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Mexico president vows no impunity for ‘Dirty War’ abuses

Mexico's president on Wednesday said there would be no impunity for abuses committed by authorities during the so-called "Dirty War" of the 1960s-1980s, speaking at the launch of a truth commission.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador delivers a press conference about the results of Sunday’s midterm elections at the National Palace in Mexico City on June 7, 2021. – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Monday his ruling coalition was on course to retain its control of the lower house, despite a setback in legislative elections he called “free and fair.” (Photo by ALFREDO ESTRELLA / AE / AFP)

Mexico’s president on Wednesday said there would be no impunity for abuses committed by authorities during the so-called “Dirty War” of the 1960s-1980s, speaking at the launch of a truth commission.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which for decades ruled the country as a one-party state, was accused of using torture, forced disappearances and killing to suppress guerrilla, student and labor movements of the time.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said at the inauguration of a commission set up to investigate abuses committed by the authorities that his government had given orders “not to hide anything.”

He vowed “zero impunity” and promised recognition for both civilians and soldiers who died during the dark chapter in Mexican history.

“In this way we honour the memory of those who lost their lives… and fought for an ideal or fought in fulfilment of a duty,” Lopez Obrador said.

The inclusion of soldiers who died in a reconciliation mechanism, as well as in a commemorative monument, drew protests from relatives of civilian victims.

Cries of “Alive they took them, alive we want them!” and “Neither forgive nor forget!” rang out at the ceremony.

Relatives held signs reading “Where are they” and demanding justice.

Defense Minister Luis Cresencio Sandoval acknowledged that some military actions at the time had fallen short of “the principles of legality and humanity.”

But he insisted that historically the armed forces “have remained subordinate” to the president, who according to the constitution is their supreme commander.