Friday, October 28, 2011


On a weekly basis I went to bring you news about a political prisoner who needs your support.

Today I bring you a man many, if not most of you, have probably never heard.  His name is Alvaro Luna Hernandez.   Alvaro, is just shy of 60 years old and is warehoused in one of the most notorious state prisons in the notorious prison state of Texas serving a fifty year sentence.  He has been there for nearly fifteen years already.

"To Mexican-Americans in the cities, slums, plains, deserts, and prison cages of the Southwest, he is a civil rights hero, a Chicano freedom fighter true to his barrio roots and eternally fearless in the face of injustice. For years, he has been internationally recognized by amnesty movements and human rights lawyers and experts as a U.S. political prisoner, yet inside the United States, the name Alvaro Luna Hernandez remains largely elusive on the lips of progressives and social justice advocates."

It is time that for that to change.  It is time for his cause to be proclaimed widely.  It is time to bring him home.

"I will never surrender my pride and dignity nor allow the system to 'cut my tongue' and I will always, without fear, speak out against these war crimes and crimes against humanity, no matter if I spend the rest of my life in a prison cage, and draw my last breath of air laying down in this steel bed surrounded by razor-wire fences and cages, and its prison policies that are designed to destroy one's humanity…."

—Alvaro Luna Hernandez, October 18, 2010, Hughes Unit Prison, Gatesville, Texas.

The following is from the FREE ALVARO NOW website.


Who is Alvaro Luna Hernandez?

Alvaro Hernandez Luna was sentenced in Odessa, TX on June 2-9, 1997 to 50 years in prison for defending himself by disarming a police officer drawing a weapon on him (unarmed). The trial evidence clearly showed Alvaro was the victim of "witchhunts" and a police-orchestrated conspiracy to frame or eliminate him. 

History of A Longtime Freedom Fighter

Police informants were used to monitor Alvaro's organizing activites in the barrio. They were told Alvaro was "typing legal papers," "had many books" and was working on police brutality cases in Alpine. 

The police knew of Alvaro's history of community-based organizing and his legal skills. Alvaro was recognized nationally and internationally as the national coordiantor of the Ricardo Aldape Guerra Defense Committee, which led the struggle to free Mexican national Aldape Guerra from Texas' death row after being framed by Houston police for allegedly killing a cop. Alvaro's human rights work was recognized in Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico and other countries.

Facts about Alvaro Luna Hernandez:

  • Alvaro Hernandez Luna was recognized nationally and internationally as the national coordiantor of the Ricardo Aldape Guerra Defense Committee, which led the struggle to free Mexican national Aldape Guerra from Texas' death row after being framed by Houston police for allegedly killing a cop. Alvaro's human rights work was recognized in Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico and other countries.
  • Alvaro spearheaded the National Movement of La Raza, Stop the Violence Youth Committee and the Prisoners Solidarity Committee in Houston, Texas (USA), where he is known as a symbol of resistance to injustice.
  • Alvaro was sent to prison (narrowly dodging the death penalty) in 1976 for a murder he did not commit, a fact that was exposed by various media outlets and led to his eventual release. "What I learned about the prosecutorial behavior in the trial of Alvaro Hernandez in West Texas made my stomach turn," wrote columnist Paul Harasim. "Coming in the wake of Randall Dale Adams and Clarence Brandley -- new evidence surfaced to get them off and out of prison -- I wonder if I can support state sanctioned executions any longer." [Source: Houston Post, 8 April 1991]
  • From his previous case, Alvaro's struggle, along with hundreds of other cases of political imprisonment, was adopted on Dec. 9, 1990 at Hunter College in New York City by the Special International Trubunal on violations of human rights of political prisoners and prisoners of war held in U.S. prisons and jails.
  • In March 1993, Alvaro was a non-governmental organization (NGO) delegate before the 49th session of the United Nations Commissionon Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. Before the U.N. General Assembly, he vociferously exposed and condemned the U.S. government's dismal human rights record and its human rights violations of U.S. political prisoners.
  • Alvaro was a public speaker invited to speak at many colleges, universities and conferences in this country. His topics ranged from from injustices of the criminal justice system against people of color, to self-determination, human rights, political prisoners, Aztlán, national liberation and revolution. His eloquent, dynamic presentations would electrify audiences.
  • On July 18, 1996, Sheriff Jack McDaniel of Alpine, Texas, went to arrest Alvaro at his home on a charge of aggravated robbery (later dismissed with Alvaro as his own counsel). No warrant for the arrest was issued. When the unarmed Alvaro questioned the sheriff’s action, the cop drew his weapon. Before he could shoot, Alvaro disarmed him and fled. Alvaro did not inflict any injury on the officer and, as several people conceded, Alvaro could have further harmed the sherriff and did not, as such was not his intention. Alvaro was in fear for his life.
  • At Alvaro’s trial, police described Alvaro as a “troublemaker.” Other officers indicated that there was concern Alvaro was collecting information about police brutality in the barrios, as well as pursuing a potential suit against law enforcement over the killing of Mexicano youth Ervay Ramos when Alvaro was a youth.
  • Alvaro was no stranger to the police. He had previously won civil rights suits against the Pecos County Sheriff’s Department and county for a brutal beating he endured at the hands of police years ago. Two deputy sheriffs were convicted for the criminal civil rights violations stemming from the beating. The police received five years probation and never spent a day in jail.
  • On June 2-9, 1997, Alvaro was convicted of “threatening” the sheriff, but acquitted on the charge of shooting Sgt. Hines. He received a 50-year sentence.

What You Can Do

The political trial of long-time Chicano Mexicano ("Latino"/indigenous people of the southwest U.S.) activist Alvaro Hernanadz Luna is another example of this government's plot to discredit, falsely imprison or kill freedom fighters of liberation movements of oppressed internal colonies battling to free themselves from the yoke of U.S. imperialism. 

By "criminalizing" these movements for political self-determination, the government denies their existence, the existence of political prisoners and the class contradictions in this society. As the world joined hands to expose the racist regime of South Africa, and won the freedom of Nelson Mandela, we must expose the U.S. government's lie that it holds no political prisoners of war in its prisons. 

Alvaro deserves the support of all honest progressive freedom forces in the United States and throughout the world. While his case if on appeal, al legal defense fund has been established to solicit funds for appeal costs and organizing materials, including a book, Alvaro's writings and recordings.


Witnesses, even former police, testified of the police hatred of Alvaro and of Alvaro's expressed fears of someday being killed by the police and police covering up their crime. Alvaro was no stranger to the police. He had previously won civil rights suits against the Sheriff's Department and the county for a brutal beating he had received at the hands of the police, years prior to the confrontation. Two deputy sheriffs had been convicted in Pecos, TX federal court for the criminal civil rights violations stemming from the beating. The police received five years probation and never spent a day in jail.

At Alvaro's trial, police witnesses described Alvaro as a "troublemaker." They knew that Alvaro could mobilize the barrio and mount serious opposition to the history of police crimes, and that Alvaro would shake the racist foundation of the white power structure in Alpine.

When the Sheriff went to arrest Alvaro at his home on July 18, 1996, it was on a trumped-up charge of aggravated robbery (and one which would later be dismissed). Sheriff McDaniel had no legal warrant of arrest, and when the unarmed Alvaro questioned the sheriff's abuse of power, the "redneck" cop became violently angry and drew his weapon. Before he could raise it and shoot, Alvaro disarmed him and fled to a nearby mountain.

What followed next was the most massive police manhunt in recent West Texas history. In fear for his life, Alvaro eluded police helicopters, bloodhound tracking dogs from the nearby state prison in Ft. Stockton, armed vigilante groups searching for him, and other state and federal police agencies. Alvaro sought refuge in the mountainous country he knew well as a youth. Days later, Alvaro returned to his mother's house to eat and change clothes. The police found out and a heavily armed law enforcement contingent converged on the home. Without identifying themselves, police began shooting indiscrimantely at the house, cars parked in front and at the public street lights. At trial, witnesses described the police shooting as a "war zone." The police wanted Alvaro dead and were refusing to allow him to surrender.

To back them off their murderous intent, Alvaro returned fire in self-defense but never shot nor injured anyone. He then dialed 911 (emergency) and alerted other officials that the police were shooting at him and would not allow him to surrender. The City Manager pulled the army of troopers back, and the "shoot first-ask questions later" plot to kill Alvaro was aborted. During the police barrage, Sgt. Curtis Hines was shot in the left hand by a ricocheting police bullet.

Alvaro surrendered and was charged with two counts of aggravated assault ã one count for disarming the sheriff and one count for Sgt. Hines' wound. His elderly mother was charged with "hindering apprehension" and jailed.

At his arraignment, Alvaro condemned the illegal occupation of the Southwest, the false charges, institutionalized racism, and reasserted his people's inalieable rights to self-defense and to self-determination of oppressed nations. He invoked international law and demanded to be treated as a prisoner of warunder Geneva Convention principles and other human rights accords. Since his jailing, Alvaro has filed several civil rights suits against county jail conditions, police abuse, and has helped other prisoners assert their legal and human rights.

The initial charge which led to the July 18 confrontation with the police was later dismissed. Rejecting court-appointed attorneys as sellouts, Alvaro represented himself in court. He proved his innocence and exposed the police conspiracy to frame him by suppressing evidence of his innocence and testimony of material witnesses.

At the Odessa trial, Alvaro was convicted of "threatening" the sheriff, but acquitted on the charge of shooting Sgt. Hines in the hand. The web of police lises was obvious to all. Even the physical evidence was inconsistent with any theory advanced by the prosecution.

The predominantly white jury did not have the courage to acquit Alvaro on both counts as the evidence required. It would have "disgraced" the police and sent the "wrong message" to others that it is justified under law to defend oneself against the armed violence of the state. Police have ruled Raza barrios with an iron fist, particularly in Texas. They are notorious for being anti-Mexicano, especially in west Texas. In the state alone, 20,000 Mexicanos have been killed by "Los Rinches" ã the infamous Texas Rangers ã since the 1830s. Settler policies of "Manifest Destiny" have supported colonization.

Support And Resistance to Injustice

After Alvaro's arrest, numerous individuals responded in support. Spray paintings reading "Free Alvaro! Convict the Pigs!" appeared throughout the small community, including at the First National Bank's walls. Everywhere the police transferred Alvaro, from Alpine to Odessa to Pecos to El Paso, people and groups came to his support.

Protests demanding Alvaro's release, spearheaded by the Barrio Defense Committee-San Jose, were staged outside the courthouse in Odessa during the trial. Barrio Defense Committees are springing up throughout Texas, under Alvaro's leadership, as a result of the outrage. Even from the confines of his isolation cell, Alvaro refuses to back down, calling for barrio self-rule and political revolution in the occupied territories of Aztl·n.
The police/migra/military murders of 16-year-old Ervay Ramos (Alpine), Larry Lozano (Odessa), Danny Valdez (El Paso), 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez (Dallas), Ricardo Morales (Castroville), Jose Campos Torres (Houston) and Esquivel Hernandez (Redford) is a continuation of the brutal legacy of Texas Ranger-style lynchings of Mexicanos in Texas today. Raza have a rich history of resistance to the occupation of their indigenous homeland and to the colonial war of genocide against them. Legends like Gregorio Cortes, Juan Cortina, Melchor Ocampo and many other have defended their rights with their pistols in their hands. Aware of his people's history of resistance, Alvaro has publicly state "My actions in Alpine were in self-defense in the spirit of Gregorio Cortes."*

* Gregorio Cortes killed two Texas sheriffs in self-defense in 1901. He was sentenced to death, but Mexicanos rallied to his support and he was pardoned in 1913 by Gov. O. B. Colquitt. Corridos (ballad songs), books and a movie have been produced about Corrtes, including With His Pistol In His Hand (University of Texas-Austin Press), "El Corrido de Gregorio Cortes" by Los Alegres de Teran and The Ballad of Gregorio Cortes with director-actor Edward James Olmos. For a court case history, see Court of Criminal Appeals #2270, 2397, 2696 and Pardon #28220, Southwestern Reporter, Vol. 74, page 907.


Contact the Committee to Free Alvaro Luna Hernandez!

We need more people involved, especially students at high schools, colleges and universities. If you're interested in the case, offering promotions, support, or starting a locala support chapter of the COMMITTEE TO FREE ALVARO LUNA HERNANDEZ, please email us. If you want to distribute literature in your area, download PDF flyers here.

Central Campaign Coordinator
John S. Dolley, Jr.
2900 La Fayette Avenue #2
Austin, TX 78722

Alpine Chapter
P.O. Box 81
Alpine, TX 79830

San Jose Chapter
P.O. Box 1523
San Jose, CA 95109

San Diego Chapter
P.O. Box 620095
San Diego, CA 92162

International - Toronto Chapter
Sara Falconer, Spokesperson
P.O. Box 97048
RPO Roncesvalles Ave.
Toronto, ON, M6R 3B3, Canada

1 comment:

John Dolley said...

First, let me compliment Scission displaying the "long" version of the story,long, metaphorically because it's as old as the 12th century migration of the forerunners of the Aztec peoples known as the dwellers in the nomad wastes of the southwestern regions of what is so-called U.S. territory - a place some say is mythological because its traces are truly mysterious...the people of Aztlan and also possibly kin to the Anasazi. Theses were Alvaro's roots, being of this ancient lineage, who defended against the Coronado marauding gold-fevered imperialist adventurists.And, then the transplanted Tennesseans and Georgians who were eager to settle and rest the land from its indigenous peoples. There was never a border, and some say there still isn't, no matter how many Border Patrol or national Guard you jam up the leaks with; the natural flow of people for thousands of years trading for tropical bird feathers for ceremony in exchange for Turquoise for adornment by the
Aztecs. This brings us to the Texas Southwest, and Alpine where Alvaro's family lived for countless generations; the indigenous Chicano/Mexicanos fighting for every ounce of pride and equity.

We have embarked on a aggressive march towards getting evidence in support of his innocence for his 1975 conviction, if you want to lend support monetarily towards this legal and investigatory effort to appeal on an 11.07 Writ of Habeas Corpus - we have a WePay format online disbursal at:

Also write Alvaro who was recently moved off Hughes Unit (Ad-Seg.) in late July, and is in Iowa Park, Texas near the Oklahoma border in that (Ad-Seg); he will have been in isolation for 12 straight years 23/1.

Alvaro Luna Hernandez,
TDCJ-CID# 255735,
James V. Allred Unit,
2101 F.M. 369 North,
Iowa Park, Texas 76367

John Dolley, Jr.,
Committee to Free Alvaro Luna Hernandez
P.O. Box 7187,
Austin, Texas 78713