This video is called The Missing 43: Mexico’s Disappeared Students (Part 1).
By Eric London:
Mexican military threatens intervention against mass protests
22 November 2014
The Mexican state is gripped by a deepening political crisis amidst mass protests over the disappearance and likely massacre of 43 student teachers. The military has threatened to intervene as popular anger mounts against the government and the entire political apparatus.
On Thursday, hundreds of thousands of workers and youth converged on Mexico City’s Zocalo Square. Many of the parents of the normalistas from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School took part in the rally, which was held just under two months after the disappearance of their children in late September. Participants denounced the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which is complicit in the disappearance of the students and is widely hated for its right-wing, pro-business policies.
The military has responded with ominous warnings about the danger of social “instability.” At a military graduation ceremony Thursday, General Salvador Cienfuegos, Peña Nieto’s defense secretary, alluded to the demonstrations by citing “insecurity” as one of “the great challenges we confront.”
The Army, Cienfuegos declared, “acts with strength and determination when it becomes necessary.” He added, “In times of disunity is when the country has suffered its major fractures.” This is the standard language of a military clique prepared to intervene with force in political life, and the Mexican ruling class has a long history of ordering military attacks on demonstrations.
At the same ceremony, Peña Nieto proclaimed, “Under no circumstances can the loyalty and noble service that the armed forces have lent to the nation be put in doubt.”
Thursday’s demonstrations took place in 30 cities across the country and were the largest since the normalistas disappeared after calling for improvements to rural education. José Luis Abarca, the mayor of Iguala, located in the state of Guerrero, responded to their initial protests by ordering local police to violently attack the student teachers, killing six and abducting 43.
The 43 were subsequently turned over to the notorious and state-connected drug gang, the Guerreros Unidos. Reports have emerged that the normalistas were tortured and then burned alive by members of the cartel.
Demonstrators called for the resignation of Peña Nieto, whose effigy was burned as thousands of onlookers cheered. The main speakers were the parents of the disappeared normalistas, who had traveled over 80 miles from Guerrero to make a national appeal.
“Today, the 20th of November, we celebrate the 104th anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution,” said Felipe de la Cruz, a father of one of the disappeared. “If we are halted here, it is because the governing class has mutilated our Constitution for their benefit and to justify their acts.”
The government had earlier announced the cancellation of its own Revolution Day parade on account of the expected demonstrations—an act that is itself a significant indication of growing political crisis.
As the Mexican ruling class prepares to suppress social opposition domestically, it can count on the full support of its counterparts in the United States.
In a February 2014 press conference with President Peña Nieto held in Toluca, Mexico, US President Barack Obama touted “our shared commitment to democratic values and human rights” and praised the “enormous sacrifices” made by the Mexican security forces in the fight against drug cartels.
While the US has remained largely silent about the normalistas, US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki addressed the Ayotzinapa massacre earlier this month, urging “all parties to remain calm throughout the process,” as though peaceful demonstrators and those responsible for the murder of the normalistas stood on equal ground. Noting that the US government is “concerned about the tensions on the ground,” Psaki added the US was “engaged, also, closely with officials there.” This, no doubt, includes top officials in the Mexican military.
Meanwhile, the United States military and intelligence agencies continue to deepen their already close ties with their Mexican counterparts, under the cover of the “war on drugs.” A report yesterday in the Wall Street Journal noted that officials from the Department of Justice were donning the uniforms of the Mexican Marines and taking part in armed raids in Mexican territory. The US has supplied the Mexican state with some $2 billion in arms aid under the pretext of fighting crime.
Representatives of international finance capital have also responded with concern over the demonstrations. Alfredo Coutiño, the Latin American director of the investment-rating firm Moody’s, said on Friday that, “the political and social events of the last months have begun to generate questions with respect to the promising economic perspectives which were generated with the beginning of the new administration. The markets, above all the international markets, are beginning to be disillusioned…”
The “promising economic perspectives” cited by Moody’s refers above all to the historic privatization of the Mexican oil industry, a move that international finance capital—and the American ruling class in particular—views as a prime money-making opportunity.
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Mexico’s disappeared students
[22 October 2014]
The Mexican army and the presidency stand accused of complicity in horrific killings, reports Emile Schepers: here.
Mexican President Peña Nieto announces police-state plan as more bodies are discovered: here.
Protesters marked the second anniversary of President Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration on Monday by marching in cities across Mexico to demand justice for 43 students who disappeared at the hands of police: here.
Tens of thousands of workers and youth marched in 60 Mexican cities on December 1 to protest the disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa student teachers in the city of Iguala, in the southern State of Guerrero. The marchers are demanding that the 43 be returned alive and the resignation of Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto. The protest took place alongside student strikes in dozens of universities. December 1 also marked the second anniversary of Peña Nieto’s presidency: here.
MEXICAN AUTHORITIES: 43 MISSING STUDENTS INCINERATED AT GARBAGE DUMP “Mexican authorities on Sunday said that mounting evidence and initial DNA tests confirmed that 43 trainee teachers who were abducted by corrupt police 10 weeks ago were incinerated at a garbage dump by drug gang members. Attorney General Jesus Murillo told reporters that one of the students had been identified by experts in Austria from a bone fragment in a bag of ash and bits of burned tire found in a river where drug gang members said they tossed the students remains.” [Reuters]
Mexican student activist Varinia Emiliana, 19, has been taking part in demonstrations in Mexico’s Federal District (DF), ever since news of the disappearance of 43 student teachers in Iguala, Guerrero, sparked national protests. She is one of many thousands who, tired of widespread poverty, violence and corruption plaguing the country, are demanding that the federal government find the disappeared students and that President Enrique Pena Nieto resign: here.
Mexico’s government announced the start of bidding for oil exploration rights in 14 areas of the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday. Opening the bidding to domestic and international companies marked the end of a seven-decade state oil monopoly. Mexico nationalised its oil industry in 1938. Prior to this year’s right-wing policy changes, state company Petroleos Mexicanos was the only body allowed to carry out oil exploration and production: here.
Mexican police have unearthed ten decapitated bodies and eleven heads in unmarked graves Tuesday near the city of Chilapa de Alvarez, 31 miles east of Guerrero state’s capital, Chilpancingo. The bodies were found spread throughout six clandestine graves with their hands tied and showing signs of torture. The heads of the victims were discovered in another grave inside four plastic bags: here.
It is just over four months since police in the town of Iguala in the impoverished southern state of Guerrero opened fire on a group of rural teaching students, killing 6 and wounding 17. Another 43 disappeared after falling into the hands of the authorities. Now, the Mexican government of President Enrique Peña Nieto has moved to declare the crime solved and the case closed for the most transparent political motives: here.
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Mexican photojournalist Rubén Espinosa was just found tortured and murdered, along with human rights activist Nadia Vera and three other women.
Freedom of expression is under attack in one of Latin America’s oldest democracies, and Rubén is the 14th journalist killed in the southern state of Veracruz where governor Javier Duarte has made open threats against reporters. Almost none of these crimes have been solved.
But this case has sent thousands into the streets and set off an explosion in the national and global media. Now Gael García Bernal, Salman Rushdie, Christiane Amanpour and hundreds of journalists, writers and artists have signed an open letter demanding justice for journalists in Mexico murdered for doing their jobs.
The letter is already making waves with the government, but if we add over a million more names, and get it published on the front page of Mexican media, we can drive it home and show that people from every country in the world stand with the freedom of expression fight in Mexico. Add your voice now:
Mexico now ranks as one of the deadliest countries in the world to be a journalist, on par with war-torn nations like Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia. And since President Peña Nieto assumed power, attacks on the media have risen by 80 percent.
For more than a decade Mexico has been wracked by incredible violence as cartels have waged war on each other for control of the lucrative drug trade. A slew of journalists have been killed for reporting on criminal gangs — but experts say many murders can be traced to reporting on political corruption. I know firsthand, death threats in the wake of my own political reporting in Mexico have forced me to flee the country more than once, I have been tortured and incarcerated by corrupted politicians.
In the southern State of Veracruz where Rubén worked for years, 13 other journalists have been killed in the last few years, all under the administration of a thuggish governor, Javier Duarte. He has consistently threatened reporters, and was apparently so upset by an unflattering photo Rubén Espinosa shot of him that he had the offending magazine removed from news stands all over the State capital.
In June, Rubén Espinosa told fellow reporters that recently he was being followed and menaced by men in government security outfits. He also said that someone in the State Government threatened him directly, saying, “stop taking pictures if you don’t want to end up like Regina,” referring to Regina Martinez — a journalist murdered in 2012.
Since their murders, a chilling video has surfaced, filmed by another of the victims. Looking straight into the camera, activist Nadia Vera says, if I am harmed, investigators should look first and foremost at governor Duarte as the man responsible.
But these tragic deaths could be a turning point in this violence as thousands have gathered to mourn and demand justice in Mexico City. If we stand with them now, and publish this powerful letter, we will show the government they are under the global spotlight and the whole world wants justice and urgent action to end these murders. Join the call — journalists in Mexico, and everywhere, should be able to do their jobs without paying for it with their lives:
When freedom of expression is under attack, The Avaaz community has reacted time and again. Now it’s time for us to raise our voices to support brave Mexican reporters and rights defenders. Let’s make sure they know they’re not alone. That’s the true meaning of global solidarity. We know it can empower those on the front lines, and powerfully turn situations around.
They will not silence us,
Lydia Cacho, Mexican journalist and human rights defender, with the Avaaz team.
PS – If you’re a journalist or writer, click this special link to join the campaign.
President Peña Nieto: Investigate the Murders of Journalists in Mexico and Establish Mechanisms to Protect their Lives (PEN)
‘They want to erase journalists in Mexico’ (The Observer)
Writers slam ‘censorship by bullet’ in Mexico (FT)
‘Journalists are being slaughtered’ – Mexico’s problem with press freedom (The Guardian)
A Gruesome Murder in Mexico’s Last Safe City (The Daily Beast)
Mexico City prosecutor confirms killing of news photographer (Reuters)
Mexican photojournalist Ruben Espinosa found dead (BBC)
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