Former Mexican President Luis Echeverria Alvarez, a leading figure in the country’s dirty war, died Saturday. He was 100.
Echeverria would become known for his authoritarian and repressive character before his presidency in 1970.
He began his political career at 22, militating for the PRI and would climb the political ladder to become the head of the Interior Ministry in 1958.
Declassified US documents revealed that Echeverria was a CIA operative when he headed the ministry of then-President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz in the 1960s.
Echeverría and Diaz Ordaz were enrolled in a CIA operation known as LITEMPO, a covert operation that sought to influence high-profile Mexican government officials.
During his run as interior minister, Echeverria would become one of the intellectual authors behind Operation Galeana, a military effort that resulted in the violent repression of Mexico's student movement in 1968.
On Oct. 2, 1968, paramilitary elements dressed as civilians shot at student demonstrators protesting the Diaz Ordaz government. An ensuing massacre in Tlatelolco in Mexico City, resulted in the deaths of 300 students, with experts citing the actual figure might be as high as 700.
While the massacre is primarily blamed on Diaz Ordaz, years later, Echeverria would be named as the one responsible for outlining Operation Galeana and giving the order to shoot at civilians.
In 1969, the PRI launched Echeverria as its presidential candidate, running virtually unchallenged. He was elected and his repressive tendencies continued.
Similar to the Tlatelolco massacre, on June 10, 1971, paramilitary elements shot at student demonstrators. That massacre, known as Halzonazo, reportedly saw more than 200 civilians killed. The government pined the violent confrontation to a "radical" student group.
Violent military repression was present throughout Echeverria's presidency, becoming one of the leading figures in Mexico's “dirty war” -- a period where governmental forces tortured and murdered thousands of civilians to curb guerilla movements.
After leaving office in 1976, he was appointed UNESCO ambassador.
Source: Anadolu Agency