Implausible Deniability

State Responsibility for Rural Violence in Mexico

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Though Mexico grappled with political, economic, and legal reforms, it failed to focus much-needed attention on human rights violations. If the Zedillo administration was to end Mexico's longstanding abdications of its human rights obligations, it must place the protection of human rights squarely on its reform agenda; especially in Mexico's rural areas, where violent conflict led to widespread violations. Implausible Deniability examined the Mexican government's role in and responsibility for rural violence in several states, including Chiapas, Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Sinaloa. In many instances, private citizens, not government officials, carried out the assassinations, abductions, threats, and explulsions documented here. In others, Mexican government authorities participated directly. However, even when private citizens alone were involved, officials often facilitated their abusive acts, failed to prosecute the perpetrators, or appeared to use the judicial system to achieve partisan goals. Thus, the governments' role in attacks by private citizens was nothing short of willful negligence and complicity.

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