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Chicano activist Carlos Montes now fights for his own freedom

Chicano activist Carlos Montes now fights for his own freedom

By Amanda Brinegar

EL PASO – El Paso born Carlos M. Montes has been a solidarity activist since the late 1960s, denouncing wars and fighting for immigration rights and better public education, but lately he can be seen surrounded by posters with a much different message –“Save Carlos Montes.”

Wearing his black newsboy cap backwards and a ‘Chicano Nation’ t-shirt, Montes, 64, walked with a swagger through El Paso’s Mayapan Mercado Mayachen museum, and in midsentence pointed to a picture on the gallery wall and said, “Oh shit, that’s me!” as if looking through a personal photo album that he’d forgotten existed.

The gallery documents the plight of Mexican immigrants as well as Montes’ own lifetime of struggle. The scattered protest posters scream out, “Alto Policía Represión,” “Don’t privatize public education!” and “Stop the war!”

In May 2011, police officers and the FBI raided Montes’ home in Los Angeles, he said, destroying everything in their path, confiscating papers, his computer and cell phone, dragging him out and throwing him into handcuffs.

He was charged with four counts of perjury for neglecting to mention a conviction that happened 42 years ago when he was purchasing a handgun. He was also charged with possession of a handgun and ammunition by an ex-felon…

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