Mario Moya Palencia, 73; Former Interior Secretary of Mexico

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Mario Moya Palencia, 73, a former interior secretary of Mexico who was investigated but later excused in connection with a student massacre in 1971, died Monday of a heart attack.

Moya, an attorney and member of the former ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, served as interior secretary under President Luis Echeverria, who governed from 1970 to 1976. Moya went on to become Mexican ambassador to the United Nations, as well as to Cuba and Italy.

Moya was responsible for Mexico’s internal security on June 10, 1971, when pro-government agents killed at least a dozen students at a leftist political demonstration in Mexico City.

Ignacio Carrillo, a special prosecutor assigned by President Vicente Fox to investigate the country’s “dirty war” against leftist activists and suspected guerrillas of the 1960s and ‘70s, filed genocide charges against Moya and Echeverria in 2004.


A judge refused to issue arrest warrants last year, however, saying that the 1971 killings did not meet the legal standards for genocide.

The judge ruled that simple homicide occurred but that the statute of limitations for filing homicide charges ran out in 1985.