Things That Matter

Authorities Have A New Lead That Might Bring Answers To The Missing Ayotzinapa Students

It’s been five years since 43 students from a teachers’ college in the town of Ayotzinapa suddenly disappeared on Sept. 26, 2014. Their stories and faces have become emblematic of a country where violence and death rates have only risen since. While some have forgotten or given up on finding answers, their families and Mexicans across the country have stood determined to uncover the truth. 

This past week marked the 5th anniversary of this national tragedy but it also marked the latest turn in the case as new information has surfaced. According to the Washington Post, there are new details in the case that have led Mexican authorities to begin working at a new garbage dump where they hope some of the students’ bodies may be. 

The latest lead in the case brings hope that the bodies of the 43 students will finally be found after 5 years. 

The latest lead in the case has led authorities to a dump outside the town of Iguala, Guerrero where former Colombian prosecutor Ángela Buitrago of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights group, said is  “is in the epicenter of the action.”

“We’re waiting for information that they could have obtained in that place because there are various (leads) that have not been investigated,” Felipe de la Cruz, spokesman for the students’ families, told The Washington Post

While the search at the dump began more than a week ago, the results have been mixed. According to the AP, investigators at the site have been able to uncover close to 200 clandestine burial sites and recovered 184 bodies but none of them the students. The found bodies are believed to be victims of drug gangs or kidnappers but so far only 44 have been identified.

Officials say they aren’t done looking at the dump and are still considering it a major location of the case. 

“We will make a comprehensive rethinking of the investigation, correcting the omissions, contradictions, and the lack of evidence that led to the so-called ‘historical truth’,” Alejandro Encinas, Mexico’s undersecretary of human rights who is overseeing the commission looking into the case, told Al-Jezeera. “And those authorities that incurred in omission or illegal practices, as has been proven … such as torture on some of the people detained, will be held responsible.” 

The latest developments in the case come as President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who reopened the case after he was elected last year, said they are looking at new leads in hopes of finally bringing justice. 

Credit: @7Dnews / Twitter

President Lopez Obrador has made the case one of his highest priorities since taking office last year. On the five-year anniversary, he held a press conference with the students’ families and updated them on the new investigation development. Many spoke at the event and demanded justice for the 43 students who many say the Mexican government had forgotten about. 

“I do feel things are progressing, slowly, but progressing,” Omar Garcia Velasquez, a former a spokesman for the 43 missing students’ movement, told Al-Jezeera. “I understand it’s very complicated to start from scratch, and I know the narrative has changed towards the victims and their families. But nevertheless, we will continue with our movement until the case is solved.”

While there are still many questions to be answered on the case, there has been some progress. That includes the creation of new commissions for the case and money rewards for key information that may lead to arrests.  

Credit: @wola_org / Twitter

The country hasn’t been able to move on from the disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers’ college. The story behind the case has yet to be conclusively established as many accounts have had various endings and perpetrators behind the kidnappings. Authorities said that the 43 students were detained by corrupt police on the night of September 26, 2014, and were then allegedly handed over to gang members who massacred them by burning their bodies.

The original investigation done by the administration of former President Enrique Peña Nieto has been criticized for it’s ineffectiveness and failure to provide any due process. To this point, no one has ever been convicted in connection to the disappearance of the 43 students. Of the more than 140 people that were originally detained in connection to the case, 77 were released after a judge dismissed many of the cases due to insufficient evidence or reports that some of those detained were tortured to get answers.

Mexican Senator Emilio Alvarez Icaza was the former president of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights at the same when an independent expert group, called GIEI, was founded to collaborate with the Mexican government to look into the case. The GIEI found that there were various contradictions and irregularities in how the previous case was ran. The group also found that a new case should be opened in a completely new direction than the previous. 

“It’s important that the president sends out a clear message that the army will be investigated. Because without it and the increasing militarisation we’re seeing in the country, the message will be that the army is untouchable,” Icaza told Al Jazeera. “This is a case where the credibility and trust of Lopez Obrador’s government are at stake. If this story also ends up in impunity, the public’s outcry will be enormous.”

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

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Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

Things That Matter

Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Love him or hate him, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has long called himself the voice of the people – and many Mexicans agree with him. That’s why his latest announcement against social media companies has many so worried.

In the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s (along with many other social media platforms) announcement that they would be restricting or banning Donald Trump from their platforms, the Mexican president expressed his contempt for the decisions. And his intention to create a Mexican social network that won’t be held to the standards from Silicon Valley.

Mexico’s AMLO moves to create a social media network for Mexicans outside of Silicon Valley’s control.

A week after his United States counterpart was kicked off Facebook and Twitter, President López Obrador floated the idea of creating a national social media network to avoid the possibility of Mexicans being censored.

Speaking at his daily news conference, AMLO instructed the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) and other government departments to look at the possibility of creating a state-owned social media site that would guarantee freedom of speech in Mexico.

“We care about freedom a lot, it’s an issue that’s going to be addressed by us,” he told reporters. He also added that Facebook and Twitter have become “global institutions of censorship,” sounding a lot like the alt-right terrorists that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“To guarantee freedom, for freedom, so there’s no censorship in Mexico. We want a country without censorship. Mexico must be a country of freedom. This is a commitment we have,” he told reporters.

AMLO deeply criticized the moves by Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump from their platforms.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

AMLO – like Trump – is an avid user of social media to connect with his constituents. He’s also been known to spread falsehoods and boast about his achievements on the platforms – sound familiar?

So, it came as little surprise when he tore into social media companies for ‘censoring’ Donald Trump, saying that they have turned into “global institutions of censorship” and are carrying out a “holy inquisition.”

Nobody has the right to silence citizens even if their views are unpopular, López Obrador said. Even if the words used by Trump provoked a violent attack against his own government.

“Since they took these decisions [to suspend Trump], the Statue of Liberty has been turning green with anger because it doesn’t want to become an empty symbol,” he quipped.

So what could a Mexican social media network be called?

The president’s proposal to create a national social media network triggered chatter about what such a site would or should be called. One Twitter user suggested Facemex or Twitmex, apparently taking his inspiration from the state oil company Pemex.

The newspaper Milenio came up with three alternative names and logos for uniquely Mexican sites, suggesting that a Mexican version of Facebook could be called Facebookóatl (inspired by the Aztec feathered-serpent god Quetzalcóatl), Twitter could become Twitterlopochtli (a riff on the name of Aztec war, sun and human deity Huitzilopochtli) and Instagram could become Instagratlán (tlán, which in the Náhuatl language means place near an abundance of something – deer, for example, in the case of Mazatlán – is a common suffix in Mexican place names.)

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Carlos Villagrán Is Running To Be Governor Of Querétaro


Carlos Villagrán Is Running To Be Governor Of Querétaro

Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic

We all remember Carlos Villagrán as Quico from “El Chavo del Ocho.” The actor and Mexican icon is now entering the world of politics. Villagrán is entering the race for governor of Querétaro.

Actor and comedian Carlos Villagrán wants to be governor of Querétaro.

Affectionately known as Quico from “El Chavo del Ocho,” Villagrán is someone we grew up with. Now, decades after his famous role ended, Villagrán is hoping to open a brand new chapter in his life: politics.

“After 50 years of making people laugh, I find myself on another platform, which does me a tremendous honor,” Villagrán said during a press conference after filing paperwork.

Villagrán has been thinking about entering Mexican politics for a while.

It is never easy to decide if you want to become a politician. Your private life is no longer private and everything you do is suddenly under intense scrutiny. Villagrán did take time mulling over the idea before filing his paperwork to be a candidate for governor of Querétaro. He registered under the local Querétaro Independiente Party.

“I can’t say anything, because I still don’t know anyone and I have to talk to people to find out what it is about. So, I could not say anything at this moment,” Villagrán told El Universal when still debating the idea.

Villagrán created a Twitter account after announcing his candidacy and is hitting the talking points hard.

Villagrán’s official Twitter account has only pushed tweets highlighting QiBook. The social media platform is specific to Querétaro and is hoping to foster some economic and commercial success in the state.

Fans around the world are wishing him so much success.

Villagrán character Quico is one of the most celebrated characters in Latin America. The wild success of “El Chavo del Ocho” has made Villagrán a face that people throughout Latin America know and love.

However, some people are not excited to see another entertainer enter politics.

We have seen entertainers become politicians and it isn’t always a good thing. The current governor of Morales is Cuauhtémoc Blanco, a former soccer player, and people are not loving him and his leadership. We will no better about his chances of running on Feb. 8 when things are finalized.

READ: FIFA21 Releasing ‘El Chavo Del Ocho’ Uniforms To Honor The Icon For Limited Time

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