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Justice at last in the dirty war?

16 January 2005

Reuters still claims Vincente Fox’s election was the “71 years of single-party rule ” (which is a bit naive). Not quite true, but Mexico was close to a right-wing dictatorship in the 60s and 70s (Carlos Fuentes — who was a high-level government bureaucrat at the time — called the Mexican System “the perfect dictatorship”). The imperfections in the system, made worse by educational budget cuts when preparing for the 1968 Olympics, led to protest and repression. The worst was the 2 October 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre (this is from a Marxist paper, but it’s accessible in English) — which was ignored by the foreign press, and never fully acknowedged by the Mexican government. People never forgot, and maybe now, we’ll finally find out what really happened…

Mexico to Charge Two Dozen in ‘Dirty War’ Massacre

Thu Jan 13, 2005 03:52 PM ET By Lorraine Orlandi

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico will bring genocide charges in March against two dozen former officials for a 1968 student massacre, the bloodiest moment in a brutal campaign against leftist dissidents by previous governments.
Special Prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo said on Thursday the long-awaited case will be brought against former high-ranking civilian and military officials. They are among 70 people he plans to charge during the next year in President Vicente Fox’s drive to punish past atrocities, he told reporters.


Officials say about 30 people died in the Oct. 2, 1968, blood bath at Mexico City’s Tlatelolco Plaza, when troops fired on a huge protest days before the Olympic Games opened here. Rights groups say that based on witness reports the number of dead was closer to 300.
Ex-President Luis Echeverria, who was interior minister at the time, is under investigation for his role in the tragedy and is widely expected to be charged, though Carrillo would not confirm that.In July, the prosecutor sought to bring genocide charges against Echeverria and 12 others in a different case, a 1971 attack on students that left at least a dozen dead. The charges were dismissed based on the statute of limitations, and the Supreme Court is reviewing Carrillo’s appeal.On Thursday, Carrillo said he aims to bring charges in the 1968 massacre against some of the same former officials he named in the 1971 case.

He pledged to file charges in the Tlatelolco case even if the Supreme Court has not yet ruled in the 1971 killings, though the high court’s decision is seen as crucial to establishing a framework for prosecuting similar cases.
“I would prefer to follow the court, but I can no longer say to the complainants and family members we’re still waiting,” he said.

Fox took office in 2000, ending 71 years of single-party rule and pledging to expose Mexico’s repressive, secret past. Hundreds or more Mexicans died or disappeared at the hands of government security forces from the 1960s to the 1980s in a so-called dirty war against dissidents.

Of 11 dirty war arrest warrants issued, just three suspects have been arrested and face trial. In Mexico, genocide charges can apply if victims were targeted as members of a group, such as the student movement.

(Thanks to “katydid” for finding this)

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