30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Mexico and Central America

May 20, 1999 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., May 20, 1999 – The Guatemalan military kept detailed records of its death squad operations, according to a document released by four human rights and public interest groups today. The army log reveals the fate of scores of Guatemalan citizens who were "disappeared" by security forces during the mid-1980s.
May 15, 1999 | Briefing Book
THE DOCUMENTS Document 1 [U.S. Counter-Terror Assistance to Guatemalan Security Forces] ?January 4, 1966 ?United States Agency for International Development, Secret cable U.S. Public Safety Advisor John Longan, on temporary loan from his post in Venezuela, assists the Guatemalan government in establishing an urban counter-terrorist task force in the wake of a rash of kidnappings for ransom by insurgent organizations.
Oct 23, 1998 | News
Washington, D.C. October 23, 1998 -- The CIA yesterday declassified its secret Inspector General's report on controversial CIA activities in Honduras during the 1980's. The report states officially for the first time: "The Honduran military committed hundreds of human rights abuses since 1980, many of which were politically motivated and officially sanctioned" and were linked to "death squad activities." (p. 2) "Reporting inadequacies" by the CIA station in Honduras "precluded CIA Headquarters from understanding the scope of human rights abuses in Honduras." (p.
Oct 2, 1998 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C. – Mexico's tragedy unfolded on the night of October 2, 1968, when a student demonstration ended in a storm of bullets in La Plaza de las Tres Culturas at Tlatelolco, Mexico City. The extent of the violence stunned the country. When the shooting stopped, hundreds of people lay dead or wounded, as Army and police forces seized surviving protesters and dragged them away. Although months of nation-wide student strikes had prompted an increasingly hard-line response from the Diaz Ordaz regime, no one was prepared for the bloodbath that Tlatelolco became.
Jan 20, 1998 | News
Washington D.C. January 21, 1998 -- The National Commissioner for Human Rights in Honduras, Dr. Leo Valladares, today called on the Clinton administration to "meet its commitment" to assisting his inquiry by declassifying relevant U.S. records. In a new report made available to the press, In Search of Hidden Truths, Valladares detailed four years of "exceedingly frustrating" efforts to obtain CIA, State and Defense Department documentation on human rights atrocities by the Honduran military during the 1980s.
Oct 17, 1997 | News
The National Security Archive is leading a campaign to open secret U.S. files on human rights abuses in Latin America and the Caribbean to public scrutiny. President Clinton has stated repeatedly that democracy, human rights and respect for the rule of law are central to United States policy in Latin America. The Archive believes the release of U.S. documents on human rights should be a fundamental part of that policy. Human rights information can no longer be shielded by the system of secrecy prevalent during the Cold War.
May 23, 1997 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C. – These documents, including an instructional guide on assassination found among the training files of the CIA's covert "Operation PBSUCCESS," were among several hundred records released by the Agency on May 23, 1997 on its involvement in the infamous 1954 coup in Guatemala. After years of answering Freedom of Information Act requests with its standard "we can neither confirm nor deny that such records exist," the CIA has finally declassified some 1400 pages of over 100,000 estimated to be in its secret archives on the Guatemalan destabilization program.
Aug 1, 1996 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C. – An August, 1996, series in the San Jose Mercury News by reporter Gary Webb linked the origins of crack cocaine in California to the contras, a guerrilla force backed by the Reagan administration that attacked Nicaragua's Sandinista government during the 1980s. Webb's series, "The Dark Alliance," has been the subject of intense media debate, and has focused attention on a foreign policy drug scandal that leaves many questions unanswered.

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