[Marxism] Mexico Debates The Meaning of 'Genocide' as Fox Tries to Lay the Past to Rest
gojack10 at hotmail.com
Mon Jul 26 08:01:22 MDT 2004
A sort of charade is currently being played out in Mexico these days. It's
the PRI vs PAN Show. The PRI rages against Fox supposedly helping uncover
their crimes of the past, while Fox gets to supposedly stand up to the PRI
on the issue. And a half dead, ex-PRI criminal is the center of it all.
Should he get a slap on his rep in his sunset years, or not? And just how
much murder constitutes an international delito mayor? Yes, Echeverria
killed a couple, but the PRI gets off by arguing that at least he was no
Pinochet or Rios Montt. And Fox gets his credentials as supposedly marching
Mexico forward from such 'errors' of the past. Meanwhile, the Mexican
public gets to watch the show. The planned ending is just to finally put
the issue to rest, once and for all. PRI and PAN are united on that.
Opinions Vary on Mexican Genocide Case
Sun Jul 25
By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press Writer
MEXICO CITY - Many Mexicans criticized a special prosecutor Sunday for
accusing a former president of genocide, with some saying the charges didn't
fit the crime. Others questioned a judge's decision to reject the case.
Special Prosecutor Ignacio Carrillo argued that dozens were killed on June
10, 1971, when security forces attacked protesters with sticks and guns, and
that the crime fit a 1967 Mexican law outlawing genocide.
Judge Julio Cesar Flores disagreed, and many in Mexico said the charges
against former President Luis Echeverria, accused of ordering the attack,
devalued the term "genocide."
"It would have been better to do nothing at all," leftist Mexico City Mayor
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Sunday. "I think the majority of people are
going to doubt this."
Carrillo said the judge "did not fully analyze the evidence contained in the
14 volumes, consisting of 9,382 pages, probably because of time
But some doubted the efficacy of genocide charges or any criminal charges
33 years after the events.
"This was the wrong way to do this," said former national security adviser
Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, who had suggested President Vicente Fox (news - web
sites) form a truth commission rather than try former leaders. "If you can't
prove these charges, then it just leaves people thinking there was some lack
of commitment, or political maneuvering."
Fox has not commented on the case, beyond saying that it was in the hands of
the judicial system.
There was also a debate about whether the 1971 attack was truly genocide,
defined as a systematic attempt to exterminate a racial, ethnic or national
A lawyer for Echeverria said only 11 people died in the demonstration, but
activists have said dozens were killed and many of the deaths were covered
Columnist Jaime Sanchez Susarrey wrote "there was repression that day, but
nobody in their right mind could say that genocide occurred."
The most recent recognized case of genocide occurred in 1994 in Rwanda, when
500,000 people were killed. But Aguilar Zinser, who worked on the Rwanda
case as Mexico's former U.N. ambassador, said "you can't compare that" with
the 1971 events.
Others criticized the judge for refusing to uphold the case.
"This nullified, in one blow, all the progress that had been made in the
credibility of legal processes in Mexico," said writer Carlos Monsivais.
David Roura, one of the 1971 protesters, said the attack was against a "a
"Even though they didn't exterminate all of us, there was a genocidal trap
laid," he said.
Most agree Carrillo filed the genocide charges mainly because they were the
only accusations apart from "forced disappearance" on which the statute
of limitations had not already run out.
Defense lawyers, however, argued that time limits applied even to genocide.
Carrillo has vowed to appeal Saturday's ruling to the Supreme Court. But
most lawyers including Mexico's second-highest prosecutor, Joe Luis
Santiago Vasconcelos have said the charges "will not go anywhere."
Prosecuting political crimes as genocide was pioneered by Spanish Judge
Baltasar Garzon in his investigation of abuses committed during the "dirty
wars" in Argentina and Chile during the 1970s and 80s.
But those cases have much higher death tolls. At least 9,000 Argentines died
or vanished between 1976 and 1983, and rights groups say the figure could be
as high as 30,000. More than 3,000 people were killed or disappeared for
political reasons during Augusto Pinochet (news - web sites)'s 1973-90
dictatorship in Chile.
Few estimates place the death toll in Mexico's "dirty war" at much more than
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