Over a month has passed since the forced disappearance of the normalistas (student teachers) of the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa, and still 43 remain missing.
On September 26, members of the Iguala municipal police and the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel ambushed the caravan of students as they traveled by bus within their home state of Guerrero, Mexico. The students were headed back to Ayotzinapa after collecting donations for school supplies in the nearby city of Iguala.
After a series of attacks, six people lay dead, several students fled, and dozens more were seen taken away in police vehicles. The six dead include three normalistas, as well as a bus driver named Víctor Manuel Lugo Ortiz, a 15-year-old soccer player named David Josué García Evangelista, and a woman traveling in a nearby cab named Blanca Montiel Sánchez.
The three students confirmed dead include 19-year-old Julio César Mondragón, who after running away on his own the night of the attack, was later found on September 30, his face skinned and eyes removed.
That account is from an October 30th article in the PanAm Post. Since its publication, the remains of the 43 missing students are believed to have been found, and they have been declared dead by Mexican authorities.
Philosophers at the Institute for Philosophical Research, UNAM have written a manifesto demanding government accountability and justice for the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students. They are calling on the international academic and artistic community to sign it. You can read the document here (in English, French, and Spanish) and sign it by entering your information in the box near the top of the page, on the right side.
Here is an excerpt:
We propose that the movement concentrates its forces around the following concrete demands:
a) The full and detailed clarification of the crimes committed in Tlatlaya and Ayotzinapa, including and explanation regarding what allowed these atrocities to happen and, of course, the punishment of all the criminals involved directly or indirectly in all orders and modes of participation. Justice should be fully served.
b) Urgent measures should be taken to effectively deal with the social, political and moral decay that has given place to the reign of organized crime (in the broadest possible sense) in the country, measures that may effectively preclude the recurrence of such horrific crimes. Among these measures we should expect: (i) the establishment of a citizenship-based supervising mechanism that may overlook the candidacies proposed by political parties; (ii) the prompt satisfaction of the recommendation that the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances addressed to the Mexican Government in 2011; (iii) the public exhibition, and citizenship-based supervision, of the guidelines under which members of the police and the military are implicitly or explicitly taught and trained.
c) Urgent measures to fight back impunity, that spreading disease in the country that is the breeding grounds for new crimes. There must be clear signs that the more than 22, 000 cases of disappeared people in the country have priority under the government’s security policy.
d) The commitment from the government to categorically respect the right to protest of the Mexican citizenry, without promoting confusion and direct or indirect invitations to repression. This commitment must include the destitution of the authorities that partake, promote or tolerate unjustified acts of public force. In particular, we demand the immediate release of all the students and people arbitrarily detained in Mexico City during the ‘Global Action for Ayotzinapa’ of November 20th.
(via Robin Zheng)
(photo by Enrique Perez Huerta)