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Column 121514 Wall

Monday, December 15, 2014

One Victim of Mexico's Iguala Atrocity Finally Identified

By Allan Wall

The remains of one of the 43 college students captured in Iguala have finally been identified.  Will any of the other 42 be identified?  It may be very hard to find the forensic proof to identify all of them.

The Iguala atrocity was an outrageous and deadly collaboration between a local government and a criminal gang.  It occurred in southern Mexico’s violence-prone Guerrero state, which had Mexico’s highest murder rate last year. 

It started in Iguala, Guerrero state, on September 26th.  Police and members of the Guerreros Unidos criminal gang attacked college students (of a college at Ayotzinapa, Guerrero) and others who happened to be nearby, killing six.  Then, 43 students were taken prisoner and were turned over to Guerreros Unidos, an offshoot of the Beltran Leyva cartel.  

For previous articles on the topic, see The Iguala Atrocities send Shock Waves throughout Mexico, The Iguala Disappearances and continuing Violence in Mexico and Protests over the Iguala Massacre continue throughout Mexico.

Many individuals have been arrested, at least 80, including 44 Iguala and Cocula police officers.

Among the detainees are Jose Luis Abarca and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, believed to have given the orders to attack the students.  Also detained is the leader of Guerreros Unidos, Sidronio Casarrubias Salgado.

The principal explanation of what occurred after the disappearance is that the 43 students were killed, their bodies burned and dumped in a river.  Until recently, there was no forensic proof for this, but now one of the victims has been identified.

It was announced on December 6th that remains of one of the 43 students, Alexander Mora (19 years of age), had been identified.  This identification was made in faraway Austria, at the Institute for Legal Medicine at the University of Innsbruck, headed up by Dr. Richard Scheithauer.

These forensic specialists confirmed the identity based on a charred bone fragment found in a bag in a river at Cocula, Guerrero, which they compared with DNA samples of the victim Alexander’s father and brothers.

Alexander was from Tecoanapa, in the Costa Chica region of Guerrero state, and the state government announced an official mourning period for the young man’s death.

In Mexico City, at a protest held at the Monumento a la Revolución, a speaker proclaimed that “This day of action will continue until we find the remaining 42 alive.”

That seems highly unlikely at this point.

According to the Mexican government’s own statistics, there are about 22,300 missing people in Mexico, and that’s probably a low estimate.

Regarding Iguala, Guerrero, after the disappearance of the students in September, 228 guns were seized from installations of the Iguala police.  The weapons were of American, Italian and German origin.

The German guns included three dozen Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifles.  It’s believed that the Iguala police acquired them from Guerreros Unidos, the criminal gang the Iguala government was in cahoots with.

Criminal gangs have acquired weapons from security forces.  But if this theory is correct, it means that in this case security forces acquired them from criminal gangs.

How did Guerreros Unidos acquire the German guns?

According to the German government, from 2006 to 2009 Heckler & Koch was permitted the exportation of thousands of G36 assault rifles to Mexico.  They were not, however, to be sent to the states of Guerrero, Jalisco, Chiapas and Chihuahua.  The concern of the German government was that in those states they could be utilized to violate human rights.

In 2011, it was discovered that Guerrero state police used G36 rifles to fire on a student demonstration in which two people died.  Such weapons were also spotted in the state of Chihuahua.

Of course, once the weapons arrive in Mexico it’s hard to guarantee that they won’t be used in those four states.  Not only that, but it was later shown that at least two employees of Heckler & Koch were sending unauthorized weapons to Mexico, many of which ended up in those four states.

This indicates how complicated the whole issue of weapons is in Mexico.  They don’t all come from the United States, and they don’t all get distributed in the same manner.

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Note: On December 6th Allan Wall was a guest of (Cuban-born) Silvio Canto, Jr., on the Canto Talk show, discussing his trip to Cuba.  You can listen to the interview here.  The Mexidata.info article about the Cuba trip is located here.

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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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