New Questions on Lynching

December 2 Judge Isabel Cristina Porras of Mexico City’s 17th criminal district formally charged 29 people in the lynching deaths of two Federal Preventive Police (PFP) agents on the evening of November 23 and in the attempted murder of a third agent, who was severely beaten. She said that there would be more arrests in the killings, which took place in the village of San Juan Ixtayopan in the Tláhuac delegación (borough) of the Federal District (DF), a rural area about 40 miles south of downtown Mexico City. (EFE 12/2/04; El Diario-La Prensa (NY) 12/4/04 from AFP)

The Mexican government continues to say the three PFP agents were carrying out an undercover investigation of drug dealing in the village. The left-leaning daily La Jornada had reported that the agents worked with PFP intelligence, not the anti-narcotics unit, and were actually looking for members of a small rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the People (FARP), and a professor reportedly linked to Alejandro, Antonio and Héctor Cerezo Contreras, three brothers jailed for alleged participation in a bombing of bank branches in August 2001. In a letter circulated on November 28, a fourth brother, Francisco Cerezo Contreras, revealed that his family had lived in San Juan Ixtayopan two decades earlier, and that his father—Francisco Cerezo Quiroz, a college professor now in hiding and reportedly a leader of the rebel Popular Revolutionary Army (EPR)—was probably the professor the undercover agents were looking for. (Comité Cerezo 11/28/04)

On December 2 the Mexico City daily El Universal reported on the discovery of a notebook the surviving agent, Edgar Moreno Nolasco, had kept from August 5 to November 6. He appeared to have spent much of his time monitoring demonstrations by environmentalists and opponents of privatization and changes to the labor code. He monitored a protest against the construction of a Wal-Mart near the famous ruins at Teotihuacán, kept track of the movements of opposition politicians, and served briefly as a bodyguard for President Vicente Fox Quesada’s cousin, the nun Marchía del Carmen Fuentes Quesada. There is no mention either of drug dealing or of rebel operations. (EU 12/2/04) WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE ON THE AMERICAS, 12/3/04.