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Saturday, October 2, 2021

Mapping Out The Disappearance Of The 43 Normalistas Of Ayotzinapa Show Inconsistencies

Sandra Rojas for Milenio

The following is a direct translation of an article original written by journalist Sandra Rojas for Milenio

A mural reveals the paths of violence. The colors and shapes that compose it are transformed before the viewer into lines of investigation of the disappearance of the 43 normalistas from Ayotzinapa in 2014; the piece unites visual and mental perception, sowing doubts about the Iguala case. 

The research agency Forensic Architecture made an interactive mapping of the disappearance that occurred during the night and early morning of September 26 and 27, 2014, respectively, in Iguala, Guerrero, in collaboration with the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) and the Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center (Centro Prodh).  

Through the observation and analysis of a historical time and space that left a wound to the country, the red and black line confront each other, the latter representing the historical truth that the then Attorney General's Office (PGR), headed by Murillo Karam, presented to the parents of the 43 missing students as absolute reality. 

"Each event we turn it into a point of observation where we see who, where, at what time, what they were doing, what was being done to them and each of these data is a point that is expressed in the mural in time and space, by seeing where they were according to a version, a person, we locate discrepancies in what was the historical truth", explained to MILENIO Sergio Beltran, member of Forensic Architecture. 

Based on the PGR case file and the investigation of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), the researchers built a database to sort testimonies, geolocation, confessions, conversations between authorities and other elements that allowed them to reconstruct the different versions of what happened on the night and early morning of September 26 and 27, 2014. 

"If we all knew the truth, if the testimonies of the students, police, military and people belonging to criminal groups coincided we would see a single clean line, because they all agree on what happened, but what we see is the opposite, we see contradictions every time a line here (in the mural) bifurcates it implies a contradiction", Beltran explained. 

The black dot on the line representing the historical truth is the most obvious and important bifurcation in the mural because, although it represents the final destination of the missing normalistas, ramifications of other lines show that the authorities were in other places and continued to move in and around Iguala after the PGR said it went to the Cocula dump. This methodology, called data mining, highlights the value in the wealth of information now accessible thanks to technology, so anyone with internet access can follow the investigation. 

"This is a living piece of research that could accompany the case, but beyond having to receive information from the press conferences of the prosecutor or the undersecretary of human rights what we could do is update it and offer it to the public so that they can follow in a much more special graphically understandable way what state the investigation is in," said the member of Forensic Architecture. 

The visual reconstruction in cartography takes the form of interactive maps, videos, a web platform and 3D explorable models of the scenes of the attacks; it is possible, to go to the intersection of Juan N Alvarez and Periferico streets in Iguala, where municipal police ambushed part of the students, who were aboard three buses. Or to the outskirts of town, next to the courthouse, where municipal agents assaulted another group. In addition, the platform illustrates the participation, active or passive, of ministerial, federal and military police. 

"There are (in the mural) some curved lines with dotted lines, there are many green lines that are communicating with other green dots, that means that it is a communication between one military and another and that tells us that there were military personnel who at all times were close to the events observing what was happening and that they did not intervene to contain the level of violence," said the researcher. 

The piece is part of the permanent collection of the 68 Memorial and Museum of Social Movements (M68) of the Tlatelolco University Cultural Center, where documents, photographs, audios, videos and artistic pieces are exhibited as a collective memory to encourage reflection on the historical importance of the Student Movement.

Likewise, it was decided to incorporate this installation to the M68 due to the connection of the disappearance of the 43 students with the massacre of 1968, since according to GIEI reports, the students of the Raúl Isidro Burgos Normal School stopped in Iguala to take several buses that could take them all to Mexico City to participate in the acts in memory of the massacre of Tlatelolco.

Source: Sandra Rojas for Milenio

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