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Mexico Takes Strides Toward Human Rights

December 24, 2001

Thank you for the very touching and revealing "A Husband Lost, a Son Born in 'Dirty War' " (Dec. 15), about political activists who were "disappeared" in the 1970s in Mexico. Uncovering these past secrets of Mexico's "dirty war" is very important for improving human rights conditions there; however, we must also remember that these types of events are not isolated to the past--they are occurring right now.

Over the past decade, Mexico has increasingly relied on its army to police its countryside. This increase was inspired both by the drug war and by leftist insurgency groups. When the Zapatista National Liberation Army formed an armed uprising in the mid-1990s to fight for indigenous rights, Mexico's army responded with a swift and brutal campaign. The result has been a past decade filled with illegal arrests, arbitrary detentions, torture, murder and "disappearances."

I applaud Mexico's President Vicente Fox for his commitment to improving the army's human rights record, but a lot remains to be done. A basic, agreeable indigenous rights act has yet to be passed. Meanwhile, the indigenous people in Mexico continue to live in fear. As a major provider of military aid to that country, the U.S. must keep pressure on Mexico to straighten out its army.

Emily Lutz

Pomona

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