MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A detailed report on Mexico's ''dirty war'' against rebel
groups in the 1970s blames government security agencies for the torture and disappearance
of hundreds of suspected leftists, a leading newspaper said on Sunday.
The 2,000-page report by Mexico's human rights ombudsman is due to be presented
this week to President Vicente Fox, who made a pledge to investigate past human
rights abuses part of his campaign last year.
El Universal said the report, which it said it obtained in advance, listed
the abductions of 532 activists and concluded that all of them were tortured by
The report also said it had proof that 275 of those activists then disappeared
without a trace, the newspaper said, without making clear the fate of the others.
Fox's resolve to punish past abuses will face a test with the ``dirty war''
report, as human rights groups want Fox to prosecute the officials who allegedly
ordered that suspects be tortured or killed as part of the anti-insurgency campaign.
Since taking office, Fox has come under fire from some critics who say he is
giving only lip service to upholding human rights.
Fox took office last December after an election victory that ended 71 years
of unbroken rule by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).
Human rights ombudsman Luis Soberanes, who heads the autonomous National Human
Rights Commission (CNDH), is expected to hand Fox the report on Monday or Tuesday.
Soberanes is also expected to give Fox a sealed envelope containing names --
provided by witnesses -- of those suspected of orchestrating the disappearance
of political dissidents, recommending that cases be investigated and prosecuted.
REPORT DETAILS ALLEGED ABUSES
El Universal said the report accused a government agency known as the Federal
Security Board, a death squad called the ''White Brigade'' and members of the
army of carrying out illegal searches and arrests, torture and ``forced disappearances.''
It said the victims were held at military bases, Federal Security Board installations
and clandestine jails across the country before disappearing.
The report alleged the worst abuses occurred during the presidencies of Luis
Echeverria and Jose Lopez Portillo, when several left-wing groups took up arms
against the government.
Most of the activists tortured and apparently murdered came from the southern
state of Guerrero, a center of rebel activity.
El Universal said the CNDH report named 74 government officials and 37 agencies
as responsible for the disappearances, but the newspaper did not provide the names
in its report.
SOME SUSPECT COVER-UP
Many relatives of the disappeared have said they doubted the ombudsman's report
would shed light on the fate of their loved ones or lead to the prosecution of
Cabinet ministers or senior officials suspected of ordering the ``dirty war.''
The murder last month of prominent rights lawyer Digna Ochoa, who was repeatedly
threatened and attacked for her work, focused new attention on Mexico's checkered
Earlier this month, Fox pardoned two peasant activists from Guerrero who were
jailed after leading environmental protests in what became an international cause,
and he named a special prosecutor to investigate political disappearances of past
Critics say the gestures fall short of past pledges to expose and punish state
repression and Fox has so far resisted international pressure to release Gen.
Francisco Gallardo, who was imprisoned eight years ago after speaking out on military
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