Saturday, October 18, 2014

State Crime in Iguala, Guerrero (Mexico)

By Rolando Garrido Romo

In these days the people of Mexico are facing a double assault by the political and economic elite of the country, subservient to Washington, which mainly aims to strengthen control over financial and natural resources of the country through the implementation of reforms imposed by the government of president Peña Nieto; and at the same time criminalizing social protest, suppressing all dissent sample or rejection by popular organizations, students, educators, farmers and workers to such predatory and exclusionary model.

In this context a state crime was committed against rural students in the state of Guerrero, where the complicity between municipal and state authorities to organized crime, and the indifference and failure of federal authorities led to another tragedy against country's poorest population.

On the night of 26 last September and the morning of the 27th, a group of about 200 students from the Rural School Raúl Isidro Burgos of Ayotzinapa (municipality of Tixtla), Guerrero (southwestern Mexico) were attacked with firearms by municipal police of the city of Iguala and a group of men in civilian clothes.

The students of Ayotzinapa had taken some passenger buses with which they moved to the neighboring town of Iguala, in order to raise money to go to Mexico City, and attend the march of October 2nd which is held every year in commemorating the Slaughter of Tlatelolco in 1968 (during which the government of Gustavo Díaz Ordaz ordered the murder of dozens of students who performed a rally in the Plaza of the Three Cultures, precisely protesting against government repression and lack of democracy in the country).

The march on October 2, 2014 was of additional importance, since in recent weeks had developed a student movement at the National Polytechnic Institute (an institution created in 1936 by President Lazaro Cardenas, who in 1938 expropriated the oil industry at large transnational corporations) to reject a series of reforms involving the degradation of their academic level and the conversion of the Institute into a provider of technical second level personnel for transnational corporations.

Although the government had an initial response to the demands of students (repeal the reforms and dismiss the director of the Institute), the student`s assemblies were in favor of greater involvement of students and teachers in the direction of the school and in the determination of plans and programs of study, so that the student`s protest continues in this academic institution.

The shooting attack of Iguala municipal police and gunmen who accompanied her, caused the killing of 6 people, 4 of them students, a woman who was in a taxi and then a young football player (team Hornets of the Third Division of professional football) who was on a bus with peers (after participating in a game), which was also shot by the police, who believed that the players were also students of Ayotzinapa.

Some of the students then decided to report the assault they suffered, before the media, but the place where they tried to take out the press conference that same night, was also shot by the armed group in civilian clothes, so students had to flee.

Later it was learned that 43 students were missing, and no authority was aware of his whereabouts.

That night, the body of a young man (Julio César Mondragón Fuentes) who was tortured, put out his eyes and found skinned face, was found in the street. Later was known that he was one of the students missing that tragic night.

In the days following, national outrage at the attack on defenseless young, forced the state government to deposit with the Public Prosecutor to 22 police officers involved in the attack, and at the same time, it was the Mayor of Iguala, José Luis Abarca Velasquez who requested his resignation and disappeared along with his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa, who the day of the incident, paid a report as president of the institution responsible for childcare and family (Integral Development of the Family, DIF) in Iguala.

The subsequent protests of Ayotzinapa’s students, as the demands of the return of the missing students by their parents, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the OAS and even the State Department of the United States (usually let these facts unaccounted when they are committed by allied regimes, such as the one that currently governs Mexico) forced the government of Peña Nieto to attract the investigation at federal level.

Once the Attorney General's Office began investigating, arrested 10 of the gunmen who had participated in the attack and it was they who announced that they were part of a drug cartel known as “Guerreros Unidos”, one of whose leaders known as "Chucky", had given the order to kill the students. It was they also who gave the location of 9 unmarked graves on the outskirts of Iguala, where the authorities found 43 bodies so far, those who have already practiced forensic examinations and DNA tests, of which 28 bodies according to the Attorney General’s Office, do not correspond to DNA from relatives of the missing students. Still need to know the identity of the other 15 bodies found and if those that are in new mass graves found on 14 and 15 October, are of the missing students.

Later (October 13) 14 municipal police officers of Cocula (adjacent to Iguala), who apparently also participated in the attack and in the delivery of the 43 disappeared students to the cartel “Guerreros Unidos”, were arrested, along with the mayor and the director of public security of the municipality of Cocula.

At this point we must begin to untangle the web of mafia relations between much of the Mexican political class (without distinction of parties) with drug trafficking organizations, businessmen who launder money (along with banks) and different levels of municipal, state and federal government officials who protect criminal enterprises through the police (and often, middle and high level ranking officials of the armed forces are also involved), in exchange for funding for their campaigns and for huge profits that are transferred to them by their criminal associates.

The governor of the state of Guerrero, Angel Aguirre Rivero, is occupying the governorship of the state for the second time, as it did the first time replacing a despotic and dictatorial governor, Ruben Figueroa, who had to take leave from his post in 1995, after he ordered the killing of peasants of the Peasant Organization of the Southern Sierra in Aguas Blancas, Guerrero, who were to apply attention to their demands to the state government.

Aguirre then was part of the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), and replaced his "compadre" Figueroa, who never had to be accountable to justice for the slaughter of Aguas Blancas. Aguirre ruled from 1996 until 1999.

Subsequently, Aguirre wanted to be governor again in 2010, but this time his party, the PRI, decided to run Aguirre's cousin, Manuel Añorve, who was the mayor of Acapulco.

Aguirre expressed his disagreement and left the PRI, so he sought the nomination for governor by the leftist PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution), who does not care about his PRI past and prompted the governor, who won the election in 2010.

Since he rose to the governorship in April 2011, Aguirre has turned the state of Guerrero to a private business, as for example, he has appointed to government positions 38 immediate family members; so do other officials, such as Secretary of Finance and Administration, Jorge Salgado Leyva, who has 20 relatives in various state offices.

Aguirre has entrusted to his nephew, Ernesto Aguirre being the liaison with groups of political and economic power, to apply for "commissions" and percentage required to approve projects, investment, government procurement, etc. The governor's brother, named Carlos Mateo Aguirre, is in charge of controlling everything related to public works by the state.

Also, the governor is pushing his son Angel Aguirre Jr. to be the candidate for mayor of Acapulco.

"Dangerous ", i.e. with drug gangs, relationships correspond to the cousin of the governor, Victor Hugo Aguirre Garzón, who is in charge of drug trafficking in Acapulco.

Aguirre, along with his Health Secretary, Lazaro Mazon (who is identified with the leftist newly created political party, National Regeneration Movement), and the current so-called New Left, which dominates the Party of the Democratic Revolution, were the main political patronage for José Luis Abarca to became mayor of Iguala.

Abarca is married to Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa, who is the sister of Alberto Pineda Villa (aka "El Borrado"), and Marco Antonio Pineda Villa, who were operators of the drug cartel of the Beltran Leyva brothers ("coincidentally" few days after the murders of Ayotzinapa, was arrested in San Miguel Allende, Hector Beltran Leyva, leader of the cartel of the same name, along with a well-known businessman who was responsible for washing drug money, Germán Goyeneche, and who had close ties with the political class of the state of Querétaro) and then formed the cartel “Guerreros Unidos” (on 10 October, another brother of Maria de los Angeles, named Salomon, was arrested in Cuernavaca for drug crimes).

The same mother of Maria de los Angeles, Maria Leonor Villa Ortuño, is considered part of the criminal organization, and just provide a video in which she accuses the governor Aguirre of having received funding for his campaign in 2010, by the cartel of the Beltran Leyva and that is the governor who protects “Guerreros Unidos” (this cartel has a bloody dispute with another drug trafficking organization in Guerrero known as “Los Rojos”).

Mayor Abarca was driving his wife Maria de los Angeles to achieve Iguala municipal presidency next year, and the presentation of her report as president of the municipal DIF in the night of September 26, was to be used as his primary campaign launch, so knowing the mobilization of the students of Ayotzinapa, the Mayor and his wife ordered the police and thugs to stop the students at all cost, to avoid "tarnishing" the act of launching of the candidacy of Maria de los Angeles.

Hence the direct orders for the slaughter came from the municipal authorities, but state and federal authorities were complicit, as it is now known that a number of students were retained by Mexican Army soldiers, without providing them with any help; and the state police, which is also based in Iguala, did not intervene to stop the attack, even though all corporations learned about these facts in minutes.

Additionally, both the state government and the federal, were aware that the Mayor Abarca had directly participated in the kidnapping and murder of three leaders of the Popular Unity organization, who had demanded support for that peasant organization and had directly accused the mayor of taking possession of the resources destined to them. These three leaders were massacred and the mayor apparently shot to the head of one of them (Arturo Hernández Cardona), with a shotgun. This was known since the middle of 2013, but neither the state government nor the federal government initiated a thorough investigation into these events.

It should also be noted that Aguirre, since he was with the ruling PRI, was very close to the current president Peña Nieto, and once it became governor for the second time, supported by the leftist PRD, boasted his good relationship with Peña Nieto who was then governor of the State of Mexico and was constantly invited to Aguirre’s family parties and government festivities.

Now Peña has tried to distance himself from the governor and called him to take responsibility, while it pressed for his resignation, which has triggered a flood of words between state and federal government, in order to dilute their responsibilities in these facts.

In this context, it is important to note that the rural students of Ayotzinapa are part of a segment of the population that has been traditionally excluded, demonized and punished by the State, especially since the coming to power of neoliberal governments (1982), who have attempted to disappear the Rural Normal Schools (created in the 20’s), where young farmers are trained not only as teachers for rural areas, but also as social organizers and promoters and as trainers and assistants in agricultural production.

Permanently, the state and the federal governments, have decreased budget allocations for these schools and have attempted to transform curricula or close them up; but students, teachers and parents have mobilized again and again to stop it.

It is worth to mention that the famous Mexican guerrilla fighter Lucio Cabañas, originally from Atoyac de Alvarez, Guerrero, studied precisely in the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, where he graduated as a rural teacher, subsequently adhering to Guerrero Civic Association (Asociación Cívica Guerrerense), who ran another graduate of Ayotzinapa, Genaro Vázquez.

Vazquez created in 1962-63 the National Revolutionary Civic Association (Asociación Cívica Nacional Revolucionaria), after a brutal repression suffered by members of this organization, precisely in the city of Iguala, which convinced Vàzquez to go underground to fight the repressive Mexican authorities.

The same will happened next with Lucio Cabanas, who would experience firsthand another brutal repression in 1967 by state and federal authorities in Atoyac, leading him to create the Party of the Poor and the Peasants' Justice Brigade to fight in the underground, against the Mexican government.

Also, after the Aguas Blancas massacre, in 1996, the Popular Revolutionary Army appeared (Ejército Popular Revolucionario, EPR), in response to the repression suffered by the peasants by Guerrero state authorities.

Now, following the disappearance of students of Ayotzinapa, the Revolutionary Army of the Insurgent People (ERPI), an EPR detachment, has stated that it has created a Justice Brigade to punish cartel “Guerreros Unidos”, for the murder of the rural students.

For its part, the EZLN (the Zapatistas in Chiapas) mobilized thousands of grassroots supporters in a silent march in support of the missing students.

Several schools and colleges of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, the Metropolitan Autonomous University and the National Pedagogical University, have initiated a strike in support of students and demand of the appearance of the 43 missing students.

There is a proposal in Congress for the disappearance of powers in the state of Guerrero, given that Governor Aguirre refuses to leave office, but the measure will not fix the situation of this state, which is handled by political groups associated with drug cartels and business groups who get rich juicy concessions, so the arrival of an acting governor to the state will only serve to distract public opinion and eventually make the people forget about the responsibility, political and criminal of the governor and the omissions (perhaps intentional) of the federal government, on these facts; not forgetting that the Mayor of Iguala, his wife and the director of Public Safety of that city, Felipe Flores Velasquez, are still fugitives.