Biden urged to intervene over murdered Jesuits

Jose Diaz Briseno / Reforma

Thursday, August 04, 2022 | 20:11

Washington.- A group of 24 Democratic congressmen urged the President of the United States, Joe Biden, to intercede with the Government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to guarantee justice and accountability for the murders of two Jesuit priests in Chihuahua last June.

In a letter addressed to Biden, the congressmen belonging to the most progressive wing of the Democratic Party said they were dismayed by the murders of the Jesuits Javier Campos, Joaquín Mora as well as the tourist guide Pedro Palma in the church of the town of Urique on March 20. June.

“We write to urge your Administration to work closely with the Mexican government to ensure full and expeditious justice for these murders as well as to encourage the implementation of policies to end the cycle of violence,” the Democratic lawmakers said.

Headed by congressmen Anna Eshoo from California, Jim McGovern from Massachusetts, Jesús “Chuy” García from Illinois and Lou Correa from California, the letter asks Biden to work with Mexico so that the crime does not go unpunished, and they urged the arrest of the alleged perpetrator. Jose Noriel “El Chueco” Portillo Gil.

“Given the disturbing reality that perpetrators of violent crime in Mexico are rarely brought to justice, it is critical that your Administration work closely with the Mexican government to ensure that murders are held accountable,” the lawmakers added.

“This tragedy is emblematic of the unbridled violence that plagues many regions of Mexico and has a devastating humanitarian cost for the Mexican people.”

In the letter in which the Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, and the Ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, are copied, the Democrats assure that the current collaboration between the two governments is not enough in the face of the security crisis in Mexico and they asked to reject militarization promoted by López Obrador.

“We urge your Administration to deepen cooperation with the Mexican government and civil society groups to eradicate corruption, increase the investigative capacity of Mexican law enforcement, and strengthen the independence of prosecutors and judges in Mexico,” they pointed.

“We also encourage you to reject President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s militarized approach to combating organized crime, which raises serious human rights concerns and fails to address the root cause of violence: the pervasive culture of impunity.”

Citing data from the Centro Católico Multimedial, a Mexican non-governmental organization, the Democratic congressmen assured that at least 30 Catholic priests have been assassinated during the last 10 years due to the high levels of violence in various regions of the country.

In 2021, there were more than 33,300 registered murders in Mexico, a significant increase from 15,650 in 2014.

“Mexico also recently surpassed the grim milestone of 100,000 disappearances, with more than 20,000 having occurred in the last two years.”

Other legislators signing the letter requesting justice for the murders of priests Campos and Mora in Chihuahua include Juan Vargas, Grace Napolitano, Nanette Díaz Barragán, Katie Porter, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Maxine Waters, Tony Cárdenas, Jimmy Panetta and Alan Lowenthal from California.

Also on the list are Sheila Jackson Lee and Joaquin Castro from Texas, Raúl Grijalva from Arizona, Dina Titus from Nevada, Eleonor, Jan Schakowsky and Mike Quigley from Illinois, Andy Levin from Michigan, Adriano Espaillat and Nydia Velázquez from New York, and Eleonor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia.

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