Unknown assailants gunned down Mexican activist Nepomuceno Moreno Núñez on a street in Hermosillo, the capital of the northern state of Sonora, on Nov. 28. Moreno Núñez had been working with the Movement for Peace With Justice and Dignity (MPJD), which was founded by the poet Javier Sicilia this year to oppose the militarized “war on drugs” that has killed as many as 50,000 Mexican since late 2006.
Moreno’s political activism began when one of his sons, Jorge Mario Moreno, disappeared in July 2010, apparently after being picked up in Ciudad Obregón by municipal or state police agents. Nepomuceno Moreno and other MPJD members met with President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa this past Oct. 14 at the Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City; during the meeting Moreno discussed his son’s disappearance and asked for protection for himself.
Sonora state authorities suggested that Moreno’s murder might be linked to his own criminal record. Moreno was convicted of possession of heroin with intent to sell in Arizona in the 1970s, when he was in his twenties. He was arrested again in Sonora in November 2005 for illegal weapons possession in connection with a shootout in the Los Lagos Golf Club in Hermosillo, but he was acquitted in 2009. At a press conference in Mexico City on Nov. 29, Javier Sicilia called for Sonora attorney general Abel Murrieta Gutiérrez to resign because of this attempt to criminalize the murdered activist. (La Jornada, Mexico, Nov. 30; Adital, Brazil, Dec. 1; Milenio, Mexico, Dec. 1)
In other “drug war” news, on Nov. 27 President Calderón’s office denounced “false and slanderous imputations” against the president and warned that it was analyzing the possibility of “taking legal action against those that make them in various international or national forums and tribunals.” The reference was to a complaint that Mexican human rights attorney Netzaí Sandoval filed with the International Criminal Court in The Hague on Nov. 25 charging Calderón and others with human rights violations in the fight against drug trafficking.
Sandoval responded that it was “inadmissible” for the government to try to use lawsuits to silence its critics. “Calderón is betraying the ideology of his own party,” Sandoval said, referring to the center-right National Action Party (PAN). “One of the most persistent criticisms by the PAN and Calderón’s government against the Cuban regime, that of Fidel Castro, is its refusal to allow observation [of the human right situation] by international organizations.” The complaint that Sandoval filed could lead the ICC to place Mexico under observation, as has happened with Colombia. (LJ, Nov. 28, LJ, Nov. 29)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Dec. 4.