Friday, June 30, 2006


Echevarria, Mexico's Butcher of Tleteloco, Arrested—Finally

The ‘60s and ‘70s were violent times in Latin America (among other places!). The Colossus of The North, in it’s spasms of hate toward anything remotely Left, financed and trained and armed militaries and paramilitaries from Mexico to Argentina. Mexico was as oppressive as Guatemala or Salvador; it’s just they had a smoother hand with P.R. since the country is so dependent on tourism.

Mexican ex-president ordered arrested in massacre;_ylt=Anza9ue9sPn5YdlmToWUBR9g.3QA;_ylu=X3oDMTA3MXN1bHE0BHNlYwN0bWE-
By Lorraine Orlandi1 hour, 4 minutes ago

A judge on Friday ordered the arrest of Mexico's former President Luis Echeverria for a 1968 student massacre in a surprise move just two days before a presidential election.

The judge ruled that there was enough evidence to support the charge of genocide brought against Echeverria, 84, by special prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo.

The arrest order, after two failed attempts in recent years to charge Echeverria with genocide, is a breakthrough in outgoing President Vicente Fox's halting drive to punish those responsible for past government brutality. Fox leaves office in December.

"For the first time in Mexico's history a president will be tried in this way," Carrillo said. "This will work against a repetition of abuse of power, to impede it forever."

Echeverria is expected to be held under house arrest due to his age and health concerns, defense attorney Juan Velasquez said after the judge's ruling. Echeverria was president from 1970 to 1976, at the height of a so-called dirty war against leftists.

Echeverria was interior minister in charge of national security when government troops stormed a student rally in Mexico City on October 2, 1968, days before the opening of the Olympics here.

"This is an historic accomplishment after a long struggle by many for justice and truth in the face of a criminal state in the Echeverria era," said Joel Ortega, who witnessed the massacre as a student protester.

Voters go to the polls on Sunday in the first presidential election since 2000, when Fox ousted the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, which ruled Mexico for seven decades, at times using repression to crush dissent.

It was not immediately clear what impact the arrest order could have on Sunday's vote, but it was unlikely to help PRI candidate Roberto Madrazo. He is in third place in opinion polls and his party has repeatedly criticized the investigation into past rights abuses.

Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has a wafer-thin lead in opinion polls over ruling party candidate Felipe Calderon.

Officials said about 30 people died in what came to be known as the Tlatelolco massacre. But witnesses and rights activists put the death toll as high as 300. Echeverria has denied responsibility for the blood bath.

Carrillo, named by Fox to investigate and prosecute dirty-war crimes, says Echeverria oversaw a bloody campaign to stamp out dissidents when he was interior minister and president.

Fox took office pledging to shed light on Mexico's dark past and punish former high-ranking officials who planned and carried out state crimes, raising hopes for justice among survivors.

But the prosecutor has had little success, with few arrests and no convictions. Fox has been widely criticized by survivors and rights groups for falling short on his promises. He is barred by law from seeking re-election.

Copyright © 2006 Reuters Limited.

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