For more than 35 years, Tita Radilla has been pursuing justice for the relatives of Mexico’s “disappeared”. Tita’s father disappeared after he was stopped at a military checkpoint in 1974.
Tita is vice-president of the the Association of Relatives of the Detained-Disappeared in Mexico (AFADEM), based in Atoyac de Alvarez, in Guerrero State.
In Atoyac alone, 600 people were forcibly disappeared during the period of Mexico’s ‘dirty war’, in which social organisations and communities became victims of repression, and hundreds of people were tortured or disappeared.
The work of Tita and her colleagues has been instrumental in changing national legislation. It led to the Mexican Supreme Court’s historic judgement in July 2011, which brought Mexico into alignment with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ judgement on the Radilla case, ending military trials for soldiers accused of human rights abuses.
Despite this victory, which Tita fought for on behalf of all civilian victims of abuses perpetrated by soldiers, Tita has never been given the satisfaction of knowing the truth about her father or his whereabouts. Exhumations of possible clandestine graves continue, as do the anonymous threats warning her to let the past lie.
PBI has accompanied Tita since 2003.