Borderland Beat by DD
|Javier Hernandez, representative of the U.N. Photo: EFE|
The representative of the U.N. Human Rights office in Mexico, has said he holds the government responsible for the disappearance of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers' school.
“There is no other way to explain it, when the authorities commit these kinds of arbitrary acts, which are crimes, what we are looking at is a forced disappearance. There is no other name for it,” said Javier Hernandez.
The commissioner also criticized the federal attorney general, Jesus Murillo, for failing to recognize that the state was behind the violent incidents and asserting it was an isolated case
The young men ... were attacked, captured by public servants, and that distinction is fundamental in order to determine not only the state's responsibility … but also what kind of action and effort needs to be taken in the search,” said Hernandez after his visit to Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.
At about the same time that the UN official was making his remarks the Attorney General of the Republic flatly rejected the demands of the families of the 43 missing students to extend the search to a military base less than a mile from where the students were kidnapped.
The attorney general said that as the National Defense Department is “more concerned than anyone” with finding the students, it would be “absurd” to think the students could be hidden there. “We know they are not there,” he added.
|AG Murillo does look a little consado (tired)|
His response came as journalist Marcela Turati asked him if the search would include the grounds of the 27th Battalion of the National Defense Department.
Turati also claims that it is not only the family members who believe that the 27th Battalion should not be discounted in the search.
Several sources have mentioned the Battalion in relation to the missing students, including the Bicameral Congressional Commission on National Security, the second in command of the United Warriors gang accused of disappearing the students, and the human rights center Tlachinollan, have all raised questions about the complicity of Battalion 27.
In particular, the commission wants to know what the 27th Infantry battalion, based less than one mile away from the scene of the massacre, did that night. (within hearing range of the gunfire)
The 27th was one of several battalions of soldiers and marines deployed to Iguala and other places during the first years of the war on drugs against drug cartels and guerrilla groups, based on the belief that municipal and state police forces were infiltrated by the drug cartels.
However, the activities of the battalion have not been made clear and seem inexplicable
Those normalistas that managed to escape alive from the ordeal, initially said that they suspected that some of the disappeared students were being held in an Army base in Iguala (that of the 27th Infantry). The role of the battalion has never been fully explained. Omar García, one of the surviving students, had described how, after an initial attack by the Iguala police at 9:30 p.m. on September 26 that resulted in the execution of Aldo Gutirrez, a student, the police then withdrew. Four hours later, at 1:30 a.m. on September 27, a second attack was launched on the students, this time by men dressed as civilians and in unmarked cars; more than 200 rounds were fired. Two other students and three bystanders were killed, several students were left wounded and 43 others were abducted
Students went knocking on doors for help for their wounded comrades and met up with a military patrol that arrived within minutes of the second attack. After stealing their cell phones, the soldiers threatened to arrest them for trespassing. “You guys wanted to be big shots, now pull up your pants!” said the soldiers as they were leaving, according to García.
When informed of the wounded students, the officer in charge offered to call an ambulance (that never showed up). When on Sunday, October 28, relatives of the missing students accompanied by human rights activists questioned Colonel Rodriguez at the Army base, he denied having any of the students in custody. He did admit that the Army had been aware of the attack on the students, and that troops had been sent out to the scene, but that the Army had not participated in the attack.
The role of the Army in Iguala now places a question mark over how much the federal government knew about the Iguala and Colusa drug connections, when the news of the police assault reached federal authorities, and how involved the Peña Nieto administration was in planning and executing the attacks of that night.
Those questions, “what did he know”, “when did he know it”, and “what involvement did he have” are reminiscent of the questions asked about President Nixon during the infamous Watergate Scandal that resulted in his resignation as President.
The crime of burglary that started Watergate pales in significance compared to the kidnapping and apparent murder of the 43 students from the Ayotzinga teahers college, but the closing of ranks by government officials and its failure to give answers after the Watergate scandal broke seems similar to what is happening in Mexico today.
Maybe if we get answers about the Army’s role in the incidents in Iguala, we might have answers to the “What, When and Why”.
As an aside, I think EPN did not help himself this week when after more than 2 months since the students disappeared, he finally visited the state of Guerrero where the kidnapping took place (though he did not visit Iguala). I can’t believe a politician who has risen to the level he has would be so stupid as to tell the crowd gathered there that maybe “it was time to get over the pain caused by the disappearances”. (how many more marches will that prompt)