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Column 102714 Wall

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Iguala Atrocities send Shock Waves throughout Mexico

By Allan Wall

Protests have erupted throughout Mexico calling for justice in Iguala, Guerrero, where college students were shot and others taken prisoner, their whereabouts unknown. 

Even the annual Cervantino Cultural Festival in the central Mexican city of Guanajuato was affected, as protesters demonstrated in the streets of that city.   

A demonstration at Mexico City’s Zocalo square, on October 22nd, was said to have drawn 100,000 protesters.

In the state of Guerrero demonstrators have been violent, smashing and burning buildings, occupying city halls and radio stations, plundering supermarkets.

The governor of Guerrero state, Angel Aguirre, of the PRD, has resigned.

The Iguala case has been likened to the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre, though it’s not a very close match.  Though both were massacres, there are significant differences.

The Iguala protests are being utilized by various groups in Mexico to raise their own profiles.  For example, the Zapatista movement in eastern Chiapas state isn’t in the national news much anymore, but the group's silent march calling for justice in Iguala afforded them a little media oxygen.

Politically, the Iguala massacre is a problem for the Peña Nieto administration, but it’s also a problem for the leftist PRD.  The governor of Guerrero was of that party, and the mayor of Iguala ran as the standard-bearer of a PRD-Convergencia alliance.

When PRD elder Cuauhtemoc Cardenas attempted to join a demonstration march, he had bottles thrown at him by demonstrators, forcing him to escape in an automobile.

Although protests can express public rage and pressure authorities, they are less effective in solving criminal cases, which require more precise investigative tools. 

Apparently, what occurred in Iguala was a criminal abuse of authority and collusion between local authorities and organized crime elements. 

The victims of the massacre were education students in the Raul Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa, which is actually in the municipality of Tixtla.

Ayotzinapa is no ordinary teachers college. It is an all-male, leftist-activist teacher’s college, run by the students themselves, all of whom change their names when they enter the school.  In what appears to be a longstanding tradition accepted by many, the group routinely hijacks buses in order to travel. 

On September 26th the students were out for a protest.  A police roadblock was awaiting them, and gunmen opened fire on vehicles in which the students were travelling and the bus of a soccer team.  The attack killed six and wounded 25, while 43 students were captured and taken away.

When mass graves were discovered in early October it was immediately assumed that the students had been killed and interred there, at least some of them.  But DNA testing revealed that it wasn’t the students.  None of the bodies’ DNA matched that of the students.

Meanwhile, after the Iguala shooting, Jose Luis Abarca, the mayor of Iguala, had fled the city, his whereabouts still unknown.   

Scores of others [80+] have been detained, including both police officers and gang members. The Mexican army and federal police have taken over the city.

The PGR (Mexican Attorney General) believes that Abarca, his wife, and Iguala’s public safety director were the “probable masterminds” of the attack on the students.  Warrants for their arrests have been issued.  Where are they?

The hit men included both local police and members of Guerreros Unidos, an offshoot of the Beltran Leyva cartel.

At the time of this writing the missing students are still unaccounted for.  However, Catholic priest Alejandro Solalinde, also an activist, asserts from his sources that the students were taken away on foot and shot, their bodies burnt, including one or two or more that may have been still alive.

If the bodies in the mass graves are not of the students, then whose bodies are they?  There are various mass graves in the vicinity, with burned and dismembered bodies.  This means a lot of killing has been going on in the area.  How about those cases and those victims?

There are even two holes which appear to be freshly-excavated mass graves with no bodies in them.  Does that mean more killings are planned?

How deep was the collusion between local officials and organized crime?

How difficult will it be to get to the bottom of this and punish the perpetrators?

How many other Mexican mayors are in cahoots with organized crime?

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Allan Wall, an educator, resided in Mexico for many years.  His website is located at http://www.allanwall.info.

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