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“Dirty War” Tactic of Disappearances Reappears in Mexico

The War on Drugs is becoming another “Dirty War” in Mexico, with the tactic of enforced disappearances reappearing as a commonplace occurrence in the country. “Enforced disappearances in Mexico have happened in the past and continue to happen today,” the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances stated during a presentation of its findings in March.

The UN Group noted that during the country’s first “Dirty War”, which lasted from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s, enforced disappearances was a systematic State practice used against students, indigenous peoples, peasants, activists and anyone suspected of being a critic or opponent of the government.

“While the Cold War provided the pretext to disappear social movement actors and people opposed to regimes, the War on Drugs again provides pretexts to disappear people opposed to government policies,” said Stuart Schussler, the Mexico Solidarity Network’s International Solidarity Coordinator. “When you disappear people it’s a crime against the whole community and an assault on its social fabric. As a result, people become afraid to speak up and to organize.”

Now that this practice has reappeared in the country’s latest conflict, the UN notes that the cases of disappearances share the same patterns of widespread impunity, secrecy and lack of reparations and justice for the victims as in the past.

“The refusal of the authorities to recognize the true dimensions of this phenomenon and the involvement of public officials in these crimes – whether by commission, omission, or collusion with organized crime groups – has enabled this crime to spread to many parts of the country,” Amnesty International stated in response to the UN’s findings.

Since President Felipe Calderon deployed the military to combat narco-trafficking in December 2006, over 50,000 people have been murdered—more than the death toll for the 11-year war in Afghanistan. According to Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission, between 2006 and April 2011, 5,937 people have been reported lost or missing, while 8,898 murdered people remain unidentified. Much of this violence, which has been carried out by the Mexican government, military, and police, has been subsidized by U.S. taxpayers though the Merida Initiative, a counter-narcotics policy modeled after Plan Colombia, which provides Mexico with $1.6 billion in aid that is supposed to have human rights requirements.

FULL ARTICLE HERE:  “Dirty War” Tactic of Disappearances Reappears in Mexico.

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