Article from Mexican Labor News & Analysis
Published by UE International.
Date published: April 2016
Web version: http://www.ueinternational.org/Mexico_info/mlna_articles.php?id=244#1820
After a year attempting to find out what happened to 43 missing students of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), is leaving Mexico, having failed to solve the case. It is a failure the group attributes largely to the Mexican government.
The GIEI, a multinational panel, claims that the Mexican government worked to obstruct their efforts by refusing to share records of the case or to permit interviews with government officials. The GIEI also claims that the government repeatedly mishandled the investigation. The government says it cooperated fully with the investigators.
The Mexican Attorney General asserted early on that the students had been murdered and incinerated. The GIEI disputed the government’s claim in a first report several months ago. After the GIEI made its first report, the Mexican government and Mexican media, often manipulated by the government, began to harass the investigators and to impede their investigation, said GIEI members.
“The conditions to conduct our work don’t exist,” Claudia Paz y Paz of the GIEI told the press. “and in Mexico the proof is that the government opposed the extension of our mandate, isn’t it?” Paz y Paz received international acclaim for her prosecution of a former Guatemalan dictator on charges of genocide.
In its latest report, the GIEI asserts that five suspects, whose testimony provided the basis for the government’s version of events, made confessions “under torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.” Torture is virtually universal in Mexican police work, as has been documented over the years in many human rights reports by many organizations. It is the police practice of torture to produce culprits and testimony. This makes justice in Mexico impossible to achieve.
Many groups and individuals have argued that the Mexican state, and the Mexican Army in particular, were responsible for the disappearance (There was a military base near where the events occurred.) but the government has denied such claims.
The killing of six persons and disappearance of the 43 students in September 2014 led to widespread protests not only in Iguala, Guerrero where the events occurred, but also in Mexico City and throughout the country. The protest movement was one of the largest and most militant in recent Mexican history, but within a year the movement had subsided, though parents and their supporters continued to engage in protests and make demands on the government for the return of their children, alive as they were when forcibly disappeared.