The families of the missing Ayotzinapa students. Photo: Google

By KELIN DILLON

On Tuesday, March 29, parents and families of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa who disappeared in September 2014 took to a conference to express their disappointment and angry feelings toward the administration of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). In its three years in office thus far, the López Obrador administration has done little to resolve the families’ lingering concerns surrounding their relatives’ disappearance, even after AMLO’s Fourth Transformation (4T) met face-to-face with the families with seemingly empty promises to solve the mystery.

“The 43 families are angry … Unfortunately , the 4Ttried to fool us for three years … the institutions played with us”, said Mario González, one of the students’ fathers, at Tuesday’s conference, accusing the Secretariat of Defense (Sedena) and Secretariat of the Navy (Semar) of hiding information related to the disappearance in favor of a photo-op with the suffering families.

“I’m not talking about past institutions and past commanders. I’m talking about these commanders who promised us to reach the truth, commanders who played with us, when all they wanted was a photograph.” 

González pointed much of the families’ reignited anger to the release of a new report by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) that previous Monday, March 28, which revealed information to the public that had been already known by the Mexican authorities for more than three years, including drone video footage of naval personnel at the Cocula dump where government says the students’ bodies were reportedly set ablaze, though that claim has been met with plenty of skepticism.

“How could we not be angry? Three years later, information comes out that had to be delivered at the right time,” said González. “We don’t know anything about our children.”

For his part, AMLO took to Tuesday’s conference to say that all the military personnel involved in the situation had already been investigated and testified to the Attorney General’s Office (FGR), and claimed his government’s commitment to finding the truth behind the students’ disappearance.

“Unlike before, there is no impunity,” said López Obrador, saying he’d let the GIEI continue to work alongside the government for the next year and that the government will continue to pay for deeper investigation.

Still, regardless of López Obrador’s words, Mexico has an undeniable impunity problem. According to recent data from Amnesty International, Mexico has only accomplished 35 convictions for the more than 52,000 unidentified bodies in the country and more than 7,000 missing persons found in the country, as detailed in the organizations 2021-2022 report.

 

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