Two years ago the then virtually unknown Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College located in the then also anonymous township of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, came into prominence due to the fact that 43 of its students went missing.
The first news on their disappearance was made known in bits and pieces during the days following Sept. 26 and 27, 2014. And though the full puzzle has been investigated but never been solved, it clearly showed that municipal, state and federal authorities colluded with an opium trafficking criminal organization not just in their disappearance, but their murder.
The parents of the 43 students would not be silenced, so President Enrique Peña Nieto told them, in exasperation due to their grueling demand, that they were arrested alive by the municipal police departments of Cocula, Iguala and Huitzuco. But their remains — except for one — were never returned to their families.
It’s now been two years of allegedly “exhaustive investigations” by the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) with more unsatisfactory results than answers.
True, PGR has arrested 130 different individuals who were involved in the crime carried out on the night of Sept. 26 and the wee hours of Sept. 27, but thus far they all remains as “suspects” and no one has been taken to court on the issue.
Among them are the two alleged main perpetrators: then Iguala mayor José Luis Abarca and his wife María de los Ángeles Pineda, who may be locked up. But apparently, PGR has not found enough solid evidence to charge them on the missing students, even though Abarca is now officially in prison for murdering a political enemy and his wife María de los Ángeles is guilty of criminal association, as her brothers were found out to be members of criminal opium trafficking gang Guerreros Unidos. In short, she is guilty by association which may or may not be valid in a Mexican court of law, depending on the judge.
Among notorious criminals in custody is the alleged chief of the Guerreros Unidos (United Warriors) gang Sidronio Casarrubias and several of his hit men who have admitted to participating in the execution and burning of the remains of the students.
But given the Mexican legal system, says Mario Patrón, director of the Human Right Center (Prodh), possible legal malpractice may open up the way for several of the culprits to go free on allegations that their human rights were violated by police either through torture or arbitrary arrests.
Surely in the midst of this now public opinion are the two attorneys general who have been in charge of investigating the crime.
The first one was Jesús Murillo Karam who was finally booted out of the post by President Peña for coming up with the term “historical truth” on the garbage dump in the Cocula municipality where the bodies of the students were allegedly burnt.
Then there’s current attorney general Arely Gómez who may soon follow down the same path as Murillo Karam given the fact that as time goes by, the political pressure on the issue increases and her answers are less believable.
Behind the two attorneys general is the scandalous removal of the head of the Criminal Investigations Agency Tomás Zerón de Lucio, whom President Peña recently kicked upstairs to make his part of his personal advisory committee on criminal activities. The general consensus is that Zerón de Lucio maligned the whole investigation and that the president is covering up his mischief by promoting him, an accusation the president discarded as “unfounded” claiming Zerón had done a great job.
Newspaper editorials abound criticizing the government and most agree that the case of the Ayotzinapa missing 43 has been a game of cover-ups by the Peña Nieto administration “causing a pronounced deterioration of the national and international image of the government’s institutions and fueling the sustained wrath of great population sectors,” according to La Jornada, Sept. 26.
There is no question that the PGR, now under Arely Gomez’s command, will continue to stretch the Ayotzinapa rubber band as far as she can, as apparently behind it all stands the suspicion of how deep higher federal authorities are involved in the heroin trafficking business, which is causing social devastation in the United States.
That’s one answer that could bring many fat cats tumbling down!