[Ppnews] Interview with Political Prisoner Alvaro Luna Hernandez

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Dec 29 17:42:35 EST 2010

Recently <http://denverabc.wordpress.com/>Denver 
ABC has been working with 
Luna Hernandez, a Chicano political prisoner 
serving a 50 year sentence for disarming the 
Sheriff of Alpine in self-defense. We’re excited 
to release this exclusive interview which details 
both the events that lead to his unjust 
imprisonment as well as key events in his life, 
his current challenges in prison and thoughts on revolutionary struggle.
We encourage people to share Alvaro’s case and 
this interview with friends and family. If you 
are interested in getting involved with Alvaro’s 
campaign contact us at denverabc at rocketmail.com 
and visit his support site <http://www.freealvaro.net/>www.freealvaro.net

Interview with Chicano Political Prisoner Alvaro Luna Hernandez
by Denver ABC
(from a “Control Unit” in Texas Prison)

ABC Denver: Alvaro. First, thank you so much for 
conducting this interview with us. I think it 
makes sense to start by recounting the events 
that transpired that lead to your current 
imprisonment. Take us back to the day that the 
Alpine Sheriff came to your place on false charges. What happened?
Alvaro: I believe a brief account of some 
historical facts are first necessary in order to 
put all these matters in their proper context. Of 
course, we all know the legacy of confrontations 
between police and the Chicano community. My case 
is an example of the continuation of this 
“gunpowder justice” mentality going back to the 
occupation of Mexicano lands and the colonial 
vigilantism of Texas Rangers “shoot first and ask 
questions later,” such as in the celebrated case 
Cortez as recounted by Americo Paderes in his 
His Pistol in His Hand,” that produced 
“corridos,” and other ballads of resistance in 
the Southwest. The occupation settlers have 
always enforced their colonial rule with an iron fist.
The Alpine Police is no different. Since my 
arrival in Alpine, they immediately set out to 
expel me from the county at all costs. For 
example, as a rebellious youth, I had had many 
violent confrontations with police, including 
destruction of police cars in response to a 
racist incident at a local restaurant; the 
overpowering of jailers in the Pecos County Jail, 
taking the Sheriff’s arsenal, freeing all 
prisoners in the jail, locking the jailer in a 
cell, taking his car and escaping to Mexico 
through the Big Bend National Park near Santa 
Elena Canyon; I had shootouts with police, and 
was known as a “troublemaker” in the eyes of 
police because of my history of filing civil 
rights lawsuits against police for brutality, and 
winning large sums of monetary compensation for 
damages, including having a Chief Deputy and a 
Deputy Sheriff convicted in federal court in 
Pecos for brutalizing me and other prisoners, 
after my re-capture from my jail escape to 
Mexico. The police were not happy to see me 
return to Alpine. I began to set the ground work 
for barrio organizing the Alpine police feared and were determined to stop.
When I arrived in Alpine on August 1995 from 
Houston, I had made it known that the police 
murderer Bud Powers, who shot and killed 16 year 
old Evray Ramos on June 12, 1968, should be 
prosecuted for federal criminal civil rights 
violations, after the Alpine state court had 
granted him probation and he didn’t even serve 
one single day in jail for this cold-blooded 
murder. Their was an atmosphere of citizen 
outrage against the police and I began talking to 
people about the need for organization to fight 
back. The police knew of my field investigative 
capacity as a delegate of a non-governmental 
group to the 
Nations Commission on Human Rights in March 1993 
at Geneva, Switzerland; they knew of my role as 
coordinator of the Ricardo Aldape Guerra Defense 
Committee that lead the fight to 
Mexican national Guerra from Texas’ death row 
after being framed for the killing of a Houston 
cop. I was constantly harassed by police such as 
illegal vehicle stops, humiliating car searches 
of my person, my passengers and vehicle with 
their K9 drug dog, constant surveillance of my 
legitimate activities, and their use of informants to monitor my activities.
At the time I was doing some free lance paralegal 
writing for a lawyer, and the police wanted to 
know what type of “papers” I had been “typing,” 
according to later revelations from their main 
informant. All these lead to the filing of bogus 
felony charges against me for “aggravated 
robbery,” filed against me by the father-in-law 
of a police sergeant, all designed to have me 
removed off the streets, under the false pretexts 
using the criminal justice system for arbitrary 
detention. These charges were later dismissed, 
after I had proved my innocence, but the violent 
confrontation with the Sheriff had happened in 
the interim period. In other words, the Sheriff 
had no legal authority to trespass into my 
property and attempt to arrest me on July 18, 1996.
When I saw him pulling into my driveway and step 
out of his car, I saw him unsnap his leather 
strap over his gun. When I came to the door and 
questioned the legality of his illegal actions, 
he became violently angry and was in the act of 
going or his gun to shoot me, and I disarmed him 
in self defense, believing my life was in danger 
of imminent harm, knowing the history of their 
brutality and murders of other Chicano youth down 
through the years, such as the Evray Ramos case 
and other incidents of police brutality.
In a nutshell, I was convicted of aggravated 
assault against the Sheriff and found not guilty 
on count two, of allegedly shooting Alpine Police 
Sergeant Curtis Hines in the hand, days later 
after police started shooting, indiscriminately, 
at my mother’s house, when they learned I was 
inside. The jury was charged on the law of self 
defense but rejected my defense, found me guilty 
on count one and sentenced me to 50 years 
imprisonment. Under Texas’ harsh sentencing 
“aggravated” laws, I have to serve one half, or 
25 calendar years before being “parole eligible,” 
which will not be until the year 2021.
ABC Denver: What was the atmosphere at trial and 
what was your approach to all of it?
Alvaro: The case was moved to Odessa from Alpine 
due to extensive pretrial publicity. The week I 
was arrested, unknown persons began spray 
painting walls, signs and other objects, 
including the walls of the building at the elite 
First National Bank in Alpine, with graffiti that 
said, “Convict the Pigs! Free Alvaro!” and such 
supportive slogans. Many groups staged protests 
outside the Odessa courthouse, coming from as far 
as California, Houston, Alpine and Mexico to 
support me. Prosecutors complained to the judge about these public protests.
At trial, a police web of lies were spewed, and 
the jury, although knowing it was obvious police 
were all lying, refused to totally clear me and I 
was convicted on count one. Crucial defense 
evidence was not presented to the jury, by my 
sell-out lawyer, who he himself, was under 
federal criminal drug investigation, and was 
convicted and sentenced to 30 months in federal 
prison and disbarred from the practice of law a 
few months after I was convicted. For example, a 
KOSA TV Channel 7 live broadcast conducted by 
this Odessa t.v. station on the day of the 
incident from Alpine with the Sheriff, I am told, 
involves the Sheriff telling the news reporters 
that I had only disarmed him, but later changed 
his story to say that I had “pointed the weapon 
at his chest,”— the difference between a minor 
misdemeanor charge of disarming a police officer 
and a first degree offense of “aggravated 
assault” carrying a range of punishment from 5 to 99 to life imprisonment.
But, of course, I was not naive and I know well 
the documented history of police atrocities and 
crimes protected by the courts, no matter the 
nature of police crimes committed against 
innocent, defenseless citizens. More so, against 
those of us the system hates because of our 
revolutionary beliefs and our resistance to their 
oppression. The U.S. judicial system has always 
been used to give legitimacy to these state 
crimes, for example, their colonial war crimes, 
theft of Mexicano lands, the disenfranchisement 
of us and denial of our social rights, the 
government’s war on militancy and their labeling 
of us as “common criminals” and ”bandits,” while 
there are currently hundreds of US political 
prisoners, prisoners of war, caged in these 
control units for our opposition to this 
government. The case of the imprisonment of our 
Flores Magon is another case in point, and the 
many police murders of militant activists during 
the peak of the Chicano movement. Texas Rangers 
massacred and lunched many Raza and the 
political. The police have murdered many 
activists in cold blood, but they have escaped justice.
To add insult to injury, although these crimes 
were influenced by their white racist ideology of 
“Manifest Destiny,” the system glorifies this 
genocidal history, have created a mythology of 
white supremacy and self-righteousness and have 
built their monuments, such as the 
<http://www.texasranger.org/>Texas Ranger Museum 
in Waco, Texas, their “tourist attraction” such 
as the Law West of the Pecos saloon-court of the 
fascist judge 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Bean>Roy Bean, 
and similar monuments glorifying this racist, 
colonial, genocidal history, erected throughout 
the occupied Southwest U.S. territories of 
Aztlan, from Texas to California. Not to forget 
the constant murders of our 
and sisters killed at the imposed military border on the Rio Grande River.
ABC Denver: When the verdict was read, what were 
you feeling? What went through your mind?
Alvaro: Knowing this history of the role of 
police and the court system, I was not surprised 
to have been found guilty of a “crime” where the 
real criminals are the police. They assaulted me 
and were in the act of possibly killing me, I 
defend myself but I am the one convicted. These 
are the double standards of this false system of 
justice in this country. Especially if you are 
considered a “troublemaker” simply because of 
one’s activism. We are “criminalized” by the 
system, framed by police and prosecutors and send 
to prison to rot in a prison cell. We see daily 
the many prisoners who are exonerated after 
languishing many years in prison, for crimes they 
did not commit. Their only real “crime” has been 
the color of their skin and their poverty. After 
the verdict was read, you heard me outburst in 
the court and was restrained by the police and removed from the courtroom.
I will never accept the legitimacy of a police, a 
court system, a prison, a government that has 
been built on stolen lands, and has blood 
dripping from its murderous hands, blood of 
Chicanos, Mexicanos, African Americans and other 
indigenous nation-tribes criminally enslaved as 
internal colonies of Yankee imperialism today. A 
“criminal justice system” that reaps 
super-profits with its genocidal, corporate 
incarceration of people and its industrialization 
of its prison system, that benefits economically 
from this mass imprisonment, mostly for the 
enslavement of the Bronze and Black colonies, or people of color.
The verdict in my case is itself a crime. 
Although I am now a “slave of the state,” this is 
one “slave” that will never recognize the 
legitimacy of these state crimes committed 
against me, who will always have freedom, 
liberation, justice and self-determination on his 
mind. I am now living another nightmare, knowing 
that the real criminals, the police run the 
streets committing more crimes against the 
innocent, unarmed citizens, and hiding behind 
their badges, protected by a criminal system, 
such as the recent 
in the police murder of Oscar Grant by that 
Oakland pig, and many other similar cold-blooded 
murders committed by fascist pigs.
ABC Denver: You have been in several prison 
strikes and other forms of rebellions. What has 
been the most significant event that has 
transpired in prison? What conditions brought the 
event about, and what lessons can be learned from it?
Alvaro: It would be to see an oppressed, 
downtrodden class of repressed and despised 
people by a large part of reactionary society, 
caged from within the dark dungeons of the 
Amerikkkan gulag, break the yoke of mental 
oppression, discover their humanity, their real 
class interests, settle their quarrels, transform 
a criminal mentality into a revolutionary 
mentality, and fight back, and discover their 
love for revolution. I am a disciple of comrade 
Jackson, murdered by pigs at San Quentin prison 
in California on 
21, 1971. To come to “meet” him spiritually and 
know the relevance of his words written in his 
In My Eye, that ring true today are invaluable 
lessons one takes to the grave as a liberation 
army soldier and advocate for revolution.
I mean, Texas prisons are very 
brutal and murderous. I was in the forefront of 
these prison movement struggles to unite 
prisoners, to re-educate them with revolutionary 
history and theory, and to transform them into 
political cadres and activist soldiers conscious 
of their class and racial oppression, and instill 
in them the spiritual desire and determination to 
free their minds and to stand up and struggle for 
their fundamental and other human rights not to 
be treated as animals nor as mere slaves of the 
state, but as human beings with inalienable 
rights, even under enormous odds, and from under 
the nose and boot heel of murderous prison guards 
and a prison administration with a history of 
murdering prisoner activists, or other “jailhouse 
lawyers” who dared to stand up for their rights.
I, along with other prisoners formed 
revolutionary study cells, and other legal 
defense and solidarity support groups from 
within, and used all means to fight back, armed 
with a revolutionary sense of our purpose in life 
and with a clear understanding of our mission 
with an equal awareness of the nature and the 
role of prisons in U.S. society. We prevailed and 
were victorious in a legal sense, as we won major 
concessions from the prison system, and the 
courts, bringing these oppressors to a 
realization that changes were needed in the Texas 
prison system or we would burn it to the ground 
and create another 
Prison Rebellion Texas politicians did not want 
on their hands. The prison conditions case styled 
V. Estelle is the I am referring to. We used all 
means, including hunger strikes, work stoppages, 
taking over parts of the prison, and the like.
I soon found myself in solitary confinement and 
under permanent lock down and isolation from the 
rest of the federal prison population classified 
as a “leader” and “agitator” and a threat to the 
security of the institution. I mean, these were 
great feelings of accomplishment and personal 
sense of fulfillment to see a prison slave 
breaking his mental chains and standing up for 
his humanity as a class and a group of the most 
oppressed and repressed sectors of U.S. society.
Even today I draw spiritual strength and 
determination from those past experiences of many 
years gone by, in order to sustain me now in this 
control unit they now have me isolated in. These 
same lessons can be learned in the context of 
community organizing, the need for organization, 
for true working class leadership and for 
movement building on a national and international 
scale, more so in light of the rise of right wing 
vigilantism, police murders of innocent people, 
and other injustices we see today, from New York 
to California. Unity and Solidarity is key to our 
success in fighting back and being victorious against all forms of oppression.
ABC Denver: Tell us about your current work as a 
jailhouse lawyer. What cases have you worked on 
in the past and what are you currently working on?
Alvaro: I mentioned the Ruiz prison case. I was a 
prisoner-plaintiff witness on behalf of all 
prisoners in that case and testified before the 
federal judge that presided in that trial 
starting in October 1978 and lasting a year, the 
longest prison conditions trial in the history of 
court cases. As a high school drop out, or “push 
out,” I learned “law” in prison and became a 
versed jailhouse lawyer, that would help other 
prisoners with their legal cases, or the filing 
of civil rights lawsuits against the prison for 
violation of legal rights. I mean, I worked in 
many, many cases including cases such as prison 
guard brutality, affirmative action cases in 
prison racial discrimination as far as 
classification, job assignments, educational and 
other vocational opportunities that were 
non-existent, including challenging an “all 
white” employee and promotion system that 
excluded ethnic minorities from consideration at all levels.
I continue to work on legal defense cases, mostly 
cases trying to obtain new trials for other 
prisoners based, say, on violation of their 
rights at trial, or under the common ground of 
being represented by incompetent, court appointed 
attorneys because of their poverty in not being 
financially able to pay a lawyer for legal representation.
I am now working on two significant cases now 
pending before the Texas Court of Criminal 
Appeals. In one of those cases the prisoner was 
diagnosed as having an IQ of 64, and within the 
range of mental retardation under psychiatric 
rules and standards but his lawyer sold him out 
and did not do his required job in properly 
defending him at his jury trial. The prisoner got 
a life sentence. The other case involves a case 
where the lawyer submitted an “affidavit,” or 
sworn statement in response to his write 
allegations, and flat outright lied, and I am 
seeking not only a new trial on those grounds, 
but criminal prosecution of the lawyer for aggravated perjury.
There is an abundance of legal defense work in 
here and in response to these prison conditions, 
that, despite the legal victories in the Ruiz 
case, prison officials have resorted back to 
their old ways and have disregarded the orders of 
the federal court. I mean, there were about four 
prisoners back here in this control unit that 
took their own lives; guards are very abusive and 
overall prison conditions are brutal and 
torturous and, so, I keep fighting back as I am 
able to, including reaching out to groups such as 
ABC, ABCF, and others to help us build outside 
support to protests these atrocities and 
injustices occurring behind the razor wire of the 
AmeriKKKAn gulag and the “Prisonhouse of 
Nations,” as comrade Mumia Abu-Jamal 
appropriately named in his recent excellent book, 
Lawyers: Defending Prisoners Vs. The USA, which 
is recommended reading by anyone interested in these realities.
Let me add by saying that, while one might say 
there is a contradiction between condemning the 
U.S. court system, and then “petitioning” those 
same courts for redress of injustices, I don’t 
see it like that. It is all part of the varied 
forms of struggle we must sue on all united 
fronts, such as legal defense, barrio organizing, 
civil disobedience, street marches and protests, 
and other more sophisticated forms of resistance. 
We educate, and re-educate others so that they 
will come to understand the true nature of this 
false, class “democracy” and expose all those 
flowery words such as “equal justice for all,” 
which have no real meaning, unless people stand up and demand them.
ABC Denver: You are now in a control unit in a 
Texas prison in Gatesville, Texas. What is it like?
Alvaro: I am confined in isolation to a small 
cell for 23 hours a day. I am allowed one hour of 
recreation a day. My meals, clothing necessities, 
and mail are brought to me in my cell. Every time 
I exit my cage I have to be strip-searched, and 
handcuffed with my hands behind my back, to 
recreation and shower, or to the medical clinic, 
or outside visits from family and friends. My 
cell is constantly searched and left in total 
disarray. More so against those like me who are 
extremely disliked by the prison guards and the 
administration because of our resistance to their 
injustices, and their retaliatory acts to punish 
us for demanding our human rights. I have access 
to a typewriter, a small radio, fan but no 
television. I am allowed to purchase items from 
the commissary, or canteen, such as accessories 
for my machine, personal hygiene items, postage 
and other food supplements such as coffee and 
soda drinks as well. My outgoing and incoming 
mail is subject to special screening by the unit 
mail room, which I call “witch hunts.” You can 
imagine how much one in my situation is hated by 
the system, especially from these retired 
military people who run this place, when one 
criticizes their fascist police practices and the imperialist militarism.
During the year of 2007, there were about four 
prisoner suicides back here in this 500 man 
“control unit” facility. The people back here are 
mainly from “prison gangs” and other prisoners 
the administration labels threats to the security 
of the prison. I have been in this lock down 
status for 9 years now, with no hopes of getting 
released into general population, unless I 
renounce my political beliefs and my activities 
of resisting their prison fascism, which I will never do.
My revolutionary awareness and belief system is 
what sustains me behind the razor-wire walls of 
the Amerikkkan gulag. The majority of prisoners 
back here are Chicano or African American, and 
this is institutional genocide. They may be able 
to jail me, but they will never jail my spirit, 
nor my determination to resist their state crimes 
against me, and I will always fight back no 
matter the odds stacked up against me. Despite 
being condemned by a federal judge in the Ruiz 
case, nothing has changed. Only the names of the 
victims, victimized by this cruel and nightmarish 
forms of isolation and torture that violate all 
standards of international human rights laws. 
These “control units” were designed to isolate 
and destroy political prisoners and prisoners of 
war held captive in U.S. prisons.
ABC Denver: Where is your case currently? How 
best can people support you and bring about your freedom?
Alvaro: I have litigated my case in state and 
federal court all the way to the U.S. Supreme 
Court, which denied me. I am now in the process 
of gathering outside support to be able to obtain 
access to police and prosecutor files suppressed, 
or hidden from my defense, such as the KOSA TV 
news broadcast, and other evidence I know does 
exist in the case. If I can discover these 
withheld materials, I can re-enter the court 
system again, but this time with a stronger 
outside support base to push for my release from this wrongful captivity.
The power of the people will have to be amassed 
in my support, much like the world supported 
brother Nelson Mandela and changed people’s 
opinions and views about him not being a “common 
criminal” or “terrorist,” but a real freedom 
fighter, which finally won his release from the 
claws of South Africa’s apartheid system. There 
are many of us recognized as political prisoners 
and POWs now held in U.S. prisons. We must build 
a new political prisoners support movement and 
use all methods of struggle to win our freedom. 
The U.S. government’s hypocrisy and double 
standards must be exposed when it comes to human 
rights and political prisoners. We must push to 
(counter intelligence program) hearings before 
the Senate Select Committee of the U.S. Congress 
and use international laws and petition human 
rights tribunals to consider our cases of 
political imprisonment, as we have now began to 
organize national movement behind our cases.
People interested in getting involved in this 
effort should stay tuned for further developments 
and activities planned around the country with this freedom movement in mind.
Again, thank the 
<http://denverabc.wordpress.com/>ABC Denver, the 
<http://www.abcf.net/>ABCF, the ABC formations 
and other groups and persons who have supported 
me, and my fellow imprisoned brothers and sisters 
down through the years. For more information 
about me and my case, you can visit 
Thank you. All Power to the People!
November 10, 2010
Hughes Unit Prison
Gatesville, Texas
Persons wanting to write a letter of support to Alvaro can do so at:
Alvaro Luna Hernandez
Hughes Unit
Rt. 2, Box 4400

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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