Ayotzinapa Four Months On

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Jan. 27, 2015 (San Diego) On Sep. 26, 2014 43 students went missing near Iguala, in the southern state of Guerrero, Mexico. This singular event is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Protest have been ongoing in Mexico ever since. Those protests have not been limited to Mexico either.

At Cesar Chavez Park 56 people came together, to hear some speeches, enjoy dancers and music, and remember, because they “were taken alive, we want them alive.” It was not the impressive crowd of the early days, but it was a committed crowd.

According to Marco Amaral, “The San Diego Community is reunited stronger than ever in support of the 43 students, so the Federal and local government of Mexico can return them alive.”

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Amaral also shared that the community is joining another 42 cities in the United States in adopting one of the families of the 43. This way, by selling hats, and other things, they will raise funds so the families can continue to have the funds to continue to travel through Mexico.

We also spoke of the research done by the Human Rights commission in Mexico, as well as Proceso, regarding the role of the army and federal authorities, not just with Ayotzinapa, but also Tlataya, in the State of Mexico. According to this research, there is evidence that the Army, though the communications center in Chilpancingo Guerrero, knew of the movement of the students that night.

From similar research, according to Processo high-ranking officers of the Army knew far more of the events in Tlataya, where soldiers killed suspected foot soldiers of one of the cartels (sicarios) instead of turning them over to civilian authorities.

What is a fact is that regardless of the status of the students, many within Mexican society do not believe the government story and evidence is emerging to question it.

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According to Estela Jimenez, this was “to give voice to the 43 (missing) students.” She added that four months on, this was a global action “to say enough. We want the 43 students to be presented alive.”

“We demand from the Mexican Government to stop the forced disappearance of students.” She added, “we demand that international organizations bring justice to the Mexican State.”

Rogelio Menendez from the Indigenous Front from Baja California (Frente Indigena de los Pueblos de Baja California) said that there are now threats to people in the Valley of San Martin. He thanked those who were present “in the defense of the dignity of the people of Mexico.”

It is “a united people, determined to defend the dignity of the Mexican people who’s neoliberal governments spread the wealth with powerful interests.”

He also said that the federal government and the PAN, sent the CISEN (Centro de Seguridad Nacional de Mexico) to investigate indigenous people. He also said, “because they fear us.” We are the most exploited people, but when “they get tired they are the ones who lead and show how to defend one’s dignity.”

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Catherine Mendonca also came and said “this is a night of hope, as we demand they took them alive, we want them alive, it is a call to expose a corrupt system in which militarized police forces act as foot soldiers.” She went into some of the background, including that the former mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca, is facing charges for the events in Iguala, with officers from both Iguala and Cocula.

Abarca’s wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, has not been charged, and many of the lawyers for the police officers have brought evidence to the courts that the officers were not even on duty that night. Moreover, according to family, many of the officers were forced to sign after they were subject to torture.

What the story is revealing is not just families who disagree with each other on how to proceed, but also on major pieces of the puzzle has to do with human remains found early on. We know that one of the students has been positively identified by DNA by Argentinian forensic experts. That is Alexander Mora Venacio, but the other 42 are still missing

Four months on, the crowds are much diminished, but four months on this is not over. This has revealed holes in Mexican Society and the consequences of the Plan Merida, signed by President George W Bush and Felipe Calderon. This was the beginning of the current war on drugs in Mexico, but also the beginning of the structural reforms that the country is rejecting. Or at least major sectors of Mexican society are rejecting.

Twitter: @nadinbrzezinski

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Categories: Ayotzinapan, Dispatches from Mexico, Human Rights, Mexico

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