Relatives of victims of Mexican ‘dirty war’ call for past crimes prosecutor’s office to remain open |

Relatives of victims of Mexican ‘dirty war’ call for past crimes prosecutor’s office to remain open

MEXICO CITY – Relatives of those who died or vanished during Mexico’s decades-old anti-guerilla campaigns marched on the capital’s central plaza to protest the closing of an office assigned to investigate governmental crimes of the past.About 35 family members, most hailing from the southern state of Guerrero, where state repression against leftists and suspected rebel supporters was harshest, led a small procession Tuesday to the National Cathedral, just off Mexico City’s famed Zocalo plaza.”We’ve only seen one case resolved … there are no clues about where our family members were taken and for us that’s the most important thing,” said Tita Radilla, vice president of the Association of Relatives of the Arrested and Disappeared.Last Month, Attorney General Daniel Cabeza de Vaca said the office for crimes committed during Mexico’s so-called “Dirty War” would close some time in April, after special prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo presents a final report.The announcement was the latest blow to the high-minded promises of President Vicente Fox, who took office in 2000 vowing to get to the bottom of the governmental anti-insurgency campaign and punish those responsible.Fox ended the Institutional Revolutionary Party’s 71-year grip on the presidency with a surprising win at the polls six years ago. He will leave office in December.Groups demonstrating late Tuesday called on the president to allow the special prosecutor’s office to remain open at least until the end of his term.”We consider it necessary to guarantee the continuity of those investigations and criminal cases already opened,” said Edgar Cortes, whose group, All Rights for Everyone Network, represents a collection of organizations formed for those persecuted during the dirty war.Fox tapped Carrillo as chief dirty war investigator in 2001, after the National Human Rights Commission documented 275 accused guerrillas who vanished due to government anti-insurgency efforts.Carrillo’s investigations led to the arrests of a few former officials from the federal government as well as Guerrero. But most of his tenure has been characterized by unsuccessful efforts to try former President Luis Echeverria and top members of his government for the mass-killings in 1968 and 1971.Carrillo has accused then Interior Secretary Echeverria of masterminding an attack on student protesters who filled Mexico City’s Tlatelolco Plaza just before the capital hosted the Olympics in 1968.Officially, 25 people were killed, though human rights activists say as many as 350 may actually have lost their lives.Vail, Colorado

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