New Proceso article on General Acosta Chaparro’s role during Mexico’s dirty war

In case you need more evidence of the character of the Mexican General murdered Friday in Mexico City, see this excerpt from an article now appearing in Proceso. I hear a lot of rhetoric about the “incredible brutality” of the drug cartels and a lot of other superlative language… But there is seldom any questioning among US policy-makers and even among most journalists of Calderon’s claims that the Army are the incorruptible good guys fighting the drug traffickers. For many decades, the Mexican Army has been the major power in the country torturing and killing social activists and also enriching themselves and their civilian partners through drug trafficking. Here is a short example of some activities of General Acosta Chaparro in Guerrero during the “dirty war

The general who killed by the sword, a name associated with torture

In Guerrero he will be remembered as one of the most abominable actors in the dirty war of the Mexican state against dissidents. Since then his name, Mario Arturo Acosta Chaparro Escapite-continues to evoke the sensation of burning pain among social activists there, who consider him responsible for the detention and torture of hundreds of political opponents of the PRI regime, as well as the person behind many forced disappearances.

Four days after the Guerrero Congress installed the Truth Commission to investigate the crimes of the dirty war, General Mario Arturo Acosta Chaparro Escapite was executed in Mexico City on Friday, April 20, 2012. His name was inevitably linked to torture, enforced disappearance of hundreds of social activists and to many of the as yet unexplained deaths in the dirty war.

His actions in Guerrero during the administrations of Ruben Figueroa Figueroa (1975-1981) and his son, Ruben Figueroa Alcocer (1993-1999), marked him indelibly. In the Fox administration he was one of the soldiers under investigation by the Special Prosecutor for Social and Political Movements of the Past (FEMOSPP), which incorporated a preliminary investigation against him, General Humberto Quiros Hermosillo and then Captain Francisco Javier Barquin for their participation in the torture and murder of 143 people.

The case was referred to military courts, and during the hearings at least 10 soldiers were summoned to testify as witnesses, including Tarin Gustavo Chavez, who said that between 1975 and 1979 he worked as an aide to Acosta Chaparro.

During this period 1,500 arrests were made at checkpoints set up by the army on Guerrero roads and highways. Some of these detainees were transferred to the Military Air Base “Pie de la Cuesta.” According to witnesses, Barquin was responsible for registering their names in a book of people who would be disappeared [libro de pastas negras].

According to some versions, as part of that process, General Quiros Hermosillo and Acosta picked out detainees and posed them on a chair to take “the souvenir photo.” They then shot them in the neck with a .380 caliber pistol which Quiros named “the avenging sword.” The bodies were put into canvas bags, loaded onto an Arava airplane of what was then known as Squadron 301 and the dead would be to thrown into the sea during unauthorized flights.

According to Tarin Chavez, Acosta Chaparro personally executed some 200 people, “all of this with the permission of General Quiros Hermosillo” (Proceso 1356). Despite the incriminating evidence, he and Quiros Hermosillo were exonerated.
(Excerpt from an article appearing this week in the magazine Proceso 1851, now on the newsstands.)