Mexico: Ayotzinapa – 9 Years on the Truth is still Missing

By Magdalena Gómez

photo: Bill Hackwell

This is what the parents of the 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, who disappeared between the night of September 26 and the early morning of September 27, 2014, have denounced from their sit-in they set up in front of military camp number 1 as a response to their conviction that from the Presidency of the Republic the Army continues to be protected.

As we know, the sixth and last report of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), presented last July 25, before withdrawing from its mission in Mexico, showed new evidence about the active involvement of the armed forces and their intelligence apparatuses with organized crime in the crucial hours of the disappearance, and the maneuvers to build what it called institutionalized lies. This approach revealed that these forces have not shared the information that they had repeatedly requested and that the President of the Republic had instructed them at the time to share it with the GIEI. They pointed out that the Regional Intelligence Fusion Center (CRFI) should hand over the information it is hiding.

The dimension of this virtual denunciation derived from the recent declarations of the head of the Executive in defense of the Army, that it has already handed over all the information and that, nevertheless, he asks them to review the situation of the military personnel who are under trial (20 military commanders and personnel of the 27th and 41st Infantry Battalions of Iguala and Teloloapan, Guerrero). He even requested that those who have ample information regarding the case share it and offered that each family member will be given a copy of the entire file. The defense of the military already succeeded in getting a judge to summon the GIEI and the president of Covaj to testify, which was questioned by the lawyer of the relatives of the disappeared students. It is very difficult to think that all this will contribute to generate the information that the relatives have been demanding with pain and justice for nine years.

A rigorous legal assessment such as the one carried out by their defenders and the GIEI makes them see the fragility of the route that has been prosecuted, when it has focused on organized crime and not on the disappearance of the 43 in scattered trials that the relatives asked the Council of the Federal Judiciary to homologate. And even in this context they recognize that there are advances in this government, although insufficient, such as the request for the return of the GIEI, which Peña Nieto did without; the creation of the Commission for Truth and Access to Justice in the Ayotzinapa case (Covaj); of the Specialized Unit for Investigation and Litigation of the Ayotzinapa Case (Ueilca) for the clarification of the case and the prosecution within the Attorney General’s Office of the Republic. That unit, by the way, did not have sufficient support from that agency, which resulted in the resignation of prosecutor Gómez Trejo and his replacement has shown little participation.

It is important to point out that the central responsibility for the course taken by this case lies with the government of President Peña Nieto. A substantial part of the work of the aforementioned agencies involved was focused on dismantling the so-called historical truth announced in 2015 by the head of the then Attorney General’s Office, Jesús Murillo Karam, now on trial and with the central participation of the fugitive Tomás Zerón. This resulted, among many other impacts, in statements being obtained under torture to support their “truth” from those who were consigned and later released for that fact. The matter is far from reaching the bottom and showing the authentic truth. Just one fact that has not been given relevance and has been highlighted by the lawyer Vidulfo Rosales: from October 2014 to September 22, 2021, 21 people linked to the case died or were executed. Just these days, the DEA released the chats of members of organized crime, we do not know if they include those they shared with military and municipal police or with their contacts in the drug trade.

The government recognized in the Covaj 2022 report that the Ayotzinapa case was a State crime, an important position that we do not know if today, on the ninth anniversary of the disappearance of the 43, will be taken up again in a new report. We do not know if the disclosed DEA chats provide new information or if it is just part of the strategy to negotiate an agenda with the Mexican government. For the time being, the relatives and the normalistas are mobilized to make it clear that they will not cease in their struggle for truth and justice and in the demand that the Army finally be held accountable. Also in the others that are pending, its participation in the dirty war, for example, as attested by the Truth Commission.

Source: La Jornada Newsapaper, Mexico

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