Mexico's federal attorney's office, PGR, released a new 402-page report on the Ayotzinapa case that offers absolutely nothing new other than the designation of a new special prosecutor for the case who has been linked to powerful drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, according to information published Thursday by Proceso.
Attorney General Arely Gomez handed the report that includes all the PGR has done to clarify the case since October 2014 through to April 2016, however, in essence it insists on the official version the government has been pushing almost since the beginning, which is based on the alleged confessions through torture of various detainees who prosecutors say are members of the United Warriors drug cartel.
But the most controversial part of the event Wednesday during which Gomez met with the families of the 43 forcibly disappeared victims — whose remains or whereabouts are still a mystery except for those of Julio Mondragon that were identified by DNA testing — is Sinaloan Alfredo Higuera Bernal's appointment as the new special prosecutor in the case.
Critical Mexican magazine Proceso, became a public figure in 1999, Higuera Bernal, when named prosecutor for the Sinaloan Attorney General's office.
Eight years later, Proceso added, “he was an honorary guest at Joaquin “El Chapo's wedding which was celebrated July 2, 2007 in Angostura, located in the mountainous region of Durango.”
On that date, El Chapo married his current wife Emma Coronel, daughter of Ines Coronel, a poppy plant and marijuana grower, whose brother was Ignacio “Nacho” Coronel, a very powerful and feared gunman and drug trafficker.
Higuera Bernal was there as well as the Francisco Cardenas, mayor of the Canelas municipality of the state of Durango, which is part of a vast region that expands across three states that El Chapo and his Sinaloa Cartel have controlled for decades.
In 2008, Higuera Bernal was promoted to Sinaloa state Attorney General. He was appointed by then governor Jesus Aguilar Padilla.
Higera Bernal's brother, Gilberto Higuera, had also been state prosecutor in Sinaloa and then head of the PGR. Analysts say it’s no coincidence that the Higuera Bernal brothers have risen within the federal government since they are very closely linked to El Chapo. Proceso confirmed that Gilberto Higuera has close ties to the world's most powerful drug trafficker, among other criminals.
In fact, Gilberto was appointed to a high-level position in former President Vicente Fox's cabinet. El Chapo escaped from prison under Fox in 2003 under very dubious circumstances. Media outlets have said Guzman paid off Fox to allow for him to escape. The official version has it that El Chapo broke out of jail hidden in a laundry cart.
The New Ayotzinapa Report
The new report, as has been said by many Mexican news outlets, has no new information, and instead continues to reinforce the federal goverment's version that the students were forcibly disappeared by municipal police in Iguala, Guerrero and handed over to United Warriors, who then took them to a nearby garbage dump and burnt them to ashes, which they took to a not so nearby river to be discarded.
This theory has been strongly criticized by international experts from Argentina, Austria and the OAS' Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR).
This is the first report the PGR makes public since the IACHR's experts ended their mandate in the case after being being subjected to defamation by the Mexican government, who also blocked any attempt by the group to further their investigations by trying to call on military officials for questioning.
The OAS experts also revealed that the government's report lacks any credibility because it is based on confessions from members of the United Warriors who were tortured by federal police so that they would allegedly render testimony in line with what federal authorities asked from them.
After Wednesday's meeting with Gomez, the Ayotzinapa victims' families told reporters they did not trust Higuera Bernal nor the new report.