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Passings / Gilberto Rincon Gallardo

Mexican fought for the marginalized

September 01, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Gilberto Rincon Gallardo, 69, a former socialist presidential candidate who gained respect in Mexico for defending the rights of the disabled, gays and other marginalized groups, died Saturday in Mexico City. A cause of death was not announced.

Rincon Gallardo, born with shortened arms as the result of a congenital birth defect, had overseen Mexico's National Council for Preventing Discrimination since 2000.

He was the candidate of the tiny Social Democracy party in Mexico's historic 2000 election, when the Institutional Revolutionary Party lost the presidency after seven decades of single-party rule. Rincon Gallardo garnered few votes but emerged as the conscience of the campaign by speaking out for homosexuals, the disabled, rape victims and Indians.

"In weak democracies like Mexico, legal protections are necessary to prevent a tyranny of the majority over minorities," he said in a debate.

A former leader of the now-defunct Mexican Community Party, Rincon Gallardo also helped develop Mexico's position favoring a U.N. convention on the rights of the disabled, signed in 2007 by 80 countries.

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