Families reject Mexican government’s latest version of Ayotzinapa events | Courthouse News Service
Thursday, November 30, 2023
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Families reject Mexican government’s latest version of Ayotzinapa events

The narrative in documents handed over on Monday looked more like the previous administration’s debunked version known as the “historical truth,” families of the victims said.

MEXICO CITY (CN) — Despite the Mexican president’s promise to hand over all documentation related to the disappearance of 43 teachers college students in 2014, families of the victims say they are no closer to the truth than before. 

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador last week pledged to “hand over the documents in full.” However, after reviewing the papers given to them during a meeting not attended by the president on Monday, families expressed disappointment during a march attended by over 2,000 people on the ninth anniversary of the tragedy. 

“We thought things were going to be different, we thought we had a ray of hope, but unfortunately, that’s not the case,” said Hilda Hernández, mother of César Manuel González Hernández, outside of the National Palace in Mexico City. “They say they’ve given us everything they have. That’s a lie.” 

López Obrador campaigned on a promise to uncover the truth and the whereabouts of the 43 students and even created a truth commission as his first act in office. 

In August 2022, that commission issued its response to the debunked “historical truth” of the administration of López Obrador’s predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto. That same month, former attorney general and principal author of that narrative Jesús Murillo Karam was arrested and indicted on charges of forced disappearance, torture and obstruction of justice in relation to the case. 

Truth commission chair Alejandro Encinas later discredited the report he himself had presented, telling the New York Times that “a very important percentage” of it had been invalidated. 

Parents of students of the Ayotzinapa forced disappearance tragedy address a crowd during a march commemorating the ninth anniversary of the incident in Mexico City on Sept. 26, 2023. (Cody Copeland/Courthouse News)

The Mexican government’s latest narrative of events is “closer to the ‘historical truth’ than the more recent investigations that have been done,” said Vidulfo Rosales, a lawyer and spokesperson for the victims’ families, speaking to reporters ahead of Tuesday’s march. It places the blame on the criminal groups implicated in the students' disappearance and aims to take the heat off the military's involvement in the events, he said.

“There are pieces of information [in the latest report] that aren’t supported by any evidence,” Rosales said. 

“We need the authorities to commit to the investigation,” he later said in an interview. “We need the president to assume his role of supreme commander of the armed forces. Political will is important, but it’s not enough.”

Encinas is expected to give the families another report tomorrow, Rosales said, adding that he hopes it will lead to “a route by which we can obtain this information,” he said.

Rosales and others are convinced that the army has this information. They accuse López Obrador of falling on the side of the military, and not the people he often says put him in office. 

José Martínez Cano, a Mexico City resident who attended the march to support the families and express his disapproval of the government he “unfortunately” voted for, said he believes López Obrador “supports the army” over the people.

Parents who have marched every month since the disappearance of their children on Sept. 26, 2014, appear to have little hope that this administration will give them the answers they deserve. 

“We regret that the president positions himself on the side of the military and not the side of truth and justice, like he promised during his campaign,” said Emiliano Navarrete, father of José Manuel Navarrete González, in front of the National Palace. “We will not yield to an authoritarian government or president. We aren’t going to play his game.”

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