FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2022
Nizhoni Begay email@example.com
Natali Segovia firstname.lastname@example.org
In solidarity with the #Ayotzinapa43
Today, on the eight-year anniversary of their forced disappearance, the Water Protector Legal Collective remembers the Ayotzinapa 43 and holds their families and communities in our prayers.
On the evening of September 26, 2014, 43 unarmed Indigenous students were forcibly disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, México. These students were studying to become teachers at the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College and on their way to the anniversary commemoration of the Massacre of Tlatelolco in 1968, where government forces killed 300+ student demonstrators in Mexico City.
The Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers' College is part of the rural teacher’s school system created to serve rural, underserved areas, with a robust social transformation component. The exact details of their disappearance remain unclear but the events on this night resulted in 6 people dead and 25+ injured.
On August 18, 2022, a truth commission established by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador released a report (Comisión para la Verdad y Acceso a la Justicia del Caso Ayotzinapa, COVAJ) that concludes that the vanished students were victims of “state-sponsored crime” or human rights violation at the hands of the state. It provides data on military involvement and participation of high-level authorities in the years-old fabrication of a narrative that says the students were taken to the Cocula landfill, incinerated, and their remains thrown into a river. Contrary to this, the COVAJ commission found that the 43 students were taken to different places in groups with the participation of a series of actors. According to the report, at least six students were first disappeared and later ostensibly killed under then-Colonel José Rodríguez Pérez’s oversight. The report alleges that on September 30, 2014, four days after the Ayotzinapa 43’s initial disappearance, Rodríguez said that “they had already taken care of the six students that were left alive.”
On August 19, 2022, former Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam was arrested and is now on trial for enforced disappearance, torture, and obstruction of justice. The arrest and prosecution of Murillo Karam represent the highest-level legal action against a former official in the Ayotzinapa case. The National Prosecutor’s Office (Fiscalía General de la República) also announced that it has obtained 83 additional arrest warrants in the case. One of these warrants includes Tomás Zerón former head of the Criminal Investigation Agency (Agencia de Investigación Criminal) who initially fled to Canada in 2019 but has now located in Tel Aviv, Israel. México has made several unsuccessful attempts to extradite Zerón who has been granted political asylum.
As recently as September 15, 2022, México arrested retired army general José Rodríguez Pérez, commander of the 27th Infantry Battalion when the events in Iguala occurred, in connection with the forced disappearance of the Ayotzinapa students. Deputy secretary of security Ricardo Mejía told CNN that a total of four arrest warrants have been issued against unidentified members of the Mexican army. By agreement of the Gabinete de Seguridad, last Friday, September 23, 2022, Federal Criminal Prosecution District Judge, based in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Samuel Ventura Ramos, was charged for “massive releases” in the Ayotzinapa case. Ramos ordered the release of 120 people involved.
The forced disappearance of the Ayotzinapa 43 has been the subject of ongoing investigations and numerous international and human rights organizations continue to urge the Mexican State to conduct an in-depth investigation.
Last year, on the eve of seven years of impunity, the Water Protector Legal Collective and TONATIERRA submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the file the Biden Administration gave to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, containing information about the Ayotzinapa 43. The response we received was a nonresponse, unhelpful in holding the United States or any Mexican government official accountable for any potential knowledge or involvement.
For too long the parents, families, and international community, have been denied answers for this human rights violation. “Vivos los llevaron, vivos los queremos!” They were taken alive, we want them back alive, continues to be the rallying cry of Ayotzinapa families. We will not forget.
To support the parents of Ayotzinapa students, in bringing awareness, in their quest for justice you can buy handmade masks by community members from Ayotzinapa, Iguala Guerrero Mexico at: tonatierra.org/coffee/red-mask-mexico
For more information on the #Ayotzinapa43 case visit: revealnews.org/podcast/after-ayotzinapa-arrests-and-intrigue/