A year ago, on Sept. 26 a group of students from the Ayotzinapa Teachers College set out to raise funds for their school and attend a march commemorating the Tlatelolco student massacre of 1968, an event in Mexican history that would eventually shadow their own fate. Among Mexico’s brightest, the Ayotzinapa students came from a rural background but were radically inspired to bring change to Mexico through protest. But when they left Iguala on Friday Sept 26. They never came back.
The government version of events puts the blame on a coordinated attack by corrupt local government officials in league with drug traffickers who targeted the students in the mostly indigenous and campesino area of Guerreo, but this narrative that distances the federal government of President Pena Nieto from the crimes is questioned by the families of the victims and journalists who allege federal complicity and involvement.
Mexico’s federal government refuted the allegations, saying their own version of events was a “historical truth” that could not be disputed. Case closed.
But in a year of resistance, Mexican protesters defiantly shut down roads, highways, airports and squares, chanting the names of the students and holding up their portraits. A crime that was designed to terrify and intimidate Mexican communities was having the opposite effect. Mexico was supposed to break, but instead it rose up of brilliant fury sparking some of the largest demonstrations in decades to challenge government complicity, reminding officials that what happened to the most marginalized and the youth has outraged thousands and would not be forgotten.
The pressure of protests resulted in the release of a report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that has reinvigorated the movement after it backed the claims of the parents and journalists who questioned the state.
Now survivors of the attack, family members of the victims, and activists have launched an aggressive movement to counter the official narrative and demand accountability from those who are so often sheltered by high and public positions.
teleSUR English interviews solidarity activists with Mexico, including protest organizers, hunger strikers, artists, and poets, examining how the horrific story of Ayotzinapa that was supposed to disappear in official silence and apathy has now become a rallying cry for Mexicans all over the world.
Timeline: What Happened?
Ayotzinapa US Solidarity: Defying Borders, Reclaiming Identity
Latino Ayotzinapa solidarity activists in the U.S engage in protests and hunger strikes. They say the United States is complicit in human rights abuses through its support for the Mexican government across the border and must end military aid. Read More.
Mexican-American Artist Pays Tribute to Ayotinzapa
teleSUR English interviews acclaimed Mexican-American artist Andrea Arroyo on her recent exhibits dedicated to the victims of Ayotzinapa. Read More.
Mexico's Plan Merida on Trial
By: Tim MacGabhann
In Mexico Plan Merida has been blamed for worsening the country’s security situation and allowing atrocities like the Ayotzinapa disappearances to flourish.
Over 43,000 people died by homicide during Peña Nieto’s first two years in charge, compared with 14,000 during Calderón’s first two years. Disappearances have doubled from six per day under Calderón to 13 per day under Peña Nieto, according to the government’s Register on Missing Persons.
For many experts, a rethink is overdue. Read More.
Ayotzinapa: Necropolitics and the Media as Judge and Jury
By: Andalusia Knoll
Necropolitics: where the state has the “power and the capacity to dictate who may live and who must die.”
“In a tragic incident in Egypt, Mexican tourists were attacked. I deeply regret that people have lost their lives,”- tweeted Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on September 13, shortly after the news was released that a caravan of Mexican tourists was violently attacked by Egyptian security forces. Over the next week Peña Nieto went on to tweet over a dozen more times about these tragic events in Egypt, sending his condolences to families and promises to assist the victims.
Each of these tweets represents 140 characters more than those which Peña Nieto was willing to extend to the Ayotzinapa rural teaching college students. Read More
Video: "It was the State"
'It Was the State': Unmasking the Official Ayotzinapa Narrative
By: John Gibler
Journalist John Gibler investigates the disappearance of the 43 students at Ayotzinapa and the strong links implicating both local and federal officials to the crime. Read More.
In Their Own Words: The Families’ Struggle for the Truth
Click here to see our gallery of the victim’s familiy members words to their loved ones and how artists have supported the fight for justice.
In Pictures: a nationwide movement for justice
A wave of enforced disappearances
Growing Human Rights Violations in Mexico
Timeline: Mexico's Failed War on Drugs, Deaths and Disappearances
In Depth: US Collaboration in Mexico's New Dirty War
Mexico, willingly or not, has achieved a worldwide reputation of being a country riddled with violence and drug trafficking. So much so that the very name Mexico, for many, has become synonymous for drugs and drug cartels, or more recently, for the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students. Even if the real Mexico represents much more than those things, it’s reputation is already too tarnished for many people to easily change opinions.
But violence is not a new thing in North America's most southern country. To a growing body of experts, Mexico is the victim of its neighbors to the north, Canada and the United States; especially the latter, whose government has imposed on the country many ill-conceived policies and measures, including neoliberalism, free trade and the infamous Merida Initiative, probably the worst thing to ever hit Mexico. In the words of the U.S. State Department, “The Merida Initiative is an unprecedented partnership between the United States and Mexico to fight organized crime and associated violence, while furthering respect for human rights and the rule of law.”
Simply and briefly put, neither were achieved. Read more
teleSUR Coverage: articles and analysis
Documenting the struggle
Check out all our video coverage on Ayotzinapa here