Mexico apologizes to victim of 1970s 'Dirty War'

Mexican Interior Minister Olga Sanchez, pictured, publicly apologized to former Marxist guerrilla Martha Alicia Camacho for her torture by the army during Mexico's "Dirty War" in the 1970s (AFP Photo/ALFREDO ESTRELLA)

Mexico City (AFP) - Mexico made an official, public apology Monday to a former member of a Marxist guerrilla group who was tortured by the army during the country's so-called "Dirty War" in the 1970s.

Martha Alicia Camacho and her late husband, Jose Manuel Alapizco, were detained by the army in August 1977 for belonging to the September 23 Communist League, a guerrilla group that was fighting Mexico's oppressive one-party government.

Camacho, who was pregnant at the time, was tortured for 49 days at an army base in the state of Sinaloa, forced to give birth in captivity and made to watch as soldiers tortured her husband, ultimately killing him.

"In the name of the Mexican state, I offer you a public apology for the violation of your rights in the context of the serious, widespread and systematic violations of human rights" during the Dirty War, Interior Minister Olga Sanchez told Camacho in a ceremony.

Camacho, who survived the ordeal along with her newborn son, said she regretted her husband was not there.

"In memory of him and of so many others, let us hope they know we have not forgotten them," she said.

She also criticized the defense ministry for not sending a representative to the event to recognize "the atrocities they committed at that time."

It is the latest in a series of public apologies by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's government since the leftist leader took power last year.

Officials previously apologized for the executions and "forced disappearances" perpetrated during the 1960s and 1970s by the security forces against left-wing militants, suspected sympathizers and their families in the southern state of Guerrero, the region hit hardest by the Dirty War.

They also apologized to investigative journalist Lydia Cacho, who was arrested and beaten in 2005 after publishing a book detailing her findings on child pornography and sex trafficking rings involving powerful businessmen.