On September 26 2014, a bus carrying students from the Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa Teacher Training School was stopped by the local police in Iguala, Guerrero. Without prior warning the police opened fire killing six students on the spot. The police, with the collaboration of notorious drug gang Guerreros Unidos then kidnapped the remaining students.
This brutal incident acted as the proverbial last straw, opening up a wave of mass protests which grew and spread throughout Mexico. The Marxist Student Federation here in Britain energetically participated in solidarity action with the Mexican students and their struggle.
What the government described as the “historical truth” of the events on the night of September 26 is as follows: a group of Ayotzinapa students had gone to the town of Iguala, Guerrero, to raise funds and commandeer coaches so they could attend a demonstration in Mexico City. They were attacked by the local police and then handed over to a criminal gang, Guerreros Unidos, which killed them and burnt their bodies in the Cocula rubbish dump. Motive? The students had been mistaken for a rival criminal gang.
This version was supposed to serve to close the case and put an end to the mass mobilisations for justice throughout Mexico and internationally. Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto callously told the families to accept the students’ death and “get over it”. A few local officials were made scapegoats and the whole embarrassing business was supposed to be forgotten.
But one year after the students’ disappearance a report by an independent group of experts demolished the “historical truth” put out by the Mexican government. The report of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) destroys the government version on a number of crucial aspects.
First of all it establishes very clearly the participation of state agents, from the Army, the federal and state police and the National Defence Ministry intelligence in the disappearance. State and national officials, who had the students under constant surveillance, were informed of the attack as it was taking place.
Secondly, the GIEI established that it is physically impossible that the bodies of the 43 students were burnt in the Cocula rubbish dump.
Thirdly, the GIEI concludes that the attack took place in several locations over a period of many hours, pointing towards the existence of a sophisticated command structure taking decisions on the spot, which goes beyond the capabilities of a local criminal gang.
Finally, the report details a pattern of deliberate and systematic destruction and hiding of evidence by the state at different levels, including the investigation carried out by the State Attorney’s Office.
In other words, the Ayotzinapa 43 justice movement was right all along in saying “Fue El Estado” [“It was the state”]
The Ayotzinapa events are an issue which questions the whole edifice of the capitalist state in Mexico. Justice will only be done when the Mexican workers, peasants and youth take power into their own hands and brush aside this horrible rotten regime which is capitalism.
Here in Britain we have not forgotten the 43 Ayotzinapa students. Capitalism is horror without end. The best homage to those who fall in struggle is to make sure we rid the world of oppression and violence by overthrowing this rotten system and bringing about a socialist society.