Old Deeds

16 April: Mexico has released hundreds of files from its now defunct security service, the Dirección Federal de Seguridad Nacional (DFSN). The DFSN was a key part of the system of repression when Mexico was a one-party state. The releases are an initiative of the recently installed, left-wing President Andrés López Obrador, as part of a promised confidence and reconciliation policy. By the end of the project it is anticipated that twelve million files will have been released.

The files have not revealed any surprises – at least not yet. But the releases do confirm just how widespread was the state surveillance of suspected opposition figures. It even extended to such luminaries as the painter Frida Kahlo and the writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez. President López Obrador himself was a target in his younger days when he was suspected of being a Communist leader. Some files on key historical figures who had simply visited Mexico, such as Lee Harvey Oswald, Fildel Castro and Ché Guevara, had already been released in 2016 and 2017.

Because of its unsavoury reputation, the DFSN was closed down in 1986. It was replaced in 1989 by the CISEN (Centro de Investigación y Seguridad Nacional), but this was in turn closed down by López Obrador upon taking office in December 2018.

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