Saturday, September 26, 2015

They Took Them Alive And We Want Them Back Alive! #Ayotzinapa A Year Later

Ayotzinapa march
They took them alive - And we want them back alive! Those were the chants that were heard at the end of Pope Francis' address at Philadelphia's Independence Hall just a couple of hours ago. The cries referred to the 43 students of  Ayotzinapa, México, disappeared exactly a year ago by Mexican policemen and the mayor of Iguala Guerrero.

No matter how much México's President and his cabinet make efforts to paint a positive image of their country, they cannot escape reality. Sadly, their government cannot provide the most basic function of a State: security and justice for the people. And no matter how much they say that their government has made improvements in this area, the world knows that it is all a lie.

As times goes by, questions about the murder of these young men from Raul Isidro Burgos School continue to pile up. Dozens of policemen, the Mayor of Iguala and his wife have been arrested, but the students' parents still do not know what happened to their children. The only evidence authorities have recovered are several bags containing bone fragments, most of them too burned to recover DNA samples that could identify them.

What is going on in México? Well, it is the same thing that has been going on for decades. Its police departments are completely corrupt, and the federal government, equally corrupt, does not know how to deal with the problem. Also last July, Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán, the biggest drug lord of the world, escaped from the Altiplano Jail, this country's "most secure" prison. How did he do it? The same way that the criminals from Guerrero did it: With the help of the officers in charge of the prison, and a network of corruption that permeates all the way to the top of the Mexican government.

Mexicans face a dilemma, and they cannot count on their elected officials to overcome it. The President himself and his inner circle have been accused of corruption, but they are so far untouchable. It has been documented how President Enrique Peña Nieto's wife, Angélica Rivera, and Luis Videgaray, his Finance Minister, have acquired houses from Juan Armando Hinojosa, the owner of construction firms that have been given public works projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The disappearance of the 43 students last year put Peña Nieto's government on crisis mode. Since then, there have been protests worldwide asking for justice, a wish that may just not come true in this country where it's easy to buy a judge, and people are more afraid of the police that of their fellow citizens. The problem of impunity became worse with the return of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI, three years ago. This political party, which has been in power for decades in Mexico, has built networks of corruption so deep that it may not be possible for Mexican citizens to enjoy a real justice system in the years to come.

Meanwhile, unrest grows, especially in the impoverished South. And the parents of the Ayotzinapa students are suffering the worst of losses. The criminals took away their sons, and they disappeared their bodies. So they will never be able to have a normal burial, cry at their sons' graves, or bring them flowers. They may never have the closure that it is needed to heal and move on with their lives.

Enlace a historia en español - Link to Spanish story.

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