Report Leaked on Mexico's "Dirty War"
The draft report's authors write: "The authoritarian attitude with which the Mexican state wished to control social dissent created a spiral of violence which... led it to commit crimes against humanity, including genocide."
They say they base their findings partly on declassified military, police and interior ministry documents and list for the first time the names of officers allegedly involved in the abuses.The report says that units detained or summarily executed men and boys in villages suspected of links to rebel leader Lucio Cabanas.
Detainees were forced to drink gasoline and tortured with beatings and electric shocks, it says.
Bodies of dozens of leftists were dumped in the Pacific Ocean during helicopter "death flights" from military bases in Acapulco and elsewhere.
President Fox established an office in 2002 to probe possible human rights violations under Presidents Diaz Ordaz (1964-70), Echeverria (1970-76) and Lopez Portillo (1976-82). The office presented the report last December to the special prosecutor investigating past abuses, Ignacio Carrillo Prieto, but he refused to release it, saying that it places too much blame on the military and understates the abuses committed by the rebels. He says a revised version will be published soon.
Human-rights groups in Mexico have criticized Carillo's refusal to make the report public. That criticism certainly has merit, but Carillo has taken his job seriously, doggedly pursuing charges againt Echeverria for his involvement in the worst abuses of the Dirty War. Carrillo initially brought charges against Echeverria for ordering the Falcons, a paramilitary force allegedly created by his political party, to massacre students in June, 1971 -- an event known as the "Corpus Christi massacre." Those charges were thrown out by the Mexican Supreme Court, which held that the 30-year statute of limitations for the charges had expired.
Carrillo then charged Echeverria with genocide -- a crime not subject to the 30-year limit -- in connection with an earlier massacre of students in 1968, days before the Olympic Games opened in Mexico City. As many as 300 people might have died when government agents hidden among regular soldiers opened fire on the students. A judge dismissed the charge last September, ruling that the massacre could not amount to genocide. Carrillo has appealed the judge's decision.
The leaked report is available at the invaluable National Security Archive, here.