By Saeed Shabazz -Staff Writer-
(FinalCall.com) – Activists in the U.S. and Mexico are still pushing for the truth about the death of the grandson of Malcolm X who was killed south of the U.S. border.
Rev. Ed Pinkney, a member of the U.S.-based Malcolm Shabazz Committee for Truth and Justice Movement, plans to keep the pressure on.
“My goal is to get the truth in front of the American people, and to let them know how serious this issue is,” Rev. Pinkney told The Final Call. “We want to get people across the nation involved in calling for an investigation into the death of Malcolm Latif Shabazz,” said the founder of the Michigan-based Black Autonomy Network Community Organization. Rev. Pinkney participated in protests at the Mexican embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Mexican consulate in Chicago. The most recent protest was on Sept. 6.
The U.S. committee is working to hold weekly Friday demonstrations until Mexican authorities hold a complete investigation into young Malcolm’s brutal murder, Dr. Randy Short, who is also part of the U.S. committee, told The Final Call. Activists have also started a petition drive demanding that the U.S. State Dept. investigate the murder.
Activists want answers to questions about the May 9 murder of Mr. Shabazz, 28, the grandson of Nation of Islam Minister Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz. Qubilah, their second oldest daughter, was the young victim’s mother.
According to media reports, the activist was found outside a Mexico City bar with head, face and torso injuries that led to his death. His companion, Miguel Suarez, told reporters he and Mr. Shabazz were confronted with a bar tab of $1,200, there was a fight over the bill and he ran.
Mr. Suarez, a grassroots construction labor activist, had reportedly been deported from Oakland, Calif. weeks before Mr. Shabazz’s visit and subsequent murder in Mexico. The Mexico City district attorney’s office said two bartenders were arrested a few days after the deadly beating. Activists say no new information has been forthcoming about the case.
“There are too many unanswered questions, including the bar bill story,” said Sabrina Green, of the Free the MOVE 9 and The International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal. What is most important right now is re-educating people in the U.S. about young Malcolm’s murder, Ms. Green told The Final Call.
“There appears to be a concerted effort to continue an informational climate where lack of transparency exists, or conflicting information is circulated, and a dismissive attitude that Americans can be killed in Mexico which is not a serious issue,” said Dr. Short, of the International Human Rights Association for American Minorities and co-founder of the committee organizing U.S. protests.
Some say the U.S. and Mexican governments are in violation of the Foreign Relations Act, which entitles an American citizen like Mr. Shabazz to a proper national and international investigation into the circumstances of his death.
On Sept. 10, a State Dept. spokesperson called The Final Call to say her agency was aware “of the death of a U.S. citizen in Mexico.” The State Department has been in contact with the victim’s family and provided normal assistance offered when a family member is “murdered” abroad, the spokesperson said. “At the request of the family we have no more information,” she added.
Kwame Fosu, policy director at the Washington, D.C.-based Rebecca Project for Human Rights, told The Final Call he entered the Mexican Embassy during the initial August demonstration to present a letter listing the demands of protesters.
“I spoke with a Carlos Mendoza, political affairs officer, saying that we wanted to know if anyone was still under arrest, and we wanted a meeting with Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora,” he said. “Mr. Mendoza told me his delegation regrets the death of Mr. Shabazz, and wanted to assure us that no government had anything to do with his death, saying it was individuals.”
The Mexican official promised to provide an update when arrests were made but Mr. Fosu said Sept. 11 Mr. Mendoza has failed to get back to him. The Mexican official has not answered Final Call requests for comment.
On Sept. 11, The Final Call received a Facebook message from Dr. Wilner Metelus, co-founder of the Naturalized and Afro-Mexican Citizens Defense Committee in Mexico City, saying a report into Mr. Shabazz’s death would be released on Sept. 17 by a district attorney’s office in Mexico City.
The report will also contain information about an attack on Naturalized and Afro-Mexican Citizens Defense Committee members in the eighth day of a peaceful hunger-strike outside the Federal District of Mexico City’s Governor’s Palace. The group was demanding the truth about the attack on Mr. Shabazz.
The U.S. and the Mexican groups are working together to uncover the truth in this case.
“We have to let the Mexican government know that under no circumstances are we going to let his murder be swept under the rug, this is an international incident,” Zayyid Muhammad, a Newark-based spokesman for the New Black Panther Party told The Final Call.
Other members of the U.S.-based committee seeking justice include Razakhan Shaheed of the Philadelphia Innocence Project, Pam Africa of the International Friends and Family of Mumia Abu Jamal and Basyiymah Muhammad of the World Body of the United Negro Improvement Association.
“We are also planning the disruption of Mexican economic interests through boycotts,” Mr. Shaheed said.