By Livia Durdia
Recently, a mass grave believed to be contain the remains of missing students from the Ayotzinapa teacher-training college was found in the outskirts of Iguala, Guerrero.
The people of Iguala are trapped and plagued amongs gangsters, crooked cops, and hard-pressed government officials, thus social unrest is prevalent and protests frequent. The violence began when city police shot at hijacked buses of protesting students, which killed three of the students. Later, masked gunmen shot at two taxis and a bus carrying a soccer team, killing two people on the bus and one in a taxi.
These rural teaching colleges are targeted because not only do they foster radical thought, but also economic reforms. NAFTA has to government targeting of schools such as this for elimination. The gangs in the area were also hurt by the activities of the teaching college, according to the blog Think Mexican.
“Officials stated that the Guerreros Unidos gang was angry with those students for hurting their local businesses and used corrupt government authorities to teach them a lesson – but state actors also had reason to wipe out a focal point of resistance to unpopular national reforms and a school with a reputation as a protest leader.” In fact, it is believed that the police were involved (34 have been charged in the disappearance so far).
Many of the bodies had been dismembered and burned beyond recognition; investigators say it will take weeks to be sure about the identities of the bodies. State officials have found video evidence of police officers arresting and taking away an undisclosed/undetermined number of student protesters.
According to the Associated Press, “a group of young people from the Ayotzinapa Normal school protested outside the governor’s residence in the state capital of Chilpancingo. They threw Molotov cocktails and overturned a car after state authorities told them they would not allow them to travel to the graves to see the bodies and determine if they belong to their missing classmates.”
Many across Mexico are outraged, as violence of this caliber is unprecedented. Thousands have taken to the streets nationwide in order to protest. Laura Carlsen writes, “The collusion of government and organized crime is so frequent in Mexico that it forms part of the structure and operations of both in many parts of the country. And the lack of justice for crimes committed by members of this alliance is nothing new. But rarely— if ever — have so-called public servants so openly attacked civilians.”
In the last 24 hours it was reported that four more mass graves have been found.