Betrayed: The Assassination of Digna Ochoa

Linda Diebel, Author . Carroll & Graf $25.95 (513p) ISBN 978-0-7867-1753-8

When, in 2001, the body of Mexican human rights lawyer Digna Ochoa was found shot in the leg and head, covered in starch and arranged beside a written death threat, her friends and colleagues had no doubt she had been murdered. Why, then, did the Mexican government pronounce Ochoa a suicide? Organized around this essential question, journalist Diebel's account of Ochoa's life and death assumes the appealing momentum of a whodunit, although there isn't much of a mystery: Ochoa's high-profile cases, especially on behalf of poor indigenous environmentalists, shamed the Mexican government and threatened its economic interests. For years Ochoa and her colleagues had been harassed, followed and even kidnapped, yet the authorities turned a blind eye—or, Diebel suggests, even colluded in the crimes. Ultimately, it is not the identity of the killer but the extent of the deceit around Ochoa's death that is the real center of Diebel's heartfelt story. And if Diebel overwhelms the reader with facts to support a foregone conclusion, her extensive interviews succeed in creating such a vivid picture of Ochoa—a former nun who won both a MacArthur "Genius" Award and Amnesty's Enduring Spirit Award—that the reader is as indignant as Diebel to learn the government portrays her as a narcissistic, moderately intelligent schizophrenic. In Diebel's fresh take, Ochoa is twice a victim: first of murder, then of character assassination. (Apr. 7)

Reviewed on: 02/06/2006
Release date: 01/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 514 pages - 978-0-7867-1876-4
Hardcover - 513 pages - 978-0-00-200654-5
Ebook - 512 pages - 978-0-7867-3442-9
Ebook - 528 pages - 978-1-4434-0349-8
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