Mexico: Guerrero campesino leader gunned down
An unidentified man assassinated Rocío Mesino Mesino, the director of the leftist South Sierra Campesino Organization (OCSS), in the early afternoon of Oct. 19 near the community of Mexcaltepec, Atoyac de Alvarez municipality, in the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero. Mesino was hit by four bullets, apparently from an AK-47 assault rifle. The killer escaped in a vehicle driven by another man; the military and the municipal police searched for the assailants but reported no success.
The killing was carried out in front of dozens of witnesses. Mesino was standing with her sister Nora and other family members at a site where some 60 workers were repairing a bridge damaged in mid-September by the tropical storms Manuel and Ingrid. The OCSS leader, who held a local office from 2009 to 2012 as a member of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), had opened a canteen for the workers a week before the assassination.
The Mesino family has been the subject of attacks since the time of the federal government's "dirty war" against Guerrero leftists in the 1970s, when Mesino's 20-year-old brother Alberto was disappeared. The Mesinos and other local leaders formed the OCSS on Jan. 14, 1994; a little more than one year later, on June 28, 1995, state police killed 17 OCSS members in what is known as the Aguas Blancas massacre. Rocío Mesino's father, Hilario Mesino Acosta, was detained by the federal government along with then-OCSS director Benigno Guzmán Martínez for a period in the late 1990s. Her brother Miguel Angel Mesino was held on homicide charges for 10 months in 2003 but was released; three unidentified men gunned him down in broad daylight on Sept. 18, 2005, near the police station in the Atoyac town center. Rocío Mesino herself was detained on March 13 of this year in connection with the homicide of Victorino Luengas García, who was kidnapped and then murdered in June 2011 in Coyuca de Benítez, Guerrero, but Judge Marco Antonio Ordorica released her after six days for lack of evidence.
At least six other leftist leaders have been murdered recently in Guerrero. Arturo Hernández Cardona, Félix Rafael Bandera Román and Angel Román Ramírez, three of the eight leaders of the Iguala Popular Unity, were found dead on June 3, a few days after they were kidnapped near the Mexico City-Acapulco highway. Raymundo Velázquez Flores, director of the Emiliano Zapata Revolutionary Agrarian League, and two colleagues were murdered on Aug. 5 in the outskirts of Coyuca de Benítez. (La Jornada, Mexico, Oct. 20)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, October 20.