Mexican, U.S. Rulers Have Blood on Their Hands

Parents of Disappeared Students Bring Struggle to the U.S.

March 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


On September 26, 2014, buses carrying students from the Ayotzinapa—a teacher training college in Mexico’s southwest state of Guerrero—were ambushed and fired upon by police. Three students and three passersby were shot dead and dozens wounded on the spot, and 43 students were taken away in patrol cars, never to be seen since. Protests have wracked Mexico ever since. (For the story of the massacre and background to the protests, see “Mexico Burns, U.S. Needs to Feel the Heat.”)

March 21, 2015: Ángel Neri de la Cruz, one of the survivors of the massacre of Ayotzinapa massacre of student activists in Mexico, speaks in Los Angeles.March 21, 2015: Ángel Neri de la Cruz, one of the Ayotzinapa students who survived the Guerrero massacre, speaks in Los Angeles.

In mid-March family members of 43 “disappeared”—along with two students who escaped this bloody massacre—began three caravans with stops in more than 40 major U.S. cities in over 20 states to tell their story and take their demands to an international audience, including the huge Mexican immigrant population in the U.S. The caravans plan to come together in Washington, DC, and then go to the UN in New York City.

The caravans are holding press conferences; speaking on college and high school campuses; and to groupings of people and organizations in the communities.

In Los Angeles, at a cultural and speaking event held at the headquarters of the United Teachers, Los Angeles, one of the surviving students—Ángel Neri de la Cruz, 19—told his story. On September 26, he was in one of several buses the students had commandeered—a usual practice—to get them back to their teachers college in Ayotzinapa, after fundraising in the city of Iguala. The police and other people attacked the buses—three students and three passersby were killed and 25 more were wounded. Ángel was able to escape; the police then turned 43 more students over to a local drug gang. They have never been heard from since that day.

One of the main demands of the caravana is for the continued investigation of the events of September 26 and since, and the return of the missing students. The Mexican government claims that the mayor of Iguala and his wife ordered the police to carry out this attack and that the surviving students were turned over to the gang Guerreros Unidos, which killed them, burned their bodies, and threw the remains in a river. The case is now declared closed. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto declared that it was time for the parents to “get over it”. However, the government’s case has always been fraught with wild contradictions, tortured witnesses, lies and coverups. Independent journalists have documented explicit involvement of the federal government on the night of the massacre and since, yet there has never been an official response to this investigation.

According to Caravana 43 organizers: “The main aim is to provide an international forum for the parents who have lost their children in a government of systemic violence and impunity. Anther important goal of the caravana is to shed light on U.S. foreign policy, specifically the Mérida Initiative and its connection to socioeconomic conditions and violence in Mexico.” The Mérida Initiative, also known as Plan México, has provided $2.3 billion to the Mexican military and police forces in the name of a war on drugs. Since the start of this U.S.-orchestrated drug war in 2006, more than 100,000 people have been killed, and over 25,000 disappeared. The Ayotzinapa solidarity movement has raised the demand for the U.S. government to “halt U.S. military support to Mexico.”

It is very significant that the caravana has focused on bringing the issue of the disappearance of the students to people in the U.S., and especially to students and youth. What is often overlooked (or deliberately covered up) in the criticism of the open corruption and repression by the Mexican government is that the U.S. imperialists are involved up to their necks in the funding and training of the Mexican security forces.

This caravana has just begun, and its events and programs are already drawing large crowds and getting media coverage. On the afternoon of March 22, people filled the streets in a march to the Mexican consulate in downtown Los Angeles. Organizers said that a March 20 event at Cal State Northridge attracted so many students a second session had to be arranged.

Another significant aspect of the caravana is that the participants and the parents of the disappeared students have insisted that the campaign is not connected to any political party in Mexico. Also, the caravaners are calling on Mexican citizens in the U.S. to not vote in the coming elections in Mexico. In fact, in Mexico, many people in the struggle for justice for the 43 students are calling to boycott elections in Mexico.

Hundreds of thousands of people from broad social sectors in Mexico have taken part in this struggle, and millions have been affected. It has given heart to people on the bottom of society, like the peasant and indigenous communities where these students are from, but also marginalized urban communities, where the combined violence of the armed thugs of the drug cartels and the security forces has been a secret scourge for many years. It’s urgent that people in the U.S. take this struggle up as their own. The demands of this caravana should be supported, and the exposure of the bloody hand of the U.S. should be deepened and spread. “That’s our blood down there!”

Stay tuned to for ongoing coverage of the caravan and the struggle for justice for the 43 students.

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