Things That Matter

Investigators May Have Found Remains Of The 43 Mexican Students Who Have Been Missing For 5 Years

In 2014, 43 students from a teacher’s college in Ayotzinapa went missing. Now, investigators have found human remains that may clue them in on what exactly happened to the missing college students. 

The Mexican government had initially concluded that local corrupt police officers were in the pocket of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel mistakenly believed the students were a part of a rival gang. The officers were said to have turned the students over to the cartel who killed them and dumped them in a landfill. 

The students’ parents did not accept this version of events and led various protests to demand answers from the state. They were vindicated when an independent investigation using forensic analysis discovered the government’s findings were impossible. When President Andres Manual Lopez Obrador took office in 2018 he vowed to solve this mystery. 

Investigators found human remains that may uncover what really happened.

A lawyer for some of the victims’ parents, Vidulfo Rosales told Mexico News Daily, that remains discovered by the National Search Commission surrounding Iguala, where the students went missing, will be analyzed by the government and foreign third parties. 

“The new hypothesis is that there was a situation in municipalities that neighbor Iguala that was not known before,” Rosales said. 

While the government’s initial theory was that the students were burned in a Cocula garbage dump, the new theory suggests that the students may have been separated and spread across municipalities. The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts believes that the 43 young men unwittingly took a cartel bus filled with heroin that was supposed to go to the United States. 

There were five buses transporting students from the college to a protest, but the bus with the missing 43 was the only one stopped by federal police.

The previous administration may have been covering up what really happened.

Following the incident, all traces of the official case file disappeared. Later on, an independent investigation found that authorities had used torture tactics to coerce confessions from suspects. 

The case hasn’t been able to make any progress because the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts’ efforts were thwarted by the previous government that refused to renew their mandate in 2016. AMLO promised to open an investigation after taking office, but 2019 saw little progress. 

Last September, 21 municipal police officers that were arrested in connection with the missing students were released from prison. 

“The judge ordered the officers’ release on the grounds that statements they made to prosecutors in the previous government were obtained by illegal means, including torture,” according to Mexico News Daily

However, human rights undersecretary Alejandro Encinas believed the move was a miscarriage of justice. Encinas believes the judge failed to follow a legal precedent which decrees that when evidence was obtained through torture a new investigation must occur rather than the automatic acquittal of the defendant. Encinas also noted that the judge set free those who were tortured but made no effort to hold those who did the alleged torturing accountable. The same judge had previously released a suspect in the case two weeks before. 

“The judge interpreted the law with a lot of laxity . . . He didn’t impart justice and caused serious damage to the search for truth,” Encinas said.

In total, 77 out of 142 suspects have been released after judges found the convicting evidence was obtained unlawfully. 

2020 might bring answers about the missing 43.

“We still don’t know what happened. We are overwhelmed, stuck,” Antonio Tizapa, father of one of the missing student’s named Jorge. “And after five years of demanding justice, five years fighting to keep the case open, it’s unreal that we still can’t find them.” 

With possible remains uncovered, the families of the victims said they would give AMLO two months (starting in November) to make progress in the case. The remains will be analyzed in Mexico, the Institute of Legal Medicine at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria, and experts from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

In the past 12 years, 47,000 people have disappeared in Mexico, according to NBC News

“Politics affects us on both sides of the border,” he said. “But what happened to my son is happening to many other children in Mexico and the United States.”

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Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

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Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

FRANCISCO ROBLES/AFP via Getty Images

It’s an election year in Mexico and that means that things are heating up as candidates fight for the top spot. At the same time, Mexico is experiencing a burgeoning fight for women’s rights that demands accountability and justice. Despite all the marches and protests and civil disobedience by hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, it remains to be seen how much change will happen and when. 

Case in point: Félix Salgado, a candidate for governor of Guerrero who has been accused of rape and sexual assault but maintains the support of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). Now, after being disqualified from the race because of undisclosed campaign finances, the candidate is vowing to block any elections from taking place unless he is allowed to continue his campaign. 

A disqualified candidate is vowing to block elections unless he’s allowed to run.

Félix Salgado was running to be governor of the Mexican state of Guerrero when he was faced with allegations of rape and sexual assault. The commission that selects party candidates allowed him to remain in the race and he continues to maintain the support of President AMLO – who is of the same political party, Morena. 

However, in late March, election regulators ordered that Salgado be taken off the ballot due to a failure to report campaign spending, according to the AP. Mexico’s electoral court ordered the Federal Electoral Institute (FEI) to reconsider their decision last week. Salgado is already threatening to throw the election process into chaos.

“If we are on the ballot, there will be elections,” Salgado told supporters in Guerrero after leading a caravan of protestors to the FEI’s office in Mexico City on Sunday. “If we are not on the ballot, there will not be any elections,” Salgado said.

The AP notes that Salgado is not making an empty threat. Guerrero is an embattled state overrun with violence and drug gangs and many elections have been previously disrupted. Past governors have been forced out of office before finishing their terms. Salgado was previously filmed getting into a confrontation with police in 2000.

It was just weeks ago that the ruling party allowed Salgado’s candidacy to move forward.

In mid-March, Morena confirmed that Félix Salgado would be its candidate for governor in Guerrero after completing a new selection process in which the former senator was reportedly pitted against four women.

Morena polled citizens in Guerrero last weekend to determine levels of support for five different possible candidates, according to media reports. Among the four women who were included in the process were Acapulco Mayor Adela Román and Senator Nestora Salgado.

Félix Salgado was the clear winner of the survey, even coming out on top when those polled were asked to opine on the potential candidates’ respect for the rights of women. He also prevailed in all other categories including honesty and knowledge of the municipality in which the poll respondents lived.

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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