM was formed in 2005, after the then-president of Mexico, Vicente Fox Quesada, told a group of U.S. businessmen visiting his nation, “There is no doubt that Mexicans, filled with dignity, willingness and ability to work, are doing jobs that not even Blacks want to do there in the United States.” The comment was seen as insulting to both African-Americans and Mexicans living here. In the U.S., African-Americans demanded an apology, while in Mexico, Metelus says his group decided to organize.
On top of denouncing Fox’s statement, the group began to establish itself as an organization willing to speak out about injustices against Afro-Mexicans. “You know, for example, that Mexico is a multicultural nation,” Metelus says. “Yet, still, Afro-Mexicans are little recognized by the government: They say that all Mexicans are equal, but in realty, this is not the case. There are, for example, social programs that Afro-Mexicans cannot participate in.”