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Mexico: Former President Cleared of Responsibility for 1968 Student Massacre

(Apr. 9, 2009) On March 26. 2009, a Mexican federal court exonerated former President Luís Echeverría Álvarez of all criminal responsibility for a massacre of students that occurred in Mexico City on October 2, 1968, when Echeverría was serving as Secretary of Interior, and ordered his immediate release. Echeverría had been under house arrest since November 2006. The tribunal concluded that there was a lack of evidence to support the charge of genocide brought against him. (Carlos Avilés, Eximen a Echeverría de la Matanza del 68, EL UNIVERSAL, Mar. 27, 2009, available at http://www.eluniversal.com.mx/nacion/vi_166657.html.)

For background purposes, it is noted that, during the event under consideration, the Tlatelolco Massacre (La Matanza de Tlatelolco), hundreds of unarmed students and workers, many of them with their families, protested against the government of President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz at a public square, known as the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, in the Tlatelolco section of Mexico City. The protesters were fired upon by police and paramilitary forces in armored cars and tanks. Many protesters were either killed or injured or were arrested. The exact toll of the massacre remains a controversial subject. (For further information on this event, see, for example, “Matanza de Tlatelolco,” in ENCICLOPEDIA LIBRE UNIVERSAL EN ESPAÑOL, http://enciclopedia.us.es/index.php/Matanza_de_Tlatelolco (last visited Apr. 7, 2009).)