Mexico Student Massacre Raises Big Questions

Mexico Student Massacre Raises Big Questions

Story tools

A A AResize


Lea en español

The massacre of 43 Mexican students revealed the deep troubles this country has because of the mixture of politics and drug trafficking, and the corruption of leaders and officials that goes along with it.

According to the official story, students from a teachers college wanted to demonstrate during a speech that the first lady of Iguala was giving. Her husband, Mayor José Luis Abarca, asked municipal police to get involved. Police officers detained the students and turned them over to Guerreros Unidos, a drug cartel. Three of the cartel's assassins murdered the students, burned and bagged their bodies and threw them in the river.

However, the way events unfolded according to this tale convinces very few Mexicans—who are deeply, justifiably suspicious of their officials' honesty in solving massacres and assassinations. From Tlatelolco to Acteal and San Fernando, from José Francisco Ruiz Massieu to Donaldo Colosio, officials have muddled realities and legal work and swept things under the rug.

Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam tried to do the same thing on Friday, when he blamed the three assassins for the killings. Peña Nieto's government is counting on the arrests of Abarca—even though the former mayor today stands accused of a crime not related to the students—and the three assassins to close the case.

This tarnishes the PRI government, especially because the Attorney General's Office knew about the link between Abarca and Guerreros Unidos and of the way the tragedy was handled.

The same goes for the PRD, which knew about Abarca's connections and the chaos of Guerrero Governor Ángel Aguirre's administration.

How many more narco-mayors are there in Mexico, implicitly accepted by the political structure?
There must be a thorough investigation of the backgrounds, powers and actions of governors, mayors and municipal police after what happened in Iguala. Otherwise, there will be more massacres.

The case of the students must become a turning point for Mexican society. The chant "they took them alive, we want them back alive!" expresses the hope of parents and the feelings of a society that is fed up about living with governments that ignore it, corrupt officials, and murderers who kill or order killings with impunity.