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Assassination of Cardinal Posadas

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Title: Assassination of Cardinal Posadas  
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Subject: Mexican murder victims, Mexican cardinals, 1993 deaths, 1926 births
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Assassination of Cardinal Posadas

His Eminence
Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo
Cardinal Archbishop of Guadalajara
Church Roman Catholic
Archdiocese Guadalajara
Term ended 24 May 1993
Predecessor José Salazar López
Successor Juan Sandoval Íñiguez
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Nostra Signora di Guadalupe e San Filippo Martire
Ordination 23 September 1950
Consecration 14 June 1970
Created Cardinal 28 June 1991
by John Paul II
Rank Cardinal-Priest
Personal details
Born (1926-11-10)10 November 1926
Salvatierra, Guanajuato, Mexico
Died 24 May 1993(1993-05-24) (aged 66)
Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Nationality Mexican
Previous post Bishop of Tijuana (1970-1982)
Bishop of Cuernavaca (1982-1987)

Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo (11 November 1926, in Tarimoro, Guanajuato – 24 May 1993, in Guadalajara, Jalisco) was a Mexican bishop of the Catholic Church who served as the eighth archbishop of the see of Guadalajara and as a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.

Posadas Ocampo was elevated to the cardinalate by Pope John Paul II on the consistory of 28 June 1991.


  • Death 1
    • Reopening of case 1.1
  • Fiction References 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


On 24 May 1993, Posadas Ocampo, along with six other people, were assassinated in the parking lot of Guadalajara International Airport. He was inside his car and received 14 gunshots. A government inquiry concluded he was caught in a shootout between rival cocaine cartels and was mistakenly identified as a drug lord. According to a cable of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the cardinal was mistaken for Joaquín Guzmán Loera,[1] the head of the Sinaloa Cartel. No one was ever punished for the slaying itself, although charges related to the homicide would be filed. Juan Francisco Murillo Díaz "El Güero Jaibo" and Édgar Nicolás Villegas "El Negro", members of the Tijuana Cartel, were identified as the masterminds of the homicide.[2]

Although ordered by the Tijuana Cartel, many members of the hit squad were actually San Diego-based members from the Logan Heights gang; trained by the Tijuana Cartel as assassins. Benjamin Arellano-Felix gave up two members of the hit squad: Juan Enrique Vasconez and Ramon Torres Mendez. Torres was killed while in custody awaiting trial. Vasconez received 9 years on weapons charges in Mexico.[3]

Despite being committed in Mexico, the United States charged 9 members of the Logan Heights hit squad in relation to the murder. Three members ultimately pleaded guilty and received prison sentences of 18–22 years.[3]

Reopening of case

The Posadas case was reopened after president Vicente Fox won power in 2000, ending seven decades of one-party rule. Fox took office vowing to clear up several high-profile murders. Deputy Attorney General María de la Luz Lima Malvido cited serious irregularities in earlier probes, including police obstruction and the disappearance of over 1,000 key documents. Since then, she says she has received death threats "from powerful quarters," her teenage daughter was held at gunpoint and her two other children were fired at in their car.

New leads emerged after the case's opening, including testimony from a childhood friend of Posadas. He says Posadas told him he was summoned to

Around the 10th anniversary of the killing, senior Church members urged Fox in a letter to keep his word and see the case is solved. Posadas' successor, Cardinal Juan Sandoval, is convinced the murder was politically motivated. He, his lawyer and Guzmán have also reported death threats and appealed to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights for protection.

On 15 August 2006, US Department of Justice officials announced that US federal drug agents had arrested Mexican drug lord Francisco Javier Arellano Félix, a leader of the Tijuana Cartel responsible for digging elaborate tunnels to smuggle drugs under the U.S. border. In the aforementioned press release, US DOJ officials said Javier Arellano Félix was also charged in Mexico in 1993 with conspiring to assassinate Cardinal Juan Posadas Ocampo.[4]

Fiction References

In Don Winslow's novel The Power of the Dog the character Father Parada is based on parts of Juan Jesús Cardinal Posadas Ocampo's life and death.


  1. ^ "U.S. intelligence agency finally releases dispatch on Mexico cardinal assassination at airport". Chron. 14 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Lopez Doriga, Joaquin. "Los Agujeros Oscuros en el Asesinato del Cardenal Posadas Ocampo." Radio Formula, 11 June 2001.
  3. ^ a b "Season 4 – Slide 34". History Channel. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Steinhauer, Jennifer; McKinley Jr, James C. (17 August 2006). "U.S. Officials Arrest Suspect in Top Mexican Drug Gang". The New York Times. 

External links

  • An End To Impunity: Investigating the 1993 Killing of Mexican Archbishop Juan Jesus Posadas Ocampo: Hearing before the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights, and International Operations of the Committee on International Relations, House of Representatives, One Hundred Ninth Congress, Second Session, 6 April 2006
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