Mexico: government roadblocks “dirty war” investigation?

From El Universal, April 16, via Chiapas95:

The special prosecutor’s office set up by President Fox to investigate the violent campaign against leftists more than a generation ago failed to file its report on the case Saturday, the day it was due. The Attorney General’s Office (PGR), to which the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Past Social and Political Movements (FEMSPP) answers, said Saturday that the report “will be delayed.”

A PGR official told EFE Saturday that for the moment there is “no specific date” when the controversial report on Mexico’s “Dirty War” will be presented, nor whether Fox himself will present it as had been initially decided.

FEMSPP chief Ignacio Carrillo promised at a press conference on March 1 that this Saturday Fox would present a report setting forth the “historical truth” about the Dirty War, to be known as the White Book.

The document has generated a heated debate between the government and FEMSPP and a group of investigators who prepared the document on the subject and fear it will be sanitized by Carrillo.

A leaked draft of the report was published at the end of February by the U.S. NGO National Security Archives (NSA). It is widely thought that the draft was disseminated by one or more of the 27 researchers and historians hired by the special prosecutor’s office to produce the White Book.

The government explained that that document was not official and promised to present its final report Saturday, April 15.

The NSA – not to be confused with the U.S. government’s National Security Agency – said that despite knowing of the repression carried out under Presidents Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, Luis Echeverria and Jose Lopez Portillo, its researchers had been shocked by the level of brutality detailed in the document.

The preliminary 700-page draft, entitled “May It Never Happen Again,” documented thousands of cases of people tortured, murdered or disappeared by the Mexican police and Army, particularly in the southern state of Guerrero.

That unofficial version also provided new information on the 1964-1982 repression, detailing actions that, according to FEMSPP, prove that for years there was a “state policy” against the leftist opposition that included summary executions and hundreds of clandestine military detention centers in the south of Mexico,

The prosecutor acknowledged that he “could have done something more” to bring to justice the people responsible for the atrocities of the Dirty War, while pointing to “successes” such as convincing the Supreme Court to rule that the crime of forced disappearance is not subject to the statute of limitations.

Carrillo’s efforts to hold former officials accountable have been stymied. The courts have blocked several attempts to indict Echeverri’a for genocide in connection with one of the bloodiest episodes of the Dirty War, the Tlatelolco massacre of Oct. 2, 1968.

Carrillo has complained in the past that elements within all three branches of government have sought to obstruct his office’s efforts to bring Dirty War repressors to justice.

With the presentation of the report, the FEMSPP will recognize as concluded the attempt to judge these past crimes and will be dismantled before Fox hands over the presidency on Dec. 1 to the winner of the July 2 election.

See our last reports on Mexico and the “dirty war” investigation.