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Current Event: 5 years later, no justice in sight: Remembering the 43

Article by Najia Humayun,

On September 26th, 2014, 43 students from a rural teacher’s college in Ayotzinapa “disappeared”. The group was travelling from Ayotzinapa to Iguala, a nearby town also in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, to protest discriminatory hiring practices for teachers, and raise funds for a trip to Mexico City marking the anniversary of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre, in which countless students were killed by government security forces. On their way back to Ayotzinapa from Iguala, they were confronted by municipal police, for allegedly hijacking the buses they were traveling in. Surviving students maintain that the bus drivers were acting voluntarily. 3 students were killed that night. 43 have not been seen since.

Official reports filed under Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration claim that the students were turned over by the police to Guerreros Unidos, a criminal group linked with the mayor of Cocula, another nearby town in Guerrero, Mexico, which allegedly confused them with members of a rival group, killed them, and burned their bodies.

This report has since been discredited by many human rights organizations. The UN states that there is strong evidence that the 43 students were detained and tortured by Mexican police and army officials, and that these violations were then intentionally covered up by the government.

The new administration under AMLO has made promises to explore new lines of investigation to bring justice to the families of the 43. If this administration, as the first left-of-center presidency since the 71 year rule of PRI, also fails to bring justice, “the public’s outcry will be enormous”, according to one Mexican senator, and former president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at the time the GIEI (interdisciplinary group of international experts) was created to investigate the incident. It is exceedingly important, he mentioned, for AMLO to investigate the army, and mitigate the dangerous message that “the army is untouchable”.

Amnesty International has emphasized that not all interactions with AMLO’s administration have been positive, and that the investigation has neither been completely transparent nor produced positive results. For the sake of the loved ones of the 43, and the over 40,000 disappeared people in the country, there is hope that the new administration will bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. The layers of deceit burying the truth are outrageously intricate and deep- but if the will of the Mexican people, the passion of a new left-leaning administration, and the outcry of various human rights groups cannot unearth this truth, nothing will.



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