Mexico: counterinsurgency general assassinated

An unknown assailant killed retired Mexican general Mario Arturo Acosta Chaparro Escapite with three shots to the head on the evening of April 20 at an auto shop in the Anáhuac section of Mexico City; the general had just brought his car there for repairs. The killer and an accomplice escaped on a motorcycle. This was the second attack against the general in two years; he was shot in the abdomen in Mexico City on May 18, 2010, in a supposed robbery attempt.

Acosta Chaparro joined the Mexican military in the 1960s and received training in counterinsurgency and psychological warfare from the US Army at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He became part of the so-called “White Brigade,” formed to combat rebel groups, especially the Sept. 23 Communist League and the Party of the Poor, which operated in the southwestern state of Guerrero under the leadership of Lucio Cabañas Barrientos.

In 2000 Acosta Chaparro was convicted of protecting Juárez Cartel head Amado Carrillo Fuentes, known as “The Lord of the Skies” for his use of jets to carry drugs. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison but later won acquittal on appeal. In 2002 Acosta Chaparro was charged, along with Gen. Francisco Quiroz Hermosillo, with the murder of campesinos in Guerrero during the “dirty war” against the Army of the Poor in the 1970s. He was eventually cleared of these charges as well.

Activists have accused Acosta Chaparro of involvement in “death flights” to dispose of bodies of the military’s victims by dropping them into the sea from airplanes. There were also reports that Acosta Chaparro was present when security forces massacred 17 campesinos at Aguas Blancas, in Coyuca de BenĂ­tez municipality, Guerrero, on June 28, 1995. (La Jornada, Mexico, April 21; AP, April 23, via El Paso Times, Tex.)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 22.

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