30+ Years of Freedom of Information Action

Mexico and Central America

Aug 20, 2002 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., 21 August 2002 - State Department documents released yesterday on Argentina's dirty war (1976-83) show that the Argentine military believed it had U.S. approval for its all-out assault on the left in the name of fighting terrorism. The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires complained to Washington that the Argentine officers were "euphoric" over signals from high-ranking U.S. officials including then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Jun 10, 2002 | Briefing Book
Mexico City, 10 June 2002—Mexico’s first national freedom of information initiative became the law of the land today, when it was signed by President Vicente Fox Quesada in a ceremony held at the presidential residence in Mexico City. The signing follows unanimous votes in both chambers of the Mexican Congress during the last week of April, and ushers in a landmark piece of legislation aimed at guaranteeing the public’s right to request and receive information from the government. The law represents a compromise between two proposals presented to the Congress during 2001.

Feb 5, 2002 | Briefing Book
The PBS documentary Bill Moyers Reports: Trading Democracy, which premieres tonight, February 5, at 10 p.m. Eastern time (local times may vary) exposes an obscure provision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that has given multinational corporations the power to demand compensation if a law of any one of the three NAFTA countries – the United States, Mexico or Canada – threatens their potential profits. Laws designed to protect the environment or public health, the decisions of states or local communities - even jury verdicts - can prompt a corporation to file a lawsuit.

Jun 1, 2000 | Briefing Book
Introduction In July 1994, the Guatemalan government and the URNG signed the Human Rights Accord establishing the Historical Clarification Commission. That same month, the National Security Archive began work on a Guatemala Documentation Project, an effort to obtain the release of secret U.S. files on Guatemala. The project's first objective was to support the human rights investigations of the Clarification Commission. We believed that the commission would benefit from access to declassified U.S.

Mar 14, 2000 | Briefing Book
Washington, D.C., March 14, 2000 – Today's Washington Post features an op-ed on page A17 titled "Hardly a Distinguished Career," written by National Security Archive director Tom Blanton and commenting on the CIA's decision to award the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal to the highest-ranking CIA official fired in a 1995 scandal for failing to inform Congress about the CIA's ties to human rights abuses in Guatemala. THE DOCUMENTS Document 1: The Biographic Register, U.S. Department of State, July 1973, p. 402

Feb 14, 2000 | Briefing Book
On January 21, Guatemalan police detained retired Col. Byron Lima Estrada and his son, Capt. Byron Lima Oliva, in connection with the 1998 assassination of Bishop Juan José Gerardi.  Although the two officers had been under suspicion since shortly after the prelate's murder, it was not until newly-elected president Alfonso Portillo took office that the government was willing to act. 

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.

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 15, 1998 | 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 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.

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