Holding up posters with their son’s photo and clamoring for justice, relatives of the missing told CNN they hoped the report would ultimately bring criminal prosecution to those responsible. said.
A new call for justice has been made after the government’s Truth Commission released a shocking report on August 18th. The report concluded that the missing students were victims of “state-sponsored crime.”
Finding the truth about what happened to the 43 students was one of Mexican President Andres Manuel López Obrador’s 100 campaign promises during the July 2018 presidential election. – To “… Disappearance and Execution of Students”.
It also said an order had been issued to carry out the 2014 atrocities, but the report did not go so far as to reveal who issued the order.
While traveling through the southwestern city of Iguala, Ayotzinapa students were captured by local police and federal forces. Most of the missing students were never found, so it remains unclear what exactly happened. was done. Survivors from the original group of 100 said the bus was also stopped by armed police and soldiers who suddenly opened fire.
No one has been convicted in connection with the student’s disappearance. But so far, new reports have issued more than 80 arrest warrants against members of the Mexican military, police and cartels.
Former Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam has been arrested on charges including enforced disappearance and torture.
Murillo Karam’s defense said the crimes allegedly committed by his client were “taken out of context”, supported by statements and press conferences made by his former lawyer about the case at the time. , claimed to be unsubstantiated.
Still, some parents of missing persons refuse to believe their child is dead, citing a lack of concrete evidence.
“[The officials] Don’t say anything,” said Don Margarito Guerrero. I won’t back down until I know something.” His 21-year-old son, Josivani, his two nephews, are among his 43 missing. I earned money and enjoyed studying.
Earlier this month, Mexico’s chief human rights official, Alejandro Encinas, revealed that six students were “held alive for several days in the so-called ‘La Bodega Vieja’ and handed over from there.” . [a military] Colonel….”
According to reports, Encinas said army officers had issued orders to execute the students detained in the warehouse.
“Six of the students survived the four days after the incident and are estimated to have been killed and missing…” he added.
But parents like Maximino Hernández Cruz know that the memory of their 19-year-old son Carlos is fading fast and want justice.
Eight years later, his emotions were subdued. His tears have almost dried up, leaving near-permanent fatigue in his eyes.
“Those responsible want to be punished. They must pay for what they have done to our children,” Hernandez Cruz said. “We are suffering. We are dead in our hearts.”
The parents of the 43 missing people first met in the small rural village of Ayotzinapa before heading to Mexico City for the monthly protests. They gather at the school where their sons lived, worked and studied. Photographs and murals reminiscent of ’43’ surround the campus in a sprawling countryside.
“It’s a reminder that they were also part of Ayotsinapa,” said the current student, who wished to only identify himself as “Cesar,” telling fellow students and teachers how the disappearance of the 43 had affected them. “They were our classmates and they were the ones who disappeared, but I know it can happen to any of us.”
Beneath a sheer metal roof and bare-walled shelter in what was once a basketball court, there are 43 empty classroom chairs taped with photographs of people who have disappeared. Cesar calls it a “sacred space” and respects that his current Ayotzinapa students do not play sports or play loud music nearby.
Escuela Normal Rural in Ayotsinapa is one of the so-called teacher’s colleges in Mexico. The school primarily serves to educate poor rural Indigenous communities. We provide college-age students with opportunities ranging from academic learning to life skills such as agriculture.
“As farmers, we don’t have many resources,” said Maximino Hernandez Cruz. He said he was grateful that his son received a free education and was provided with room and board.
“We didn’t have the money to send him to a private school, so he went to Escuela Normal Rural. They gave the students shelter, food and everything they wanted,” Hernandez said. Cruz said.
The school is also known for inspiring activism by making students question the status quo and holding those in power accountable.
“We really need to speak up so that people listen to us and listen to our demands, our needs. He really doesn’t pay attention to us.The students asked us to identify ourselves under the pseudonym “Alexander Mora.”
The 20-year-old explained the importance of schools reaching out to underserved communities like Guerrero, Mexico.
“We must develop people from all backgrounds so that they can help change society for a better future…” said Mora.
Penetration of “Corruption and Cartel Violence”
The journey from Ayotsinapa to Mexico City is about a five-hour drive through winding mountain roads through Guerrero, Mexico. Lush greenery obscures what locals describe as a place permeated with corruption and cartel violence.
The 43 missing loved ones are now focused on their activist lives, but they don’t falter as they drive across the state as part of their regular commute to the capital.
Each month, the two take the bus to Mexico City, eerily similar to their sons’ unfinished journey in 2014.
Don Margarito Guerrero said, “If left alone, there will be no justice.” “… it’s the same thing over and over again… that’s why we fight.”
They can’t travel far through Guerrero without finding graffiti or photos that refer to “43” or more than 100,000 people estimated to have gone missing in Mexico since the 1960s.
They are just one example of the suffering that is spreading across the country.
In Mexico, families of missing persons have formed more than 130 “search groups” to independently investigate disappearances, Human Rights Watch said.
And according to a 2022 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 40,000 relatives of people who have gone missing in Mexico have taken part in training to find their loved ones.
Still, there are moments when Guerrero’s sadness is overshadowed by hopeful memories.
“I remember him always showing up somewhere with a sweater over his shoulder,” Guerrero says with a weary smile. ”
CNN’s Marlon Sorto and Karina Maciel contributed to this report.