Enclaved between the Sierra Madre del Sur and the Costa Grande, in the state of Guerrero lies the Atoyac de Álvarez municipality, a place where wounds from the “Dirty War” of the 70s have still not healed.
Between 25 and 27 March, 2019, by request of Tita Radilla, PBI accompanied the Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos, Desaparecidos y Víctimas de Violaciones a los Derechos Humanos en México (AFADEM), as the sixth stage of excavations commenced in the search of numerous disappeared persons.
The excavations, carried out between 25 March and 13 April, took pĺace in Ciudad de los Servicios, Atoyac de Álvarez, where during the 70s and 80s the 27th Batallón de Infantería had its military base.
Rosendo Radilla Pacheco, a social leader and father of Tita Radilla, was last seen alive at the military base in August, 1974. Like 470 others, Rosendo was disappeared by military forces in the 70s.
In 2009, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights filed an application, the “caso Radilla” against the United States of Mexico. Ten years later, the reparations demanded by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, such as “the effective search and immediate location of Mr. Rosendo Radilla, or in such case, his remains” continue to take place.
The sixth search attempt was part of the implementation of this ruling and was led by experts at the Fiscalía General de la República (FGR), the Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia (ENAH) and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (INAH), in addition to support from the Equipo Mexicano de Antropología Forense.
The sixth search represents an important advancement in the search for truth and justice for the victims and families of the disappeared. However, a slow work pace and carelessness in this type of process often affects the psychological integrity of the familes and victims.
While accompanying Tita Radilla and AFADEM we have observed several short-comings of the excavation attempt, including a 3-year delay on account of FGR, administrative and logistical issues, and limited personel and economic resources.
The families of those disappeared have supported in the development of the excavation, with many physically assisting in the escavation. Civil society organisations have also shown their support by informing the population about what happened in the municipality during the Dirty War.
The recent search has provided some indicators, however, at present the Mexican state has not provided any response to Tita Radilla, other victims and the families of those who were disappeared during the Dirty War period.