We begin with the latest, via Al Jazeera America:
Protests rage over missing students in Mexico ahead of national strike
- Strike and massive marches called for Nov. 20 in capital and abroad demanding end to government corruption
Protests over the disappearance of 43 missing students raged across Mexico and the United States over the weekend. Activists blamed a government they say has ties to organized crime and called for people in Mexico and the U.S. to support a Mexico-wide strike on Thursday.
Coinciding with the Nov. 20 strike, protest marches will be held in Mexico City, as well as dozens of cities across the U.S. including New York City and Los Angeles.
“We want to warn that these acts of protest will not be silenced while the civil and human rights of our Mexican brothers continue to be violated and trampled on by a government that has colluded with organized crime and to those who blamed the crimes committed by the state on [cartels] — thereby evading their own responsibility in the state sponsored genocide that has been committed with total impunity,” #YoSoy123NY, the New York chapter of a Mexican social movement that opposes Mexico’s current government, said in a statement handed out at a protest in New York City on Sunday.
A video report on the upcoming protests in Mexico City via teleSUR:
Mexico: Major protests planned for Nov. 20 over Ayotzinapa
This past weekend, several demonstrations were held throughout Mexico to demand that the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa be returned alive. Plans for major demonstrations on November 20 are already underway and include 3 separate marches in Mexico City that will converge in the city’s central square and the possible seizure of the Mexico City International Airport.
From the Washington Post, the ripples spread:
Outrage in Mexico over missing students broadens into fury at corruption, inequality
On the day that pipe-wielding rioters set fire to a government accounting office and ransacked the state congress building, Felipe de la Cruz stepped to the microphone in the floodlit plaza of his missing son’s school.
The protests about his son and dozens of others abducted by police had been building for weeks. The next morning, caravans of buses would drive out of these wooded hills to spread their defiant message to far corners of Mexico, as protesters in different states blocked highways, seized town squares, closed airports, and burned cars and buildings.
“The parents are enraged by so much waiting and so few results,” De la Cruz, who has emerged as a spokesman for the victims’ families, told the crowd last Wednesday. As of Monday, he said, “the flame of insurgency has been lit.”
And from CathNews, a plea:
Mexican bishops plead for peace over student protest violence
“With sadness we recognise that the situation of the country has worsened” – since 2010, when the bishops published a pastoral letter on violence – “unleashing a true national crisis,” the bishops said on November 12 during their semi-annual planning sessions in suburban Mexico City. “Many people live subjected to fear, finding themselves helpless against the threats of criminal groups and, in some cases, the regrettable corruption of the authorities.”
The same day, at the end of his general audience at the Vatican, Pope Francis said he wanted to express to the Mexicans present in St Peter’s Square, “but also to those in your homeland, my spiritual closeness at this painful time.” While the students are legally missing, “we know they were killed,” the Pope said. Their disappearance and deaths “make visible the dramatic reality that exists behind the sale and trafficking of drugs.”
Ordinary Mexicans have taken to the streets, condemning the crimes committed against the students and the apparent collusion between criminals and the political class in parts of the country. The bishops lent their support to peaceful demonstrations, which often have been led by students, and called for a day of prayer on December 12, when millions of Mexicans celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The San Antonio Express-News covers context:
Mexico’s Iguala massacre: criminal gangs and criminal government
Gang and government lawlessness plague Mexico. On Sept. 26, a violent gang and a criminal government combined to massacre 43 students near the Guerrero state town of Iguala.
A perceived attitude of elite indifference by Guerrero state and federal government officials has fanned national outrage. Now, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto faces an expanding crisis of confidence in government institutions.
There are two reasons the crisis could damage Pena’s ability to govern.
Reason No. 1: Atrocities far less hideous and institutionally debilitating than the Iguala massacre have sparked mass revolt.
This column’s first sentence sketches reason No. 2: Mexican government corruption facilitates organized crime. Organized crime enriches a corrupt political class. Cartel gunmen and crooked cops on the streets, cartel comandantes and corrupt politicos through institutions ensnare the Mexican people.
From KNSD-7 in San Diego, solidarity:
Kidnappings, Killings of Students in Mexico Fuel SD Protests
The mass kidnappings and killings of college students in Mexico is fueling protests that have spilled over to this side of the border.
Mexican officials have confirmed the students’ remains were found. But the officials’ response is fueling more demonstrations this week, including here in San Diego.
Here at home, more than 200 students at University of California San Diego showed their support at a candlelight vigil.
“This is something that spans time and space, students being persecuted for their beliefs, for their politics,” said Mariko Kuga, a fourth-year UCSD student.
From the University of Washington student paper, the Daily:
UW students raise awareness for ongoing corruption in Mexico
Chanting filled the streets as a procession made its way around the corner of Brooklyn Avenue Northeast and Northeast Campus Parkway on Friday afternoon. With determined faces, students marched toward Red Square, holding signs and posters calling for justice in Mexico.
These students, most involved with the social justice organization Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlán (MEChA), were protesting against the corruption of the Mexican government and raising awareness about the recent massacre of 43 students near the small town of Ayotzinapa, Mexico.
“The whole point of this protest is to raise awareness,” said senior Jessica Ramirez of MEChA, who organized the protest. “This is an issue for Latinos and this is an issue for Mexicans, but mostly this is an issue for everybody that cares about social justice and human rights justice.”
KTVX-4 in Salt Lake City covers solidarity in Utah:
Utahns rally for missing students in Mexico
A rally was held at the Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City over the weekend. The rally was held to draw attention to 43 missing students in Mexico.
Those at the rally say they believe the Mexican government is somehow benefiting financially from the missing students. They also claim the students were taken to police and then handed over to gangs as a warning to stop protests from the Mexican people.
More solidarity, via the Harvard Gazette:
Murders in Mexico
- Harvard, Boston experts step in to help
Mexican federal officials now say the 43 students who disappeared were killed by a local drug gang, incinerated in a 14-hour bonfire, and dumped in a local river. (Forensic DNA tests are underway.)
“The brutality of this was huge,” and has to be highlighted to the world, said Miguel Angel Guevara, an M.P.P. candidate at the Harvard Kennedy School. He grew up in Cuernavaca, just a few hours from the scene of the killings. “It reminds me of what the Nazis were doing,” he said.
But unlike the Holocaust’s silent witnesses of seven decades ago, Guevara and other academics are making noise, discussing what may be a six-month blitz of Boston-area events and media outreach. “We felt the story had been underreported,” said Guevara of the missing 43 students — most barely younger than he is. (Guevara, an electrical engineer by training, is 26.)
The project has a pair of YouTube videos up already, on a channel called Boston for Ayotzinapa. One is called “The World Is Watching” and features 136 area students representing 43 countries, one country for each missing student. An Instagram has also appeared, a picture of concerned students demonstrating in front of the gold-domed State House in Boston.
And the video, via Boston for Ayotzinapa:
THE WORLD IS WATCHING: students from 43 countries in solidarity with Ayotzinapa
136 students of 43 countries and 5 universities (Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Berklee College of Music and Tufts) stand in solidarity with the 43 disappeared students in Mexico. Please share this video to raise awareness about the situation and help us pressure the Mexican government.
Countries in solidarity: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, South Sudan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Music: Diego Torres and Fernando Faneyte
Edition: Lucia Vergara
From the Nation, a landscape of death:
This Mass Grave Isn’t the Mass Grave You Have Been Looking For
They have found many mass graves. Just not the mass grave they have been looking for. The forty-three student activists were disappeared on September 26, after being attacked by police in the town of Iguala, in the Mexican state of Guerrero. A week later, I set up an alert for “fosa clandestina”—Spanish for clandestine grave—on Google News. Here’s what has come back:
- On October 4, the state prosecutor of Guerrero announced that twenty-eight bodies were found in five clandestine mass graves. None of them were the missing forty-three.
- On October 9, three more graves. None of them contained the missing forty-three. The use of the passive tense on the part of government officials and in news reports is endemic. Graves were discovered. Massacres were committed. But in this case, a grassroots community organization, the Unión de Pueblos y Organizaciones del Estado de Guerrero, searched for and found the burial sites.
- By October 16, the number of known clandestine graves in the state of Guerrero had risen to nineteen. Still none of them held the forty-three.
- On October 24, the Unión de Pueblos announced that it had found six more clandestine graves in a neighborhood called Monte Hored. Five were filled with human remains: “hair…blood stained clothing,” including “high school uniforms.”
- The sixth was empty. It was “new and seemed ready for use,” said a spokesperson for the Unión.
From SciDev.Net, scientific solidarity:
Q&A: Finding the ‘disappeared’ in Argentina and Mexico
The story of 43 students that were kidnapped in Iguala, Mexico — all of whom are now presumed dead — has gripped the country for weeks. But it is just one of many stories of grieving families, outrage and mass graves filled with dozens of bodies, many badly burned. Mexico’s wave of violence continues, making headlines worldwide.
Identifying the victims — to help the police and bring closure to the parents — would be a near-impossible task were it not for forensic scientists. One group that is providing invaluable help is based some 7,000 kilometres away: the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF).
Set up to investigate the crimes of Argentina’s military dictatorship of the 1970s, the team has been identifying skeletal remains of “disappeared people”, often found in unmarked graves. Since then the group has travelled to many of the world’s conflict zones, helping to identify victims of massacres in more than 50 countries, from El Salvador, Guatemala and Colombia to former Yugoslavia, the Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
From ODN, more Argentine solidarity:
Argentines demonstrate ‘solidarity’ with Mexico over missing students
Demonstrators in Argentina took to the Mexican Embassy on Monday in a show of “solidarity” with the people of Mexico over missing students,. Report by Claire Lomas.
And from the Aurora Sentinel, a reminder of those most concerned:
Mexico couple’s desperate search for missing son
“How is it possible that in 15 hours they burned so many boys, put them in a bag and threw them into the river?” Telumbre says.
Maria Telumbre knows fire. She spends her days making tortillas over hot coals, and experience tells her a small goat takes at least four hours to cook. So she doesn’t believe the government’s explanation that gang thugs incinerated her son and 42 other missing college students in a giant funeral pyre in less than a day, leaving almost nothing to identify them.
The discovery of charred teeth and bone fragments offers Telumbre no more proof of her son’s death than did the many graves unearthed in Guerrero state since the students disappeared Sept. 26. She simply does not accept that the ashes belong to her 19-year-old son and his classmates.
“How is it possible that in 15 hours they burned so many boys, put them in a bag and threw them into the river?” Telumbre says. “This is impossible. As parents, we don’t believe it’s them.”
For Telumbre, her husband, Clemente Rodriguez, and other parents, the official account is merely another lie from an administration that wants to put this mess behind it. Their demands for the truth are fuelling national outrage at the government’s inability to confront the brutality of drug cartels, corruption and impunity.
From Mexico Voices, building on tragedy:
Mexico’s Iguala Crisis: Ayotzinapa Students, Parents and Zapatistas Discuss Establishing National Movement to Locate All Disappeared
Commanders of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) and members of the Good Government Council (JBG) agreed with Ayotzinapa Normal School [teachers college] students and parents traveling with the Daniel Solís Gallardo Brigade [part of National Information Caravan] to develop together a national movement for demanding the safe return of Mexico’s disappeared and those extra-judicially executed by the State.
On Saturday morning at the Caracol of Oventic in the Municipality of San Andrés Larráinzar, a four-hour meeting took place with the Zapatistas. Open to all Zapatista supporters, the meeting was attended by Subcomandante Moisés and Comandante Tacho.
That night a press conference was held at the Fray Bartolomé de las Casas Human Rights Center during which details of the meeting were unveiled about what they will do in the coming days. Omar García, a student member of the Caravan, said:
“They embraced our indignation and rage. They gave us the greatest attention and expressed their full readiness to support us.”
And to close, via Cube Breaker, a new mural in Ciudad Juarez by the artist Ever to commemorate the missing students: