The disappearance of 43 students in Mexico was a state crime, says a government inquiry

The disappearance of 43 students in Mexico was a state crime, says a government inquiry

On Thursday, a Mexican government commission released the preliminary findings of an ongoing investigation into the 43 students who disappeared in Iguala, Mexico’s Guerrero state, in 2014, one of the most high-profile, debated, and controversial news cases Mexico has been involved in in recent years.Years. The commission concluded that senior Mexican federal and state officials were involved in the disappearance and likely murder of the students. It is the first time that the institutions’ responsibility for the disappearance of 43 students, for whom there have been no convictions, has been recognized.

The government commission re-examining the case was appointed by left-wing populist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador: understanding what happened to the disappearance of the 43 students was one of the promises of his election campaign.

The commission’s investigation is based on more than 41,000 documents, including transcripts of phone calls and messages, and dozens of videos. Preliminary findings say the authorities’ “actions, omissions and involvement” “enabled the disappearances and killings of students,” with the cover-ups extending to some of the highest officials in national politics and likely colluding with organized crime. As a result, the government has already issued arrest warrants for 33 former officers involved in the case, whose names have not been released pending investigations.

The 43 students who disappeared in 2014 are just some of the more than 100,000 people missing or believed to be missing in Mexico, often kidnapped by organized crime groups known for using particularly brutal methods to kill their hostages, for example Example by dissolving their bodies in acid or burning them.

The disappearance of the Mexican students dates back to September 26, 2014: the police had stopped them on a street in Iguala while they were traveling with some buses to a memorial service for the massacre of students that took place in Taltelolco in 1968, in which dozens of Demonstrators were killed by the Order’s forces. There had been a shootout, some students had been killed instantly, others had managed to escape. 43 were arrested by the police and nothing has been heard from them since.

From the initial investigations, the involvement of the Guerreros Unidos, a powerful Mexican criminal gang some members admitted to killing the students after they were handed over by local police, had been suspected. This investigation also confirmed the involvement of the Guerreros Unidos, but added an important and much more circumscribed detail: the gang was able to commit the crime thanks to “a large number of hitmen” who worked “with” support from various local police departments and state agents, according to the investigation ».

In particular, the investigation revealed that among the missing students was a military informant: this means that the authorities had been tracking the students’ movements even before their disappearance, suggesting that at least the army knew immediately what had happened. Since 2014, however, the armed forces have “done nothing” to help resolve the case, Alejandro Encinas, undersecretary for human rights in the Obrador government, said at the press conference unveiling the preliminary findings of the probe.

So far, the remains of only 3 of the 43 missing students have been identified; nothing is known about the others, but according to the Commission of Inquiry there is every reason to believe that they were killed and made to disappear: among the evidence collected to support this hypothesis was a communication published on the same evening of disappearance of the students at around 10:45 p.m., giving precise orders to make them disappear. The author of the message has not yet been announced.

The preliminary findings of the investigation appear to confirm the role played by Mexico’s former presidential administration, that of Enrique Peña Nieto, in the case and subsequent cover-ups. With cover-up and manipulation of evidence, Maureen Meyer of the Washington Office on Latin America human rights NGO makes a full resolution of the case unlikely.

– Also read: The story of the missing students in Mexico