Any information regarding systematic intimidation and harassment of small landowners by large landowners, as well as degree of protection by police and access to legal defence of small landowners in rural Mexico [MEX5066]

As discussed by telephone on 20 April 1990, information on abuses in rural Mexico currently available to the Ottawa IRBDC, other than that already made available to you by your regional Documentation Centre is rather scarce since, according to various sources, human rights abuse investigation and press coverage in that country are very limited. Please find attached sections of two documents which deal with the requested subject. The first one, pages 2-9 of Mexico: Human Rights in Rural Areas (London: Amnesty International, 1986), deals with the subject although with a certain focus on cases linked to political activity. The second document, Mexique: situation des droits de l'homme (Federation Internationale des Droits de l'Homme, 1985), pages 2-9, addresses conflicts in rural areas involving large and small landowners, as well as hired gunmen and security forces. The document also states (in page 7) that the main problems affecting peasants include lack of legal defense and lengthy waits before meeting judges, forcible signature of alleged confessions, lack of medical assistance after being injured and, with some communities, closure of community schools as teachers are ousted by gunmen or security forces. The document reports a number of cases related to the requested subject.

Also attached, please find a copy of the section on Mexico from World Human Rights Guide, (London: The Economist, 1986), which contains references to violence, access to legal defence and police reliability in rural and other areas.

However, as discussed by telephone on 20 April 1990, livestock is not a subject dealt with by the attached documents.

"Caciques" is a term usually used in Latin America to describe people who wield considerable local 'de facto' power and influence because of their wealth, ruthless methods and/or political connections.