Mexico: harassment of “dirty war” investigator

On July 15 Abdallan Guzmán Cruz, a former deputy in Mexico’s federal Congress, charged that unknown persons broke into his home in Morelia, Michoacán, the night of July 7 and stole papers that he had gathered during years of investigation into the disappearance of five relatives from 1974 to 1976, during the Mexican military’s “dirty war” against suspected leftists. He said some books formerly considered “subversive” were also stolen, along with 60,000 pesos (about $5,900) and some rings, but other valuable objects were not touched. Guzmán Cruz is an activist in the Diego Lucero Foundation, a human rights group. Another activist from the foundation, Jose Francisco Paredes Ruiz, went missing in September 2007; no information is available on where he is now and on his physical condition.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders—a program sponsored jointly by the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)—has called for the Mexican government to guarantee the safety of Cruz Guzmán, his family and other members of the Diego Lucero Foundation, and to carry out a thorough and impartial investigation of the events of July 7 and the disappearance of Paredes Ruiz.

Letters can be sent to Mexican president Felipe Calderon Hinojosa (, Governance Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino Terrazo ( and Michoacán governor Leonel Godoy Rangel ( Sample letters are available from the Mexican League for the Defense of Human Rights (LIMEDDH). (Cambio de Michoacan, July 16; OMCT-FIDH urgent action, July 16)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, July 20

Incidents of killings, torture and rape by security forces in Michoacán have been been investigated by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission both this year and last year.

See our last posts on Mexico’s human rights crisis and Michoacán.