I n t r o d u c t i o n
In the early afternoon of May 23, 1962, two military trucks, two jeeps, and
a civilian car, together carrying about sixty soldiers and several armed civil-
ians, surrounded the home of Rubén Jaramillo, a prominent agrarian leader
in the south-central state of Morelos. Captain José Martínez, who led the
operation, shouted for Jaramillo to step out and accompany them, or else
they would machine-gun his home. Jaramillo emerged from his small adobe
home but refused to comply with the men’s orders to get in the car. When
Filemón, one of Jaramillo’s stepsons, displayed the official pardons given to
Jaramillo and his wife, Epifania Zúñiga, by President Adolfo López Mateos
(1958–64), Captain Martínez put them in his pocket and told Filemón not
to complicate matters. In the commotion, Raquel, Zúñiga’s oldest daughter,
slipped out of the house and went to seek the help of Tlaquiltenango’s mu-
nicipal president Inocente Torres. He told her everything was in order; the
soldiers and civilians had an arrest warrant issued by the attorney general’s
office. When Raquel returned, Rubén, her mother, and her three brothers,
Enrique, Filemón, and Ricardo, were all gone. A few hours later, the bullet-
riddled bodies of the five family members were found on the outskirts of the
Xochicalco ruins, an archeological site near Cuernavaca.1
As word of the quintuple murder spread, so too did the shock about this
crime committed by government officials. While government repression was
hardly new in rural Mexico, its manifestations were typically more subtle.
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