New Report Rejects Mexico’s Explanation of Missing 43 Students


This protest booth reads “cuantos mas” and shows the faces of the 43 missing students. PHOTO: Adam Jones/Flickr
This protest booth reads “¿Cuantos más?” (How many more?) and shows the faces of the 43 missing students. PHOTO: Adam Jones/Flickr

A new report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) found that the Mexican government’s official account of the 43 Mexican students who went missing on September 26, 2014, is full of inconsistencies. The students were campesinos, or rural farm workers, who were training to become community teachers in Iguala, Guerrero, in southern Mexico.

The new IACHR report says that the government didn’t properly examine forensic evidence, investigate leads or probe the local army unit that had contact with the students on the night of their disappearance.

The government claims that the students were mistaken for drug dealers and were killed by rival gang members. However, evidence indicates Mexican security forces were responsible for multiple attacks on the students and their ultimate abduction.

In a Democracy Now! interview, journalist John Gibler stated that the “municipal, state and federal police [were] actively participating in the attacks at nine different locations over more than three hours inside the city of Iguala, with the army watching all the time.” Both video evidence of the attack and one of the buses carrying the students have also gone missing.

The students and government have a history of conflict. “[The government] didn’t like graduates from rural schools to be conscious and have open minds,” Oscar Arias, a graduate of Ayotzinapa, told Al Jazeera.

Since the students disappeared, their families have rallied many Mexican and international supporters demanding that the government be held accountable. The phrase “Fue el estado,” or “It was the state,” has become a popular cry of dissent among protesters. One year later, the social unrest continues as Mexicans demand answers from their government.

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