By Ines Amarelo
Mexico City, Jun 16 (EFE).- Parents of the 43 Ayotzinapa teacher’s college students abducted nearly eight years ago in the southern state of Guerrero were joined here Thursday by supporters for a protest over the failure of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to deliver on his promise to solve the case.
“We want to know why they committed this massacre against our sons. We want them to tell us where our sons are,” said Maria de Jesus Tlatempa, mother of Jose Eduardo Bartolo, one of the students who disappeared in September 2014.
Tlatempa and the other parents, accompanied by several dozen students from Guerrero, walked from the monument to the Ayotzinapa victims on the Paseo de la Reforma to the Foreign Relations Secretariat in the center of Mexico City.
The message to Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard was to pursue “with urgency” the extradition from Israel of Tomas Zeron, a former head of the now-defunct AIC investigative agency who is accused of torturing suspects and tampering with evidence to craft the version of events proclaimed in 2015 as the “historical truth.”
In late March, the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), a team assembled by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, issued a report that implicated the Mexican military in the Ayotzinapa case and documented evidence-tampering and other abuses in the original investigation.
But those revelations have not led to significant advances, prompting the victims’ families and their supporters to mount protests in Guerrero and in the capital.
“There are people of the previous president (Enrique Peña Nieto, who governed from 2012-2018) who don’t allow the investigations to progress. That’s why we are here demonstrating at every institution that we know can do something,” Daniel Cruz, father of Miguel Angel Mendoza, told Efe.
He said that Ebrard and Lopez Obrador must secure the return to Mexico of Zeron and Peña Nieto, “who are responsible and know what happened.”
Peña Nieto, who left office with a disapproval rating of 77 percent, recently obtained legal resident status in Spain.
“It is their (the Lopez Obrador government) duty to resolve this problem. We are not going to go home because at home we see the empty chairs of our sons and for us it is profound sadness not to be able to embrace them,” Maria de Jesus Tlatempa said.
More than an hour after the protesters arrived, a delegation from the Foreign Relations Secretariat came out to invite the families inside for meetings with officials.
On the night of Sept. 26, 2014, students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School, an all-male college known for its leftist activism, were attacked in Iguala, Guerrero, after they had commandeered buses to travel to Mexico City for a protest.
Six people – including three students – were killed, 25 were injured and 43 students were abducted and are presumed dead.
In early 2015, Peña Nieto’s administration said that the students were killed by a local drug gang after being abducted by municipal cops acting on the orders of Iguala’s corrupt mayor, and that their bodies were incinerated at a dump in the nearby town of Cocula.
The families were immediately skeptical of that account, as were the members of the GIEI, who concluded in their first report, published in September 2015, that the bodies could not have been disposed of in the way authorities claimed.
Lopez Obrador, who likewise rejected the “historical truth” presented by his predecessor’s government, launched a new probe shortly after taking office in December 2018.
In a meeting with the parents at the start of this month, said that his government needed to compile more information before bringing charges. EFE