On July 13, 1992, the bodies of three gay professionals were found gagged, stabbed, and strangled in an apartment in Mexico City. Two of the victims were physicians - René de la Torre González and Francisco Estrada Valle. Estrada, a founder of AVE of Mexico (Ayuda Voluntaria Educativa , Volunteer Educational Assistance), appeared regularly on television as a spokesperson for the fight against AIDS. The third victim was a schoolteacher, Javier Rivero Meléndez.
On the same day, police discovered the bodies of two other gay men, Francisco Palomera Pimentel and Nicolas Amerena Lagunes. in an apartment in another section of the city. Later in the week, a sixth gay man was found murdered in yet another apartment. Police described the victims as "people with strange habits" and "sadomasochists", and tried to portray the murders as crimes of passion following orgies, or as "homosexual vendettas" by former lovers. The police later changed their story, suggesting the motive was money.
According to the Human Rights Department of the Archdiocese of Mexico City, "The homicides in Mexico City also bore the professional stamp of police or military personnel". In August 1994, the National Human Rights Commission, an agency of the federal government, issued a report condemning the handling of the case. It pointed to unexplained delays and failures to question obvious witnesses and pursue important leads, such as an assault and death threat received by Estrada only days before he was murdered.
Francisco Estrada Valle was born in Hermosillo Sonora. He was a Physician specialized in family medicine and HIV / AIDS, founding member of the AVE Group of Mexico. In July 1987 he would begin his training on preventive education and assistance to "AIDS-impacted", encouraged by his friends in Houston to found a group to fight AIDS in Mexico. AVE was planned in October 1987 and flew to appear on the first day of February 1988 and already formally Jesus Calzada and Francisco Estrada Valle started the group on February 20, 1988, achieving the protocol of AVE For August 23, 1989. Francisco Estrada Valle was president of this organization until 1992.
In June 1992 there was a rich display of plastic arts, various forums and workshops on sexuality and AIDS prevention. It was the strength of an emerging art, created under a singular ethic and aesthetic. At the legendary Dinosaur Forum, the round table on "Gay and Lesbian Human Rights" was held and the president of Amnesty International in Mexico, Alonso Fernández Guasti, recalled: "In September 1991, Amnesty International decided to work for the Rights of prisoners of conscience imprisoned for their homosexuality. In fact, since 1979 it had been considered that sexual choice is a fundamental human right".
Jose Maria Covarrubias complained: "More than 20 homosexuals have been killed in Chiapas, at least nine of them were riddled with high-powered weapons. This is definitely the most terrible expression of homophobia, of hatred toward homosexuals and lesbians. It is necessary that these crimes be clarified without inviting guilty parties to this wave of murders". Homophobia: denial of plurality. Contempt that becomes a yearning for extermination to the homosexual, which begins with verbal lynching and hurtful mockery, then comes physical abuse. The punishment for what is considered unnatural causes crimes committed with hatred.
Many of those who occupied the Dinosaur Forum had a history of pain to be told in the blues: the friend of the scorned friend, who, by escaping from ridicule, chooses such absolute discretion as to deny his own sexuality; That of the one who was always humiliated by his parents; There are still those who are beaten; There are many, many deaths. How many have been killed for being different?
Two weeks later, only two weeks later, six murders were committed in Mexico City on a bloody weekend. A series of crimes where the victims were homosexual.
On Saturday, July 11, 1992, the fifth course on sexuality and AIDS was launched at the School of Music in Coyoacán, organized by AVE de México (Companions of Voluntary Assistance AC), a non-governmental organization dedicated to the prevention of AIDS, and the dignification of HIV-positive people. A long day's work culminated at eight o'clock in the evening. Dr. Francisco Estrada Valle, founder and director of Ave de México, returned with a group of volunteers to the site where the organization's offices were located, an apartment in an old building on Calle Roma in Colonia Juárez.
Estrada later said he felt very tired and went to sleep in his office, while two of his volunteers continued to work on the preparations for the activities that would take place the next day. About half past eleven he left his office. He felt bad and went into the bathroom. Two volunteers from the organization heard him vomit. On leaving, he said that he preferred to leave, to spend the night at his house. That was the last time he was seen alive.
Three days later, on the morning of Tuesday, July 14, Thierry Cougnau heard the telephone ring. He had slept very badly, Francisco, his companion, had disappeared since Friday night. The search undertaken by Friends and Volunteers of Ave de México in delegations, hospitals and the Forensic Medical Service had proved unsuccessful. Cougnau lived with Francisco for a long time, at weekends they spent together in the city of Cuernavaca.
They told him at once: the body of Francisco Estrada Valle had been found and had to identify it. He had been killed. They knew it was him because he was carrying a wallet with three business cards. In one was written with sobriety the name of Dr. Francisco Estrada Valle, in another the address and telephone of Thierry Cougnau and the third wore the emblem of Ave de México. The bodies of René de la Torre González, Javier Ramírez Meléndez and Francisco Estrada Valle were found in department 303-B of the group of buildings on Pacific Avenue.
Carlos de la Torre was told by telephone that something strange was happening in his brother's apartment. No one answered when dawn on Tuesday, after knocking on the door Carlos shouted at René. So at that time he sought a locksmith, he had to enter. The locksmith took his time, when at last the door could be opened by the plague, which was barely visible, and he felt himself with all his strength announcing the image of a man lying face down in the middle of the room. The body was tied hands and feet, gagged with thick tape. They had strangled him with a piece of cord from those worn on the curtains. It was Javier Ramírez Meléndez.
In one of the bedrooms Dr. René de la Torre lay face down on a pool of his own blood, was also bound and gagged. He had inferred wounds in the jugular and in the chest with an extremely sharp weapon, perhaps a scalpel. The corpse of Francisco Estrada Valle was found in the other chamber, also facedown, bound and gagged.
But those of Coyoacán would not be the only homicides with these characteristics. The next day, on Wednesday, July 15, the bodies of two murdered men were found in the Anzurez colony. They were tied hands and feet, lay naked and facedown on a bed. They had covered their heads with a plastic bag tied to their necks with thick tape. They died asphyxiated.
One of these men was Javier Palomera Pimentel, 62, who was engaged in real estate; The other lived with him and was identified only with the name of Nicholas, was about 60 years. On Friday night, residents of Thiers 275 apartment building saw Palomares enter his apartment, number 13, in the company of two men. After hours of music came silence.
These five murders were committed within a period of no more than 24 hours; The victims were homosexuals and everyone tied them hands and feet. In the departments of Coyoacan and Anzures there were no signs of theft or traces of violence. The motive of these homicides is ignored. The black balance left by the series of murders would be completed by a stranger whom the police found dead in an apartment in the center of the city, Avenida Juárez and García Lorca. He also lay on his bed, facedown, bound and gagged, with visible traces of strangulation.
Was it the terrible operation of a death squad?