Absent Justice, Parents of Missing Students Condemn Mexico's "Narco-Politics"

The parents of 43 Ayotzinapa students who will have been missing for one year on Saturday came out of a meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on Thursday “immensely angry” and demanding justice they fear will never come.

“Those people are cold-blooded and their eyes say it all,” said one mother, referring to officials in Peña Nieto’s government.

“The State is responsible for disappearing our children,” the parents said in a written statement published (Spanish) Thursday in La Jornada. “The state has permitted the narco-politics to control Guerrero, and to generate a historic lie that today has been exposed and which tortured us by granting privileges to politicians instead of looking out for the rights of the victims.”

As Lauren Carasik argued at Al Jazeera America on Friday, the case has been mishandled from the start:

During Thursday’s meeting, the president reportedly said he would “consider” all eight demands put forth by the parents, which TeleSUR translated and summarized in full.

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According to TeleSUR, those demands include:

  1. Acknowledgement of the legitimacy of our search for justice and that the case remain open.
  2. We demand that the [Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts] remain active investigating the case and that their reports and recommendations be accepted. It is time that you President commit to changes in this country and that you guarantee truth and justice for Ayotzinapa.
  3. We ask that the investigation be rethought and retaken by a special investigative unit, under international supervision. This unit should focus on two objectives: to an in-depth investigation into the whereabouts of our children and another to focus on the montage set up to [deceive] us and lie to us and make a mockery of us. (This point has a series of other request that basically demand a full investigation with no regards to the consequences to the government.)
  4. To re-launch a serious search of our children with the immediate use of all technology available. We have suffered throughout the past year seeing the lack of coordination by your government in the search for our children.
  5. We ask the mechanism be put in place for a permanent and respectful communication between us and about our rights. We cannot accept the continuation of lies to us and the Mexican society as a whole.
  6. Acceptance and actions in light of the crisis of impunity in the country, the corruption and the widespread violation of human rights in Mexico. Our children are not the only ones that have been forcibly disappeared in this country. Tens of thousands of families are searching for their loved ones, while our country is transformed into one huge mass grave.

Peña Nieto did on Thursday order the creation of a special prosecutor’s office to investigate the disappearances, though a spokesman did not explain how it differed from a similar unit created in 2013.

And Vidulfo Rosales, a lawyer for the parents, said the president had not yet “committed to fulfilling any” of the listed demands—and that promises made by Peña Nieto were not new.

As the parents declared in their statement: “President, we do not trust your institutions nor your government, which has sought to deceive us, and it is only because we profoundly desire to hug our children again [that] we are here before you once again.”

The families, other students, and concerned citizens will join a demonstration in Mexico City on Saturday to mark one year since the disappearance.

On Friday, Amnesty International published a series of photographs documenting how relatives of the missing students are coping.

“The government says that we should get over the pain,” said Maximino Hernandez Cruz, father of Carlos Lorenzo Hernández Muñoz, “but they are wrong because we will not overcome this pain until the 43 are found and those responsible are punished. We will not rest.”

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