Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, September 26, 2017. – Three years after the forced disappearance of our children, the Fathers and Mothers of the normalistas [teaching college students] remain standing, present in the heart of the homeland to affirm our struggle alongside the families impacted by the earthquake, who in the midst of disaster are also seeking their loved ones. Pain and indignation have united us and in this embrace of solidarity we face a government that does not pay attention to our demands. Since that terrible night of September 26, we have not relented against a government that keeps untouched a pact of impunity with the state perpetrators who colluded with organized crime. Our nights of insomnia and days of uncertainty have marked a new path in our lives; we are now a movement dedicated to fighting the battle to dismantle the historical truth devised by the PGR [Federal Attorney General’s Office] in order to find the whereabouts of our children.
The insensitive, careless and corrupt authorities have insisted on maintaining a lie as the conclusion of their investigation. Although their historical truth has been scientifically destroyed and there exist no legal bases to sustain it, at every opportunity that presents itself they insist on hitting us with it in order to obstruct the advance of the lines of investigation proposed by the GIEI [Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts, sent by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights]. This is what Roberto Campa Cifrian, the Interior Ministry’s Undersecretary for Human Rights, did during the Inter-American Commission’s public hearing on March 18, and what Tomás Zerón de Lucio, Technical Secretary of the National Security Council, did at the beginning of this month. These petty attitudes and the authorities’ contempt for justice only seek to cause more blood to flow from the wound inflicted by the 43 disappearances.
Three years into the investigation of the disappearance of our children, we have fought inch by inch with the government to hold back the onslaught they unleashed with their disingenuous account of the incineration of the 43 students at the Cocula landfill. Our struggle has been defined by four very difficult stages that have not satisfied our demands for truth and justice:
- The first, which covers the final months of 2014: a slow investigation with delayed federal involvement that ended with what they coined the “historical truth” – a thesis based on five testimonies from people who had been tortured and mistreated and that rigorous scientific reports show as impossible – a fire capable of burning 43 bodies in an open space such as the Cocula landfill. This official conclusion was intended to close the Ayotzinapa case.
- The second stage covers 2015: the struggle of the fathers and mothers of the 43 to revert the historical truth, which was convincingly achieved in September with the first report from the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) and reinforced with the subsequent report from the Argentinian Forensic Anthropology Team.
- The third stage comprises 2016: marked by the intense work of the GIEI to look into new lines of investigation and the smear campaign deployed by the government to thwart the experts’ work; a dirty campaign that extended to the parents of the 43, their legal representatives, and that led the GIEI to leave the country.
- The fourth stage comprises 2017: characterized by the parents’ struggle to get the Mexican state to resume, deepen, and elucidate the four lines of investigation, specifically: the Mexican army, Huitzuco, the cell phone, and the trafficking of drugs from Iguala to Chicago as a motive for the crime.
The four lines of investigation are the last bastion of hope to learn the location of our children, but the government has refused to move forward. In the last meetings we had, the results they presented were negligible. There was nothing concrete and instead they continue obstructing the path to justice, as to date they have not made arrests of the Huitzuco or federal police. They also resist calling the army to account.
The creation of the Special Follow-up Mechanism has been a great impetus for the lines of investigation proposed by the GIEI, however, the Attorney General refuses to address the irregularities in the investigation that were detected by the GIEI. Today the government wants to put us against the wall, trampling on our legitimate rights to truth and justice, to keep the lines of investigation stalled.
Compañeras and compañeros, three years after the Iguala crimes we suffer from an indescribable pain caused by the uncertainty of not knowing the whereabouts of our 43 treasures and the pain and rage caused by the insensitivity of a corrupt government that denies us the right to truth and justice.
However, we state that we will not bow in the face of government repression, threats and indifference. We will continue fighting until we find the 43 and thousands more alive. Every 26th, they will hear our voices in the streets and public squares of our country, demanding the return, alive, of our children and of all of this country’s disappeared.
For now, the Fathers and Mothers have decided to postpone our national march and protests that would have occurred in Mexico City and to dedicate our word and our solidarity to the victims of the September 19th earthquake. To all of them we say with all our heart that we join in their pain. Their pain is ours, we understand it because we have walked this route, negotiating innumerable obstacles but above all facing a government that has colluded with the perpetrators and has insisted on upholding its historical truth as the most effective and certain way to ensure its pact of impunity with those responsible does not break apart.
We’ve been looking for our children for three years, three years of shedding tears due to not knowing where they are. But they are tears that have sown hope, that have strengthened our spirit and have opened the path to connect our struggles and create a social conscience that will not allow our country to continue disappearing people.
The mothers and fathers of the 43 and the Ayotzinapa school embrace you in these moments marked by tragedy. We feel very deeply your cry and we also join in the quest to remove the debris of injustice and find the people we love. We know that the government will try to make political gains out of your pain. Remember that only the people help the people. It is the people who have sustained our struggle and who in difficult moments have helped lift us up.
We demand that the government exhaustively carry out search efforts and allow the free organization of a civil society that is ready to help. And that sufficient funds are allocated for the rebuilding of damages caused by the earthquake.
Because they were taken alive, we want them alive!
Committee of the Fathers and Mothers of the 43
For the liberation of the youth and the exploited class, we will win!
Ricardo Flores Magón Student Committee of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teaching College, Guerrero