Ayotzinapa Case: Crime of the State

Photo: Alexis Ortiz/ El Universal

By Magdalena Gomez

On September 26th, from the National Palace, the President of the Republic and the Undersecretary of Human Rights of the Ministry of the Interior, the head of the Special Investigation Unit for the Ayotzinapa case of the FGR (Attorney General of the Republic) and, virtually, the head of the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR) offered relevant information and evaluation on the occasion of the investigative report of the events that occurred between 26 and 27 September six years ago — that is, the forced disappearance of 43 students of the Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos. However, it should be emphasized  that the mothers and fathers of these students, present at the time, did not obtain the desired information about the whereabouts of their children, information for which they have walked through the long night that these six years of tireless searching have meant. On behalf of the parents of the 43 young people who disappeared from Ayotzinapa, Mrs. María Martínez Ceferino stated, “We come for more, but until today we have nothing.” They welcomed some of the advances made by the current administration, but called on the authorities to step up the pace to find truth and justice.

The report of actions, arrests and trials of members of criminal groups, as well as municipal and federal police who are accomplices, make up the framework in which in Iguala, Guerrero, the government of Peña Nieto committed a crime of the State, and central to this was the construction of the legal scaffolding to support the false historical truth. The special prosecutor for the case highlighted the arrest of the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office, which allegedly falsified the actions of the former director of the Criminal Investigation Agency (AIC), Tomás Zerón, in order to make the historical truth official.

The determination that there was intervention by the Army and the Federal Police, and the location of the remains of at least one student outside the Cocula garbage dump, means that the historical truth of the Peña Nieto government has collapsed (that students were killed and burned there), Alejandro Encinas said. He asserted that with the prosecution of soldiers, ministerial police, federal prosecutors and members of the Guerreros Unidos cartel, the pact of silence that had prevented progress in clarifying the events in Iguala began to be broken. He concluded that the only truth is that there is no truth.

The head of the FGR affirmed in a virtual message that it has established, based on investigations, that the past administration of the government of the Republic became the driver of a generalized cover-up of what happened to the students. He emphasized: there is no longer the slightest doubt that the previous government, at all levels, from the top of power to the most elemental actors, covered up, lied, tortured, carried out false proceedings, and tried to hide, with impunity and media scandals, a plot that has now been exposed in all its crudeness and reality. He said that the disappeared students were left in the middle of a clash of interests of organized crime groups vying for the municipality of Iguala, a center for the distribution of drugs produced in the mountains of Guerrero, sent to Mexico City and trafficked to the United States.

He concluded with an unclear disclosure as to whether one of the arrest warrants weighs on him; Tomás Zerón, former head of the AIC, now a fugitive, stole more than one billion pesos from the budget of the then PGR (now FGR) with the consent of his superiors.

For its part, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) considered that the challenge remains to break the pacts of silence and locate the whereabouts of the students (remotely through Francisco Cox Vial, a member of the GIEI).

The President of the Republic confirmed that the moratorium has been lifted in order to clarify the responsibility of the Army on the night of Iguala. Arrest orders that will be executed have been issued against military personnel. There is no impunity; anyone who has participated and is proven to have done so will be tried. There will be no protection for anyone, as it will reach the highest levels. To the parents of the 43 disappeared students, he offered apologies on behalf of the State for the great injustice and atrocities committed against their children, reiterating that we are facing a great injustice committed by the Mexican State. It is a State affair. The process underway must achieve results both for the victims and society. It has taken two years to untangle the skein of Ayotzinapa, and the factors revealed merit the strengthening of political will, with State actions. The structural framework of corruption and impunity that operated in Iguala is present in the country and appears in the other thousands of disappearances.

This article was originally published in Spanish in La Jornada on September 29, 2020. This English interpretation has been re-published by Schools for Chiapas. https://www.jornada.com.mx/2020/09/29/opinion/018a2pol