Entertainment

After Years, A Netflix Documentary Is Digging Into The True Story Behind The Disappearance Of The Ayotzinapa Students

In September 2014, a group of progressive students organized to attend an annual protest of a student massacre that occurred decades before. On their way there, half a dozen municipal police forces were seemingly organized and attacked the buses with four hours of gunfire. Half the students survived. Forty-three went missing.

In the days and weeks after, nobody could have imagined the absolute worst-case scenario could happen: that the Mexican government was responsible and wouldn’t deliver any kind of investigation or closure for the parents of “The 43.” Netflix’s docu-series “The 43” does what nobody else has to uncover the tragic mystery. Here’s our synopsis.

On September 26, 2014, a group of 100 students boarded buses to Mexico City to demand justice for the Tlatelolco massacre.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

For decades, students have organized to arrive in Mexico City in time for the annual October 2nd protest. Every year, the state attempts to block students from arriving in Mexico City. So, every year, the students describe a tradition of “hijacking” buses to make it to Mexico City. Bus drivers expect it. Towns expect it. It’s much more like they’re hitchhiking en masse. Half the students make it onto one bus and the others make it on another. One bus driver said he’d take them to Mexico City after he dropped off his passengers in Iguala.

It was a normal day until one bus driver locked the students inside.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

Instead of dropping them outside the station, he went into the bus station and locked them inside the bus. The students trapped inside called their friends in the other bus and told them they were locked up. Worried for their friends, the students had the second bus driver be diverted to Iguala. 

Enrique García tells us what happened next.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

The students arrive in Iguala to rescue their friends from the locked bus. Reunited, they split up into five smaller groups to get on buses headed to Mexico City. By this time, authorities arrive at the bus station and enter into a confrontation. The students rush onto the buses and all the drivers drive away. Three buses head off unscathed. Another two buses had different outcomes.

Juan’s bus was blocked by a patrol car just outside the city.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

So the students got out of the bus and started pushing the patrol car out of the way. Then, they heard gunshots and saw their friend Aldo get shot in the head. The students rushed back into the bus to take coverage from the gunfire, shouting, “No tenemos armas!” We don’t have any weapons!

Patrol cars had surrounded Juan’s bus and refused to let an ambulance get to Aldo.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

Aldo laid there with a bullet in his head for 45 minutes before an ambulance was permitted to bring him to the hospital. It wasn’t until a group of brave students decided to risk their lives to carry Aldo out past the patrol cars to the ambulance. The rest of the students on that bus go missing.

Meanwhile, the other bus is also facing gunfire.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

One student is shot in the face and bleeding profusely. The students are able to escape and scatter among different homes.

At midnight, they decide to call some journalists in fear the State would cover up their crimes by morning.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

Most journalists wouldn’t show up because “the government said it was too dangerous.” This journalist did show up and had to hide from gunfire. He suspects that assault rifles were used, given the size of the bullets on the ground. Other students found refuge in a gracious man’s house, who said that the “official” truck they escaped from was a “pirate truck.” It allegedly picks up people. 

The students who escaped authorities fled to a hospital which then called the authorities on them.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

One of the students, Edgar, was bleeding badly from a bullet wound to his face. A few minutes after speaking with hospital staff, the police arrived and started beating the students. Then, as if the commander received an order, he apologized to the students. He said they received notice of an armed home invasion and, “how were they supposed to know they aren’t criminals?”

In that same neighborhood, a soccer team was traveling by bus when police stopped them and killed a 14-year-old boy.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

This survivor walked outside the bus after the driver was shot and drove off the road. His assistant told police that they were just soccer players. He was shot twice—one bullet going through his liver.  Then, they heard one officer say, “Commander, we f***ed up. They’re just a soccer team.”

By the morning, six had been confirmed dead and 57 were missing.

Funerals were planned and attended, with 57 boys still missing. One boy saw 20 students put into a police van and never seen again. Many believe that the attack was organized by the mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca Velázquez, and his wife.

The students allegedly planned to interrupt the mayor’s wife political campaign event, and it angered José Luis Abarca Velázquez.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

It’s suspected that he unilaterally ordered police forces from several different surrounding cities to fire at the students for four hours straight. The mayor then requested a 30-day leave from office and entirely disappeared.

That planned October 2nd protest then became a protest demanding the students be returned alive.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

The mothers of the children were interviewed and reportedly had “sentidos malos” about what happened. The government was saying that the boys were just afraid and in hiding and that they’d all return home eventually. They put the blame on the boys for going up against authorities.

Three days later, two pits were found with 28 bodies, suspected to be the students.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

The following day, the governor speedily announced that the bodies don’t belong to the students. Within days, two more pits were found, bringing the body count up to 43. By October 18, the governor announced the arrest of Sidronio Casarrubias Salgado, the alleged leader of a gang named Guerreros Unidos.

The ultimate plot twist is that the students accidentally hijacked a bus that was shipping millions of dollars of heroin by a drug lord.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

After investigative journalists discovered that police records didn’t include the names of the children but focused entirely on the license plate numbers, they wondered why? What’s so important about these two buses out of the six that the students ultimately commandeered? 

A drug lord ordered the mayor to make sure he got his product back “by any means necessary.” 

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

At the end of the day, the state was complicit in the cover-up of their own corruption with the drug cartel. The police killed those 43 students and dumped their bodies in one of the many pits that were eventually uncovered around the city. Systemic corruption and cartel-state issued murders were uncovered as the result of one of the most horrific crimes in Mexican history.

Only two bodies have been confirmed recovered.

Credit: The 43 / Netflix

The families continue to grieve the fate of their sons. At least 80 suspects have been arrested, more than half of whom were police officers. The official version of the story by the state of Guerrero directly contradicts the survivors’ testimony. It’s been four years.

READ: International Figures Are Questioning The Interviews Conducted By Mexican Officials In The Ayotzinapa Missing 43 Case

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Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

Things That Matter

Mexico Plunges 23 Places On The World Happiness Report As The Country Struggles To Bounce Back

When it comes to international happiness rankings, Mexico has long done well in many measurements. In fact, in 2019, Mexico placed number 23 beating out every other Latin American country except for Costa Rica. But in 2020, things looks a lot different as the country slipped 23 spots on the list. What does this mean for Mexico and its residents? 

Mexico slips 23 spots on the World Happiness Report thanks to a variety of compelling factors.

Mexico plummeted 23 places to the 46th happiest nation in the world, according to the 2020 happiness rankings in the latest edition of the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. The coronavirus pandemic had a significant impact on Mexicans’ happiness in 2020, the new report indicates.

“Covid-19 has shaken, taken, and reshaped lives everywhere,” the report noted, and that is especially true in Mexico, where almost 200,000 people have lost their lives to the disease and millions lost their jobs last year as the economy recorded its worst downturn since the Great Depression.

Based on results of the Gallup World Poll as well as an analysis of data related to the happiness impacts of Covid-19, Mexico’s score on the World Happiness Report index was 5.96, an 8% slump compared to its average score between 2017 and 2019 when its average ranking was 23rd.

The only nations that dropped more than Mexico – the worst country to be in during the pandemic, according to an analysis by the Bloomberg news agency – were El Salvador, the Philippines and Benin.

Mexico has struggled especially hard against the Coronavirus pandemic. 

Since the pandemic started, Mexico has fared far worse than many other countries across Latin America. Today, there are reports that Mexico has been undercounting and underreporting both the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths. Given this reality, the country is 2nd worst in the world when it comes to number of suspected deaths, with more than 200,000 people dead. 

Could the happiness level have an impact on this year’s elections?

Given that Mexico’s decline in the rankings appears related to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic here, one might assume that the popularity of the federal government – which has been widely condemned for its management of the crisis from both a health and economic perspective – would take a hit.

But a poll published earlier this month found that 55.9% of respondents approved of President López Obrador’s management of the pandemic and 44% indicated that they would vote for the ruling Morena party if the election for federal deputies were held the day they were polled.

Support for Morena, which apparently got a shot in the arm from the national vaccination program even as it proceeded slowly, was more than four times higher than that for the two main opposition parties, the PAN and the PRI.

Still, Mexico’s slide in the happiness rankings could give López Obrador – who has claimed that ordinary Mexicans are happier with him in office – pause for thought.

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Mexico Is Owning The Instagram-Worthy World Of Glamping With These Bubble Hotels

Culture

Mexico Is Owning The Instagram-Worthy World Of Glamping With These Bubble Hotels

Right now just about everyone is itching to go on vacation. But considering that we’re still mid-pandemic and the call remains to socially distance, what can one do?

Sure, glamping is nothing new – it’s filled our Instagram feeds for years and was around long before that – but it may just provide travelers with that socially-distanced staycation that so many of us need right about now. Or, better yet, wait a little while longer and get yourself to Mexico where several new glamping bubble hotels are popping up.

Mexico will soon have three “bubble hotel” options for tourists looking for the next level of “glamping.”

When you think of camping, many of us think of bugs, not showering, and doing our private business behind a bush somewhere. While that’s still definitely an option for those of us that are into it, glamping has been a trend towards making the camping experience a more comfortable one.

Glamping has been gaining popularity among nature lovers, who also want to enjoy those everyday creature comforts, but in the midst of beautiful landscapes. That’s why bubble hotels have been popping up across Mexico, to offer clients a unique stay, close to nature they’re the perfect ‘getaway’ to get out of your daily routine.

From the bosque outside Mexico City to the deserts of Baja, Mexico is a glamping paradise. 

These bubble hotels have rooms described by travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet as essentially inflatable, transparent domes designed to allow guests to cocoon themselves in nature without quite leaving their material comforts behind. 

There are already two such properties across Mexico with a third which will begin welcoming guests sometime toward the end of this year.

One of those that is already operational is Alpino Bubble Glamping in Mexico City while the other is the Campera Bubble Hotel in the Valle de Guadalupe wine region of Baja California.

Located in the Cumbres de Ajusco National Park in the south of the capital, the former has just two “bubbles,” a 40-square-meter deluxe one that goes for 4,500 pesos (about US $220) a night and a 25-square-meter standard where a stay costs a slightly more affordable 4,000 pesos.

Both have views of the Pico del Águila, the highest point of the Ajusco, or Xitle, volcano, and come equipped with telescopes that guests can use to get a better view of the surrounding scenery and night sky.

Bubble glamping isn’t the camping our parents dragged us out to do in the woods as kids.

Credit: Alpino Bubble Hotel

Sure you may be connecting with nature and enjoying awesome activities like horseback riding, stargazing, hiking or rafting, but these properties come with all the creature comforts we’re used to. 

Move nights, wifi, breakfast in bed, warm showers, luxurious bedding, and even a full bar are all standard amenities at many of these properties.

What do you think? Would you be up to stay the night at one of these bubble hotels?

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