What You Need to Understand About Ayotzinapa


Graphic by Conor McCormick '18

These 43 young men are still missing 7 months later.

Gabby Villegas '16, Opinions Editor

Much confusion surrounded the reason for the protests that occurred in Ayotzinapa, Mexico at the end of 2014. The whole confusion was sparked by alleged police involvement in the kidnapping of Mexican student-teachers (“normalistas”) in the area, however the reasons for the kidnapping were blurred. For a while, different sources were not able to completely, or accurately, describe the investigation or even the whereabouts/chance of survival of all 43 student-teachers.

In their timeline of the events in Ayotzinapa, Vice News wrote that on their way from a protest against recent education reforms in Iguala, the normalistas were kidnapped from the buses that they were on by police and other armed men. The protest they attended was because of the little funding that the government gives to their school, the Raul Isidro Burgos Normal Rural School of Ayotzinapa. Originally, it was assumed that 42 students were kidnapped, but later, it had been confirmed a total of 43.

There was confusion that the kidnappings were by command of the Mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca, and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa. Initially, it was thought that they commanded that the students be handed over to the drug cartel, Guerreros Unidos, because Abarca did not want the students to disrupt a bid that would place his wife as mayor in the next election, according to an article by The Guardian. However, Latin Times confirmed a month later that the Mexican federal government, and police officials were directly involved.

Protests later sparked in Mexico City in response to the disappearance of the students.”

The overall reason for the protests, according to OccupyWallStreet.Net was against the alleged long list of police corruption that the kidnappings fall under.

On October 4th, four mass graves were found and were initially believed to contain most of the normalistas. Arrested members of Guerreros Unidos verbally confirmed that all of the student-teachers were murdered.

Police officials not directly involved with the kidnappings had made the statement that DNA samples proved that the bodies found were of the students, according to The Socialist Worker. Mexico’s state attorney confirmed that the bodies that had been found in the mass graves were of the 43 missing student-teachers.

Why is this in the news, now? Earlier this month, the parents of the students, believe that they are still alive, according to The Bellingham Herald. Part of the distrust lies in the repeated evidence of corruption in the government, according to families.

No new evidence has emerged. Families of the student-teachers gathered near the white house to raise awareness of the need for what they would consider trustworthy evidence. The Bellingham Herald’s interview with some of the family members uncovered that their demand is for the Organization of American States and the United Nations to become involved in the investigation of the disappearance and outcome of the kidnappings of September 26th, 2014.

Is 7 months long enough for these families to wait to find out the truth?