Unsolved Murder of Cardinal Posadas is ‘An Open Wound,’ Mexican Bishops Say

Cardinal Posadas was shot to death on May 24, 1993, in the parking lot of the Guadalajara International Airport in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo.
Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo. (photo: Archdiocese of Guadalajara)

On the 30th anniversary of the murder of Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo, the Mexican Bishops’ Conference recalled the “open wound” left by the unsolved crime.

Cardinal Posadas was archbishop of Guadalajara from 1987–1993.

In a May 24 statement, the Mexican bishops recalled that the cardinal “was the victim of an act of unjustifiable violence that left an open wound in our hearts and in the history of our country.”

Cardinal Posadas was shot to death on May 24, 1993, in the parking lot of the Guadalajara International Airport in the Mexican state of Jalisco. While some posit that he was killed in the crossfire during a confrontation between drug cartels, the authorities have not resolved the case.

However, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Íñiguez, who succeeded Posadas as the archbishop of Guadalajara in 1994, has a different version of the story.

In a 2016 Facebook video, Cardinal Sandoval, then archbishop emeritus, declared the murder was “a crime by the state, perpetrated by the Federal Judicial Police, that is, by the PGR police.”

Cardinal Sandoval even named Rodolfo León Aragón, then director of the PGR, as the person in charge of the murder, who in turn most probably got his orders from then-Attorney General Jorge Carpizo, whose death in 2012 was “somewhat suspicious” and ended the investigation.

The Attorney General’s Office (PGR) at the time operated under the executive branch of the government and was in charge of investigating federal crimes. In 2018, it was replaced by what is now the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic, which is completely independent of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

In the 2016 video, Cardinal Sandoval indicated that a possible motive for the killing was Cardinal Posadas’ allegations of a link between the authorities and organized crime, as well as his work in favor of the constitutional reforms of 1992, which recognized the legal personality of the Catholic Church in Mexico.

In their May 24 statement, the bishops of Mexico remembered Posadas as “a man of unwavering faith and a courageous voice who stood up for Christian values and tirelessly fought for justice and peace in Mexico.”

“We remember his life and sacrifice with gratitude and admiration,” the bishops said. They recognized that “his commitment to those most in need inspires us to follow his example of love, service, and forgiveness.”

At the end of their message, the Mexican bishops encouraged that the “legacy” of Posadas “would be a guide for our lives and a constant call for unity and solidarity among all Mexicans.”

The Archdiocese of Guadalajara said on its Facebook page that the faithful of this city “continue to pray for his eternal rest” and also “that [Posadas’] murder be cleared up and that we may soon obtain justice and forgiveness.”