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Opinion
Ricardo Castillo
Ricardo Castillo A Lingering Mystery Who killed Cardinal Posadas Ocampo?
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Guadalajara’s Catholic Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez hit the news again Monday to commemorate the May 24, 1993 assassination at the Guadalajara Airport of then Guadalajara Archbishop Cardinal Jesús Posadas Ocampo.

Cardinal Sandoval Íñiguez once again openly accused then and now defunct Attorney General Jorge Carpizo McGregor on Facebook of masterminding the murder carried out by men under the orders of Judicial Police Chief Rodolfo León Aragón. Sandoval Íñiguez considers the murder as “a crime of state.”

Sandoval Íñiguez recalled that, “one month before the assassination, the cardinal went to (presidential residence) Los Pinos to meet with President Carlos Salinas, the President’s Chief of Staff José Córdoba Montoya, and Mexico City Mayor Manuel Camacho Solís, along with other politicians, as well as men of the cloth. In a manly way Sandoval remonstrated the fact that top level politicians were associated with the drug cartels and human trafficking. They threatened him and threw him out, and one month later, he was dead.”

Sandoval Íñiguez also said on his Facebook page that this is not hearsay as it is documented in the expedient kept both by the church and the government.

The Posadas Ocampo murder was originally reported as having been a case of mistaken identity. The official version (drafted by Attorney General Carpizo McGregor) says that Sandoval Íñiguez was at the Guadalajara Airport waiting for the Vatican envoy to Mexico Girolamo Prigione, who went personally to Guadalajara to hear from Sandoval Íñiguez himself the names of several Mexican high-brow politicos who were involved with the drug and human trafficking cartels.

Carpizo McGregor reported that Sandoval Íñiguez, in a limousine, was taken to Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera by an opposition Arellano Felix cartel who had been ordered to be murdered in the same place.

Yet, lawyer and case historian Jesús Becerra outright dismisses those suppositions as balderdash.

“There are some 10 witnesses who point out that a number of armed persons went near the cardinal and asked him, ‘Where are you going, you damn little priest?’ and opened fire against him with a high caliber rifle.”

Jesús Becerra also quotes the forensic report by Dr. Mario Rivas who wrote that the cardinal received 14 shots from about a yard’s distance.

“There are a lot of elements that point out to a premeditated murder. General (Jesús) Gutierrez Rebollo, who was at the helm of the operation, spent many years in jail on charges of drug trafficking, but he said that the plan to kill the cardinal was a montage.”

Becerra concludes with a question:
“It is important to ask ourselves why he was killed that way and publicly in an airport. The message that the people in power are in command is very clear. They are the power, and killing the cardinal in a visible manner was a way to let the Church and the people know that you can’t mess with them.”

Jesús Becerra also says that in his investigation that he had absolutely no clue that the murder was ordered by then President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, as it was implied by many.

But the one person “stirring the soup,” as the old Mexican saying goes, is Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñaguez, who was the successor of Posadas Ocampo as Guadalajara Archbishop.

Sandoval believes that another motive that might have angered the people in power then was that in 1992, Cardinal Posadas Ocampo promoted the regain of the juridical personality that the Catholic Church had been stripped off since the 1926-1929 Cristero War.

As for President Salinas, he fully backed restituting the juridical presence of the Church, which now allows priests to have a say in politics.

“This was not well seen by many,” Sandoval Íñiguez says.

On his Facebook page, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez makes it clear that, “this is all well documented,” and there are three factual books already published on the subject.

But for the law, the question and the case remains open:
Who killed Cardinal Posadas Ocampo?

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