We start today with a celebratory announcement: The Overseas Press Club in New York has announced that three Associated Press journalists have won its award for the best reporting on Latin America in the year 2015. Eduardo Castillo, Christopher Sherman and Dario Lopez-Mills will receive the Robert Spiers Benjamin Award for their series exploring Mexico’s “Other Disappeared.” Sherman, I’m proud to say, has expanded on his reporting on the hundreds of disappearances of ordinary citizens in the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero in conversation on Here & There.
Our subject today, is the latest report examining the performance of the Government of Mexico, President Enrique Pena Nieto, and various law enforcement, and national security organizations investigating the disappearance in September 2014, of 43 students from a teachers’ college in town of Ayotzinapa in the very poor State of Guerrero in southwestern Mexico.
The judgments of the international team of prosecutors and investigators (The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts) brought into Mexico with government permission by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, was harsh. The experts charge the Mexican government and its leaders with staging a muddled, inept investigation, that in justifying itself and hiding its inadequacies, probably helped cover up important aspects of the crime, including the identities of those who were responsible for an act of apparently improvised mass murder.
The government version, presented to the public by such august figures as President Pena, his Attorney General and various military officers and law enforcement officials is, if not simple, at least a kind of closed circle. The students, taking part in annual bit if extra-legal political horseplay, hi-jacked buses meant to go to a national student demonstration in Mexico City commemorating a Government attack that killed many student protestors during the 1968 Olympic Games. In doing so, they allegedly blundered into a political rally in support of the mayor Guerrero’s state capitol Iguala and his politically-ambitious wife.
Again, according to the official story, police acting on the Iguala power-couple’s orders, captured the students and handed them over the members of the dominant local drug cartel Guerreros Unidos, who killed them and burned their bodies.
Listen to the above mentioned show with Christopher Sherman.