Entrenched inside the Corridor No. 1 of the Archive, the civil intelligence agency controls all the archives of the Dirty War. Having won on the battlefield, the CISEN is strengthening the padlock to deny access to the documents.
“Open up the Corridor No.1!” interrupts a scream from the public. The director of the General Archive of the Nation of Mexico (AGN) Mercedes de Vega Armijo, sitting in front of an audience, barely moves her head, barely blinking and not making any gesture. “Yes! Open it up!” another voice replies as the applauses burst.
We are at the international Seminary about the Access to the Historic Confidential Archives at the headquarters of the National Institute of Transparency and the Protection of Personal Data (Inai).
The gathering of academics, commissioners, public servants and representatives of civil organizations was focused on the claims –from the audience towards the speakers, from the speakers towards the audience, from speakers to his table companions- due to the abrupt closure to the direct access to the thousands of documents that lie inside the Corridor No. 1, registered between 1947 and 1985 by the official espionage and repression apparatus.
Since the beginning of 2015, under the pretext of preserving the personal data of persons, even after their death decades ago, nobody who is not an agent of the Center of Research and National Security (CISEN) could consult directly the historic archives of the intelligence agency and counter-insurgency of the PRI governments during the Cold War, in which Mexico unleashed the Dirty War.
Corridor No. 1, the memory of the brutality
Photographs taken from the other side of the street or through a car window; reports made by infiltrated agents or by watchmen that chassed during days, weeks a persons or entire group; reports that establish who were considered enemies of the state and who was subject of surveillance, only for their social notoriety; charts that identified who was who, what he/she liked, did and with whom, for what reasons, when, where, how, what and until when; first-hand information about arbitrary detentions, killings and enforced disappearances…
This and more makes up the acquis that was accumulated in four decades the intelligence bodies since the government of Miguel Alemán up to Carlos Salinas de Gortari: the Department of Political and Social Research (DIPS), the Federal Security Directorate (DFS) and the General Directorate of Political and Social Research (DGIPS).
The former prison of Lecumberri, beyond containing in its premises the eco of the students, workers, journalists, teachers, doctors, union leaders, writers, painters locked there for political reasons, in the first galley now contains the files and charts about the very same ones, and thousand people more that were armed by the PRI government between 1947 and 1989 to fight against any sign of a contrary social organization.
“There are analytic indexes in form of charts with around 5 million cards of 3 x 5”, admits the very own AGN. “This card index ordered alphabetically by the names of the persons, institutions [and] organizations, social movements contains extracts and summaries of the documentation”.
“There are practically all relevant people of that time”, he adds in an interview Dr. Aurora Gómez Galvarriato, former director of the General Archive of the Nation. “You did not have to be a political activist to be there. Basically they had information of any relevant actor in any scene: entrepreneurial, academic, political. This makes it very, very worthy”.
In the Corridor No. 1 of the AGN are also the memories of the Dirty Wars, told in the perspective of the executing institutions, related handwritten by those agents that spied, abducted, interrogated, tortured, disappeared and murdered an undetermined number of victims.
The former Black Palace of Lecumberri, built during the regime of Porfirio Díaz, that in time became the dark symbol of the official brutality, today hold the register on paper-despite being mutilated, shred by time and the own agents- of the capacity of the repression of the Mexican State.
“It was a settled issue”; former director of the AGN
In 2001 there were still those who trusted in the government of Vicente Fox, of the “change”, that distinguished itself from the PRI administrations. Ambiguously in some cases, with name and surname in others, he was demanded to act against the corrupted people, against impunity; against the responsible ones of the massacres of 1968m of 1971, against Luis Echeverría, against the surviving agents under his rule. Vigorous actions that somehow would heal the open veins of the times of the PRI regime, that was demanded to the former Coca Cola manager that back then lived at Los Pinos (President’s Residence)
The first PAN government gave an answer with advertising effects: a special prosecutor’s office for the Social and Political Movements of the Past was agreed on and announced. Coming from the federal government someone would be in charge to clarify the crimes against humanity committed by the own federal government. That was the promise.
Linked to the commitment of Fox to give justice to the victims of the dirty war, in 2002 the documental collection of the bodies in charge of espionage, infiltration and repression of the Mexican state was transferred to the Center of Investigation and National Security (CISEN), the heir of those, to the General Archive of the Nation.
The 4,223 boxes were moved along with everything and the former public servants of the predecessors of the CISEN. Since the relocation of the document and by orders of Santiago Creel then Secretary of the Interior, the control of the Corridor No. 1 of the AGN by the agents was total.
Vicente Capello y Rocha, agent of the DFS since 1961 “continues ascribed to the CISEN and is working in the AGN formally for “support”, but without any legal fundament. He is the head of the group of 10 people; all of them employed in the center of civil intelligence”, was published in Contralínea in December 2007 (issue No. 92). Capello remained in the AGN and was charged de facto of the documents until his death in 2011.
“The request came in. They were passed on to him and he built up the files”, tells in an interview Aurora Gómez Galvarriato, director of the AGN from May 2009 until August 2013. “The people of the archive were not allowed to enter, literally to the acquis of the Corridor No.1 “.
As if it was natural, the one subordinated and companion of the public servants pointed out for serious human rights violations was also in charge of “attending” those who requested access to the generated information of these same agents.
“It was like a shop counter, where one asks for a red pen and they show you the ones they want to show you, because you can’t go inside to see for yourself”, illustrates Gómez Galvarriato.
The now researcher of the Colegio de México tells of the endeavor made during her administration “to take the CISEN out of the General Archive”.
“I arrived and it seemed to me that something was not right. I spoke to Capello, with his superiors. At that time a woman called Elia Alzate was in charge of the general archive of the CISEN that was very cooperative and friendly. We had meetings with her bosses, of which you never know their position, by the way.”
When her term started at the midst of the administration of Calderón, all public servants present at the Corridor 1 belonged to the national security institution; when she left, at the beginning of the government of Peña Nieto, “there were already five of the AGN, two for the CISEN, while before there were those of the CISEN and none of the AGN.
“Even then-she adds with an aftertaste of sadness as she knows eventually the opposite occurred-the last conversations we had with the CISEN were whether the rest of the personnel was to be taken out, as the AGN had to remain [in control]. The last point we agreed upon was that we were ready, that we needed them to leave. And they pledged to that”.
The partial opening process of the Corridor No. 1 from 2009 until 2011 was hard, but it happened.
The over 58 thousand files drafted clandestinely bear codes to access them; there are thousands of charts with basic data of persons and organizations intervened.
There are practically all relevant persons, Mexicans and foreigners; there is the proof that the State followed their trail, for whatever motive. “Each one of them is a document of the archive to be consulted as there is the basic infrastructure. It is as if Wikipedia was opened”
The infrastructure of the acquis relies mainly on the cards that are in the central card index of the corridor, explains Gómez Galvarriato. And they come with the name of the person or the institution or organization. “If you open the carts you will find codes that remit to the documents, to the files”.
The cards contain codes that only archivist agent of the original institution understand. “[There are] [i]nscriptions that maybe on the card says “pc48” to remit to the file. These codes that contain the charts were the secret code for Vicente Capello”, points out Dr. Gómez.
The General Archive of the Nation, under the leadership of Gómez Galvarriato-“out of fear that something happened to Capello given his age”, she confesses-; gathered a work team alien of the CISEN to “understand” the archive that not even the own heads of the intelligence agency know thoroughly.
“That is why they were so reluctant to open them, because they did not know what was inside. Once they saw, they became aware that it was not that much, that there weren’t issues of national security, that it was not something that could not be opened”, she assures.
“Then the agreement with the CISEN was in order to have them start pulling out their people. We made the team, five young men with the idea that they would replace those of the CISEN.”
Such was the opportunity to get a real opening of the files, that the meeting held between the director of the AGN and the CISEN produced the agreement to draft a “consultation instrument”, result of the work between both parts.
On behalf of the General Archive the project was led by Victoria San Vicente Tello –who passed away in October 2012- and Roberto González, meanwhile for the CISNE was present Vicente Capello, as a guide.
Capello, a fictional character: son of fascist Italians, recommended by Hilde Krüger –a Nazi spy and actress related to Joseph Goebbels and with the very same Miguel Alemán-, protected by Fernando Gutiérrez Barrios and Miguel Nazar Haro, survivor of every administration change since Adolfo López Mateos until Felipe Calderón (nine presidents, two political parties), was in charge during years of organizing the archives of the Mexican political police. He did know what was there –and what got lost- inside the corridor 1: what names and events.
When old and sick, and with the approval of his superiors, “Capello understood and helped much” says the former director of the archive. “He handed over to Roberto González [before the death of Victoria] his notebooks in which were the codes. He passed us his secret and allowed also that the young men of the General Archive of the Nation, a group of five, understood the structure of the corridor and could themselves pass from the charts to the files an could create a consultation instrument, same that was uploaded to the research system”.
Dr, Gómez Galvarriato opens widely her green eyes, looking at her memories. She tightens her hands. Smiling she continues:
“I asked Vicente Capello in a meeting whether if [the archives] should be opened to the consultation of the public and he answered without a doubt: “Yes, of course we should. That is something of the past’. He even said: ´These young men were idealists, we wish we had the problems we had back then. The problems now follow a different logic’. He assisted so that the personnel of the CISEN would admit that the access was granted.”
The fear of Gómez Galvarriato was fulfilled and the former agent-archivist suffered a heart attack. .But he survived and the work of the passing of the torch CISEN-AGN did not interrupt. Time passed by and the public servants of the archive assumed the complexity of the Corridor No. 1.
-In 2011 you considered that the General Archive was ready to be managing the Corridor?
-Exactly. We said: “We have the people, now we have the knowledge. Now they can go.” And the personnel of the CISEN started to leave.
We advanced the works, on the 23rd of January 2012 was published in the Federal Official Gazette the Federal Law on Archives, that unveiled the term “confidential historic archives”, that could be withheld “for a time span of 30 years starting from the drafting of the document […], or 70 years when dealing with personal data”.
In that moment, that law did not change the procedure of the consultation of the funds for keeping the Corridor No. 1.
And it did not have any effect, as despite the present documents in the acquis are now considered as historic [and] confidential, i.e., that they bear personal information, they were not registered as “confidential [and] sensitive”.
“We consulted [then] the Federal Institute for Access to Information and Protection of Data in its moment over the classification that should be given to the Funds of the Federal Security Directorate, on Political and Social Issues, and we determined that they were confidential, not confidential and sensible. This means 30 years. The most recent document is from 1985. This means that they all would be open to public access, as any part of the archive. And we communicated that to the CISEN, and they agreed”, explains Gómez Galvarriato. At that moment Vicente Capello had already passed away.
“If there were files in which there would be shown, for example, photographs of someone naked with prostitutes, and these persons still live…well this would be considered as confidential and sensible. But in reality, analyzing the documents, we defined that they were confidential, but not confidential and sensitive.
-“In any case, what we made sign the researchers was a kind of letter of commitment that said that if they ever got with confidential and sensible data, they would commit not to spread that information.”
-In this case they were granted physical access to original documents-the former director of the General Archive of the Nation is told.
-Yes, it was granted. The physical access was granted all 2012, even when we were waiting the regulation of the law, that was ready, and was not approved, and was not approved because [the Secretariat] of the Interior pulled back.
“What we had agreed upon was to grant access to the Infomex system, but the request could also made there [Lecumberri]: it was seen if [the file] was over 30 years or not, and almost all were, and the access to the entire files was granted, without checking, even to the cards, that were put into plastic envelopes to protect them, furthermore they were counted as they could get lost, because they are small.
“It was a gradual process –she remembers-, as the CISEN said that ‘how the access would be granted to the cards.’ ‘Yes why not’. ‘But how?’. ‘We will do that with plastic envelopes’, we said”
Starting from 2012, researchers, journalists and anyone interested could consult cards and original documents that would not have been gathered and summed to the instrument created by the AGN; the agents of the CISEN were, according to them, at brink of leaving. “For us it was finished business. The fact that the corridor is now closed is a tragedy”. Aurora Gómez says with a low-pitched and weak voice. She does not hide her disappointment.
The bolt, with a padlock of the INAI
In 2013 and 2014, in several media outlets appeared works realized from data present in the Corridor No. 1 of the General Archive of the Nation. The people got aware of the brutality of the State against dissident political organizations, against emerging guerrilla groups and students, of the espionage and the permanent follow-up against personalities such as Julio Cortázar, Octavio Paz, even Cantinflas (Mario Moreno), actions that revealed the degree of social control exerted by the Mexican State.
Aurora Gómez Galvarriato left the directorate of the General Archive of the Nation in August 2013, and by orders of Enrique Peña Nieto, its successor was Dr. Mercedes de Vega Armijo, who remains in charge.
In principles the procedure of access to the Corridor No. 1 has not changed.
For example, from the 26th of October to the 30th of November 2014, Contralínea published the memory of the “persecution that the political police of the regime, the extinct Federal Security Directorate exerted against the rural normal school students for decades”, from files composed of 31 bundles with 10,003 pages (“Normal Rural Schools: 3 decades of assault of the DFS”, Rural Normal Students, spied by the FBI” and “A blow against the rural normal schools” in the issue No. 409, 410, 411 and 412 of Contralínea).
Since then the access to the Corridor No.1 of the Black Palace, despite lacking the fences but with a bolt, was closed tacitly. The work group built by Gómez Galvarriato was dissolved and the CISEN retook the control. “And this has to do with the change of the person of the CISEN in charge of the Archive”, points out the Doctor. “The new person that came up saying: And why are you giving these archives?’. She started to deny the access and only to grant it to those that were already tested, those that already were checked”.
Since the beginning of 2015 the first voices of uproar sounded, as it only offered public versions already drafted: the card index was also closed.
“There is a triple censorship”, explains the Dr. in History by the University of Harvard:
“One, previous one: there are the files that in their moment were organized by Capello and the personnel of the CISEN, and after were checked on personal data, and that is unknown what was selected to make up this file. Secondly: it could treat subjects that nobody has thought of investigating and therefore there is no file done, then the General Archive now says there is nothing.
“Even beyond they don’t grant access to the cards anymore. Furthermore they could make photocopies and give access to the photocopies. But not even that.”
The Archive did not warn, nor notify anyhow or anybody of the abrupt change.
Before that situation, on the 11th of March 2015, a frequent user openly asked the AGN the “legal basis that motivated the cancellation of direct consultation of the acquis of documents of the DFS, held in the Corridor No. 1 of the AGN, as well as the copy of the advisory or communiqué to the users of the collection informing of what moment this new measure applies” (Request No. 0495000012715).
Two weeks after the AGN responded officially that “there is no cancellation of the direct consultation of the documental collection stated”. The strategy was to simply dismiss that anything had changed.
The petitioner, irritated by the response, went before the National Institute of Transparency, Access to Information and Protection of Personal Data (INAI):
“In the system the AGN says that it delivers the information and it failing to do that, furthermore it is denying that the form of consultation has been modified (it is not appropriate to call the users ‘liars’).
“I am unsatisfied with the response of the AGN, due to the fact that the ways of consultation of the documental collection of the extinct Federal Security Directorate (DFS) has been modified since 2015, as before the users could access the documents in the modality of a direct consultation through access cards (bibliographic record), original or digital documents (without checking).
“[…] When it was requested directly at the consultation room (Corridor No. 1), the personnel of the Corridor granted access to cards and documents without any restriction”, told the petitionary in her argument, in which it was also recorded the suggestion given by the very own Mercedes de Vega Armijo to the researchers to “look for alternative information sources”.
In her document the AGN continues stubborn on the fact that “the access to the documents contained in the collection ‘Federal Security Directorate’ of the Corridor No. 1 if this decentralized body remain existing”. But, for the first time, it argued that in what later would become their strongest argument: “Nevertheless the [opening], protection must be given to personal data”.
It put forward the Federal Law on Archives of 2012, that reserves documents up to 70 years, also to the former Federal Law on Transparency and Access to Governmental Public Information, en passant, that the card index “is not of public access, as it could contain personal data”.
The General Archive relied on the criteria established by the then IFAI to strengthen the clause on direct consultation of documents with “classified sections”.
According to the new administration of the AGN, the opening provided in the previous years was just part of the “policies” of then, which could not be invoked “as bypassing the observance of the law –it underlined- cannot plead custom, obsolescence or practice”. It even goes to say that it does not know, or that it does not have the attributions to determine that the investigations held at the archives of the political police of the PRI regime of the second half of the XXth century correspond “to serious violations of fundamental rights or crimes against humanity”.
The judicial review 1564/15 was resolved by the Commissioner Óscar Mauricio Guerra Ford.
The “National Autonomous Organism”, the INAI, proceeded to verify that the General Archive had done the necessary actions to try to deliver what the petitioner had requested: the judicial basis of closure and, above all, the notifications to the user. And as the AGN dismissed that they hadn’t closed anything, therefore there couldn’t be any notification. Thus the commissioner Guerra declared in favor of the Archive.
“It can be determined that the regulated entity [the AGN] performed the necessary procurement before the administrative unit that could rely on the requested information”, asserted in the ruling the commissioner.
The General Archive of the Nation put on the front the issue of personal data present in historic archives, and the INAI followed it:
“The fact must be highlighted that the consultation of the documents that are safeguarded in the General Archive of the Nation will be dealt with the due treatment of the personal data therein.
“[…] Any information that concerns a person that identifies or could identify him/her shall be shielded”, adds Guerra Ford knowing that we are dealing with documents resulting from espionage, and that in many cases, the persons resulted murdered, disappeared, o due to the natural passing of time, have passed away.
Lastly, and after “an effective research”, in the pages of the AGN and the Federal Official Gazette looking for some official notification over the closure of the consultation, the INAI determined that, indeed there has not been any change and that the access remains open. They did not bother to check out if on the grounds this was true, and right away confirmed the response given by the General Archive of the Nation.
The project of the ruling wasn’t even discussed in the plenum, it passed directly to the approval in the session held on the 13th of May 2015. All commissioners approved it.
A month later, in the seminary on the issue that was held at the INAI, the same petitioner had, even a little opportunity for revenge by asking publicly the director of Judicial and Archive Affairs of the AGN, Fredy Meave Galindo, the same questioning that provoked the revision appeal that the INAI resolved in favor of the General Archive of the Nation.
Before the audience Alonso Lujambio at full, Meave read the sheet that once again asked “the legal basis for the closure of the direct consultation of the documental collection of the Federal Security Directorate, at the Corridor No. 1”.
-Please be specific –reiterated the new request.
-I will be very specific –answered sharply the attorney and lifted the sheet that he pulled out immediately, as if it was prepared in case they asked precisely this-. The response can be found, if you want to note it down, I give the data of the revision appeal 1564 of 2015.
Fredy Meave remained silent, marked the point and put full stop, and he resumed with the rest of the questions that an aide had left. The audience remained in a catatonic state for seconds, seeing again the commissioners.
The commissioner Arely Cano, that was responsible for moderating the table, frowned strangely, lifted her shoulders between a visual exchange with her companions, seated in the first row in front of her, and also doing gestures. The silence in the room, frizzed by low voices and more sights directed towards the commissioners who denoted that nobody knew about what Meave Galindo had been talking. Not even the heads of the INAI had in mind what was said in the revision appeal 1564 of 2015, and whose mention helped the representative of the General Archive bypass so easily such an uncomfortable question.
-I was revisiting the register of the revision Fredy, I have here the 1564 document- intervened Cano as he moved sheets and looked without success his cell phone-. I mean the revision should be seen in its effects, because it would be important that it illustrates your arguments with regard to that consideration, in order not to leave any doubts on an element –he managed to say nervously.
The silence remained, and none of the commissioners present opened their mouths to comment even a word on the revision that by unanimous decision of the INAI was converted into a scandal that now the General Archive showed off.
An assault on the right for the truth
The chorus of protests emphasizes on one word: impunity. The closure disguised of the documental collection of the political police of Mexico will close the circle of impunity which the perpetrators enjoyed of the Dirty War, of crimes against humanity; of the killings, of the enforced disappearances, of the tortures, of the infiltration and the espionage, in the absence of a judicial punishment, is being summed to the privileges of the oblivion.
“What makes a society avoid repeating the atrocities and fight against impunity is the verb to know”, says in an interview Dario Ramírez, director of the Office for Mexico and Central America of Artículo 19, an specialized organization on freedom of expression, and which also had the opportunity to show their in dissatisfaction to the commissioners of the INAI and to the director of the AGN, at the same time to the demand the opening of Corridor No. 1.
According to the normative interpretation of the director of Judicial and Archive Affairs Fredy Meave, the historic information “must be safeguarded jealously during the 70 years term, which is related with the ethnical, racial origin, physical or moral or emotional characteristics, emotional and family life, private home, personal telephone number, wealth, ideology, political opinion, etc.”.
The article 27 of the Federal Archive Act invokes the AGN in its response, and the attorney of defense, “seem to be drafted by [Gustavo] Díaz Ordaz [former Mexican president]”mocks the senator Alejandro Encinas. “And it was not long time ago [that this law was approved], there already was political alternation, not even Díaz Ordaz would have dared to present a thing of such a nature”, he adds, now seriously.
“To say that everything is sensible [and] confidential in order to have it 70 years…that should be contested. 98 or 99% of the files [of the Corridor No. 1] have no sensible [and] confidential information”, refutes Aurora Gómez. “It is not possible to justify such a tricky way to use the law, as according to the applicable law there would a total legal basis to determine that what they are doing is not mentioned by the law”.
Neither “should we ignore the fact that the Ge-ne-ral [sic] Law on Transparency [and Access to Public Information]has been already enacted, and that the contradictory interpretation with regards to the Fe-de-ral Law [sic]”, said Dr. Mauricio Merino Huerta, Coordinator of the Network for Accountability directly to Fredy Meave.
As a matter of fact the General Transparency Act in its provisional article 2, clearly states that once it is enacted “any provision that contravenes the principles, rules and rights acknowledged in the present law would be abolished”. Among them is according to specialists the Federal Law on Archives, particularly the Article 27. This has positioned it deliberately on the side of the General Archive of the Nation.
“It seems to me that [the AGN] does not validate all possible warranties that what should prevail, not for the preference of the audience but rather because of the constitutional mandate. I think that a restrictive interpretation as the one we have just heard at this table, with all due respect Mr. Director, is not acceptable”, he hammered still focusing on the representative of the General Archive, who, stammering limited himself in responding that he merely commented about “how currently the judicial framework is at, which regulates this type of documents and how you proceed to get access”.
It doesn’t end here, in principle “the access to the historic documents of the nation is public and unrestricted [whether they are safeguarded in the historic archives of a regulated entity, in the General Archive of the Nation or in the historic archives of the state, any document within them is of public nature], including the historic documents that contain personal data”, underlined Darío Ramírez before the dour gesture of the current director of the AGN Mercedes de Vega Armijo, and explained the reasons:
Once the administrative, judicial, fiscal and accountable value of a document has been narrowed down, this becomes part of the historic archive. Then also the present value of personal data that could be contained is exhausted, thus the possibility for its diffusion to harm the privacy of third parties.
“Can the historic documents contain personal data?”, ask himself Ramírez, and he answers himself too: “Naturally. Nobody is arguing that. In fact the historic value of a document, in many cases depends on the personal contained within.
“Thus, I ask: Should the historical archive be classified as confidential for the personal data contained? The answer is no. I repeat: the access to the historic documents is public and unrestricted; implying that the access thereof should be in its original and comprehensive version. Don’t give it to us spoon-fed information, let us read it for ourselves.
“Then again, is it true that the access to the historic documents under these conditions violates the third parties? That’s false, categorically false. Once a document is exhausted of its administrative, judicial, fiscal or accountable value, and only keeps the historic value for the preservation on the long term, consequently the privacy of third parties gets a lesser value than the public interest of the information.”
The safeguarding and access to documents linked with violations of human rights and crimes against humanity are foreseen in the international penal right, reminds David Mora Vera, assistant official of the project Derecho a la verdad (Right for the truth), thereby the Mexican state (“each one of the authorities, no matter what governmental level, no matter the level of centralization, and no matter the autonomous, constitutional or unconstitutional bodies”) are compelled to satisfy the diverse expectancies such as “the publicity in the information related to these allegations”.
And in Mexico “maybe it is not sufficiently clear that the archives also are part of the defense of human rights”, says ironically Mauricio Merino.
Before the commissioners of the INAI and the public servants of the AGN, the professor and researcher of the Colegio de México and the Center for Investigation and Economic Teaching (CIDE) reminded that the principles emanating by the International Archive Council, “and that have articulated over 190 countries to precisely give them the merited importance”.
“The very own principles admitted by this organization, and all over the world, underline the vital role of the access that this documentation has for the knowledge of the truth, the determination of the responsibility over the violations of human rights, and in such a case to protect the right of the persons that have been harmed by the same state, in any given moment, and obviously “at any moment”, which includes of course the past”.
“The latter gains more relevance in societies that have gone through or are undergoing, like us, a period of violence of different nature, systematical and generalized”, comments Darío Ramírez. “The archives are essential to warranty the full exercise of the rights to the truth, the justice, the reparation, as well as the warranties of non-repetition. Furthermore not only through them can the right of the victims be effective, but rather to allow the society to know the truth, scrutinize the responses of the State before the violence, and above all, allow the present and future generations to know harm that the present ones have done”.
However “we are before a serious problem, before a clear attempt to close the information referring to articles of laws that are completely against the times of transparency and reforms that are being implemented in this country”, alerts the Information and Freedom of Expression Rights activist.
“Artículo 19 has had knowledge and has witnessed the denial of the archives held in the Corridor No. 1. Unfortunately we have seen that this scenario is not isolated, quite the contrary, it has known, of first hand, testimonies of historians, journalists and researchers, all affected by the process of access to public information of historic archives, as this seriously tampers obstructs the doing of whom are dedicated to the reconstruction of contemporary history.”
The AGN is behaving as “if we are interested in the sexual preference of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz or Alfonso Martínez Domínguez”, says the senator Encinas. “What interests us is to know what motivated and who were responsible of the massacre of the 2nd of October, of the 10th of June, of the Dirty War, and even in spite of them destroying the archives of Guerrero, they have been reconstructed significantly, many events, and I am convinced that a great step will be made if we reform this Law [on Federal Archives]”.
“From how they are conceived the historic archives wrongly as confidential, they deter the historic investigation, the right to the truth and the implementation of justice and thereby they run the risk that implies the loss of historical memory, the culture of secrecy is promoted, as well as the bureaucracy to access the historic information. But, by doing that they also limit the exercise of fundamental human rights including the right to information, the right to historical memory and to the truth.
“We will not be able to speak of democracy if the governments continue to push for the denial of history and our institutions”, concludes Ramírez. “And we have to remember that our history will end up being Ayotzinapa, Tlatlaya and Apatzingan”.
“I never thought that something like this would happen”, laments Aurora Gómez at the end of the interview, who really thought that the compromise assumed by the CISEN to leave the Corridor No. 1 would be honored. “I never imagined that something like this could happen. For me it was a resolved matter. Now with the new regime we were granting free [and] open access. I never thought there would be such a setback. It was a surprise that it could reverse in this way. It is a tragedy”.
Contralínea solicited throughout the very own AGN and the Secretariat of the Interior to discuss with de Vega Armijo as well as Fredy Meave. The petition to the director was sharply rejected; meanwhile the director of Archive of Judicial Affairs firstly agreed on giving a “public audience” (sic), but then it was communicated that the meeting was cancelled adducing that “all the responses on that issue have been given”.
Mauricio Romero, @mauricio_contra
(Translated by: Axel Plasa
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Contralínea 457 / del 05 al 11 de Octubre 2015