On 26th November 2019 Tita Radilla travelled to the Mexican capital to attend an event commemorating the 10 year anniversary of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ sentence in the “Radilla Pacheco v Mexico” case. On the 23 November 2009 the Mexican state was condemned for grave human rights violations in which the military was signalled as responsible for the forced dissapearance of Rosendo Radilla, Tita’s father.
Rosendo Radilla Pacheco was born in 1914 in Atoyac de Álvarez in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. He was a community leader, father of 12 children, Municipal President from 1955 to 1956, singer-songwritter of social justice ballads, co-founder of community and social organisations, promotor of social development and a human rights defender. On 25 of August 1974 Rosendo was detained by the Mexican military and taken to a military base in Atoyac, where he was seen for the last time.
In November 2019 members of PBI travelled to Atoyac de Álvarez to meet with Tita Radilla, human rights defender and vicepresident of AFADEM (Association of Detained, Disappeared and Victims of Violations of Human Rights in Mexico) who has been accompanied by PBI for the last 16 years. Our visit to Atoyac – and the posterior commemorative event in Mexico City – enabled a time for reflection upon the Mexican State’s compliance with the Court’s sentence.
The Rosendo Radilla case was emblematic; it was the first time the Mexican State was condemned for human rights violations by the Inter-American Court. Furthermore, the case acted as a catalyst for the development of human rights in the country, contribuiting to the 2011 constitutional reform of human rights. However, 10 years later it seems that this national and international recognition has still not done enough to help find answers.
Tita emphasised that up until today, “there are no leads as to his whereabouts”, despite the fact that multiple investigative procedures, including 6 excavations have been carried out. Before the end of 2019 a seventh round of excavations should have been carried out, however it never occurred.
As an organisation accompanying Tita Radilla and the case of Rosendo we are deeply concerned that the Mexican state has not collaborated sufficiently in solving the case of Rosendo, that the facts continue to be concealed and that no one has been charged as responsible. The slowness of the search, the lack of recourses, training and will (on the part of the authorities) have contributed to the failure to achieve results.
The dissapearance of Rosendo Radilla led Tita to begin a life-long and extremely hard battle in search of the truth. 45 years later, she and other members of AFADEM have dedicated over half of their lives searching for answers and justice. It’s important to point out that although the dissapearance of Rosendo occurred during a time known for grave human rights violations, dissapearances in Mexico (in many cases forced) is not a phenomon unique to the 1970s.
According to the Movement for Our Dissapeared, there remain forty thousand people dissapeared in Mexico and another 26,000 bodies unidentified. From PBI we express our deep concern surrounding the lack of advances on such a highly emblematic case, which also brings us to reflect on the thousands of cases that do not have such visibility and continue to remain in total impunity as well.