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Cardinal Juan Jesús Posadas Ocampo (b. November 11, 1926 in Tarimoro, Guanajuato – d. May 24, 1993 in Guadalajara, Jalisco) was a Mexican bishop of the Catholic Church who served as the 8th 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 June 28, 1991.



On May 24, 1993, Posadas Ocampo, along with six other people, was assassinated on 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, but no one was ever imprisoned for the slaying. 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.[1]

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 President Carlos Salinas' residence and threatened just weeks before his death. "There is a lot of proof that leads us to conclude that we are before a crime of state, prepared, organized and with the participation of state security forces," Fernando Guzmán, a conservative state legislator, said. Guzmán is close to the investigation because he represented the wife of Posadas' driver, also killed in the attack. He said investigators have ruled out the involvement of drug cartels, at least as the case was presented by Salinas' government. The new theory that the murder may have been ordered by members of the Salinas government was based on allegations that a senior Salinas aide warned Posadas to keep his mouth shut about information he had uncovered linking senior politicians with the drug trade and prostitution. No one has alleged Salinas was personally involved.

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 August 15, 2006, US Department of Justice officials announced that US federal drug agents had arrested Mexican drug lord Francisco Javier Arellano Félix, a leader of a major violent gang 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.[2]

Fiction References

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


  1. ^ Lopez Doriga, Joaquin. "Los Agujeros Oscuros en el Asesinato del Cardenal Posadas Ocampo." Radio Formula, June 11, 2001.
  2. ^

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