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Latino Daily News

Thursday December 8, 2011

Members of Mexico’s “Movement for Peace” Found Murdered, Others Missing

Members of Mexico’s “Movement for Peace” Found Murdered, Others Missing

Photo: Members Mexico's Peace Movement Murdered

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Authorities in the western Mexican state of Michoacan found the body of one of three recently abducted members of the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, a group founded by prominent poet Javier Sicilia, officials said Thursday.

The body of activist Trinidad de la Cruz Crisostomo was found Wednesday in a rural area of the municipality of Aquila, the Michoacan state Attorney General’s Office said in a statement.

The 72-year-old man, known as “Don Trino,” was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds, the state AG’s office said, adding that it has launched a murder investigation.

The man’s hands were tied behind his back and shell casings from weapons of two different calibers were recovered at the scene.

He was abducted Tuesday by four armed assailants near a community in Aquila known as Santa Maria Ostula while traveling in a 12-person MPJD caravan.

According to the MPJD, the activist supposedly had received threats from organized crime gangs and paramilitaries yet still had not received the protection he had requested through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Santa Maria Ostula has been beset by a land conflict that has left 27 people dead since June 2009 and which the Agrarian Reform Secretariat has tried unsuccessfully to defuse, the MPJD said.

One of those victims was another MPJD member, Pedro Leyva Dominguez, who was killed on Oct. 7.

The MPJD gave a press conference on Wednesday in which it also denounced the kidnapping of a man and a woman who were members of Sicilia’s movement and of the Organization of Ecologist Farmers of the Sierra of Petatlan and Coyuca de Benitez, which is based in the southern state of Guerrero.

Eva Alarcon and Marcial Bautista remain missing after they were forced off a bus Tuesday by armed assailants while en route to Chilpancingo, Guerrero’s capital.

These new cases come on the heels of the Dec. 2 attack on a co-founder of the May our Daughters Return Home non-governmental organization, Norma Andrade, who was shot and wounded in Ciudad Juarez.

That group seeks justice for the - mainly unsolved - slayings of more than 500 women in Ciudad Juarez since 1993.

Another MPJD member, 56-year-old Nepomuceno Moreno Nuñez, was killed on Nov. 28 in Sonora, a case in which no arrests have yet been made.

Sicilia said after Moreno’s death that Sonora state Attorney General Abel Murrieta was directly responsible for the failure to ensure Moreno’s safety and called for his dismissal.

The poet also criticized the prosecutor for “criminalizing the victim.”

Moreno, who was convicted in the United States in 1979 of conspiracy to smuggle heroin, was killed after spending most of the last year of his life seeking to draw attention to the July 2010 abduction of his son and four other people in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, a crime the activist attributed to state police.

The Sonora Attorney General’s Office said late last month it was pursuing several “lines of investigation” but that all evidence indicates Moreno’s murder was linked to organized crime, the victim’s own criminal record and his son’s abduction.

Sicilia founded the MPJD in April after the brutal murder of his son, Juan Francisco, and six other people in the central state of Morelos by suspected drug-gang members.

The group, which has organized several marches bringing together relatives of victims of violence, is demanding an end to President Felipe Calderon’s deployment of tens of thousands of troops to drug-war flashpoints.

The strategy has led to headline-grabbing captures of cartel kingpins, but drug-related violence has skyrocketed and claimed nearly 50,000 lives nationwide during Calderon’s tenure, which began in December 2006.