Murder of Mexican Human Rights Attorney Raises Questions about President Vicente Fox's Commitment to Democratic Reform
Interview by Between the Lines' Denise Manzari.
One of Mexico's leading human rights attorneys was murdered on Oct. 19. Thirty-seven-year-old Digna Ochoa was shot in the head and leg in her office in Mexico City.
A note was left near Ochoa's body warning members of the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center that the same could happen to them. After receiving several threats and being held and interrogated by unknown assailants, Ochoa left Mexico for six months to work in the United States, returning just this past April.
Digna Ochoa defended alleged guerillas jailed during the 1990s, Zapatista Liberation Army supporters and two indigenous environmentalists opposed to illegal logging who were jailed on what they say were trumped up drug and weapons charges.
In a recent press release, Mexican President Vicente Fox condemned the murder and promised a full investigation, saying the government will punish those responsible. However, human rights groups were quick to blame Ochoa's death on the failure of government authorities to take threats against activists seriously.
After taking office in December of last year, and ending 71 years of one-party rule, Vicente Fox promised the people of Mexico a new democracy and respect for human rights -- a commitment now questioned by some human rights groups.
Roberto Rodriguez is a columnist and activist based in Texas. He spoke with Between The Lines' Denise Manzari about Digna Ochoa's murder and the anticipated response of the Vicente Fox government (To receive Between The Lines Weekly Summary and/or Q&A, email email@example.com and/or firstname.lastname@example.org).
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