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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Mexico. Luis Echeverria is dead. The former president was 100 years old

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Former Mexican President Luis Echeverria died on Saturday at the age of 100. He took office in 1970, promising the democratization of the country, but his rule was overshadowed by the brutal suppression of student protests. His rule was marked by political repression.

The current Mexican president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, confirmed Echeveria’s death on Twitter, expressing his condolences to the politician’s family.

Echeverria was burdened with genocide charges for the brutal suppression of student protests in 1968 and 1971, which marked the beginning of an era of political repression against opponents. However, the former president was never held accountable. He has always countered the accusations by saying that his conscience is clear. He refused to testify on crimes that have not been fully explained to date.

Echeverria came from the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which ruled Mexico for 71 years until 2000. He believed in a political system in which the ruling party controls every sphere of public life.

Accusations of student massacres and political repression

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He was the head of state of Echeverria in 1970-76. As president, he was almost immediately overshadowed by the accusations. He was accused of having ordered soldiers to open fire on thousands of students, peacefully demonstrating in the so-called Three Cultures Square in Mexico City’s Tlatelolco district, on October 2, 1968, as the minister of internal affairs. Authorities said 30 people had died at the time, but witnesses reported seeing many more bodies. It is estimated that up to 400 people died in the events, also known as Tlatelolco Night, although the final death toll has never been confirmed.

Echeverria, wanting to clear his political image, as president promised “a democratic opening of the country”, managing, inter alia, amnesty for students detained during protests in 1968.

Luis EcheverriaReuters

In fact, from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, Mexico had a brutal campaign by party security forces targeting left-wing intellectuals and critical journalists, many of whom were killed or missing under Echeveria.

On June 10, 1971, on Corpus Christi, a paralmilitary unit known as Los Halcones, armed with clubs, tear gas and live ammunition weapons, attacked students protesting in the country’s capital. Nearly 120 people died, including a 14-year-old boy.

In 2006, a court ordered that Echeverria be placed under house arrest for his association with the murders of students. However, in March 2009 a court ruled that the repression by the army did not qualify as genocide and upheld earlier rulings that the 30-year statute of limitations for crimes had already expired.



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