AYOTZINAPA AND THE VOICE OF THE PARENTS
By: Luis Hernández Navarro
The days pass and their sons don’t appear. One day the authorities tell them one thing and the next day another. And the versions that they give them don’t agree with the available evidence. Why are the parents of the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students going to believe the government?
The first time, functionaries asserted that the young men were hidden away as political pressure. They asserted that were safe in some place in the mountains or in a corner of their school. Valuable days for finding them alive passed like that, without seriously looking for them. It was clear very quickly that that was not true. But not any authority apologized to the parents for that lie. Nobody had the humility to confess that he was wrong.
The official story changed on the night of October 5. Iñaki Blanco, attorney general of Guerrero, reported that two detainees had confessed to the murder of 17 of the 43 normalistas. According to Blanco, Martín Alejandro Macedo Barreda, a drug dealer, and Marco Antonio Ríos Berver, a hired gun for Guerreros unidos (United Warriors), revealed that they executed them on orders of a personage nicknamed El Choky.
Days later, the killers’ statements were leaked to the press. El Gaby, one of the executioners, stated to the Public Ministry (district attorney): “I participated by killing two of the Ayotzinapos, giving them a bullet in the head, and they are not the ones that we burned, they are whole… the way of killing them was chivalrous and we shot them through one side of the head.” That –said another– “for going around rabble rousing.”
One of the killers, Martín Alejandro Macedo, revealed: “I received the instruction to shoot them (the normalistas) from el Choky; the shots we fired were in the center of Iguala… El Choky asked the municipal police for help, and because of that I knew that El Choky did indeed fuck over several Ayotzinapos, since they were becoming very crazy; once they started got out the students began to run and we achieved securing 17, who we put in our trucks and we took them to the security house where we immediately killed them since they did not want to submit and as they out-numbered us, El Choky gave the instruction that we should kill them…”
But almost one month later, while cadavers and more cadavers were appearing without a name in a multitude of clandestine graves around Iguala and the authorities “sought” that the numbers of the dead normalistas would fit, the government’s version of the facts was again modified. Authorities never clarified why those killers that confessed lied. They simply blotted it out and made up a new story.
On November 7, in a press conference, Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam reported that, according to three new statements, the 43 youths were driven to the Cocula municipal garbage dump, killed, incinerated and their ashes thrown in plastic bags into the river.
The new government story about the massacre presents the provisional results of an investigation underway as if they were almost definitive. But it is also full of holes, explanations of little credibility and evident contradictions. In La Jornada, Telesur and Proceso the opinions of various specialists have been documented. They place in doubt the third official version of the facts, the last (as of the moment).
We review some of the criticisms that have been made of the official report. To begin with, it would not be an easy thing for the gunmen to submit a group of 43 combat-hardened and rebellious youths, and move them docilely, without leaving any trace, several dozen kilometers from where the police took them prisoner. He assures in the explanation that some suffocated on the road. Nevertheless, the vehicles in which they were transported (a 3.5-ton truck and a small cargo truck) did not have a closed cabin that would impede the entry of air. Why then were they asphyxiated?
The garbage dump where the students were allegedly incinerated is an open-air place, in which it is very difficult to attain the temperatures necessary for burning their bodies, much less on a rainy day, like it was that day. Avoiding the fact that the fire spreads to other corners of the dump is a task full of risks. Nevertheless, the gunmen managed the fire superbly. A fire of that magnitude and a stench like that which the bodies emit upon wasting away devoured by the flames would have gone unperceived in the region. But nobody realized what happened.
Curiously, the steel strips that reinforce the tires that they used to feed the fire were not found on the burned land. Nor did they find metal buckles from belts and huaraches, zippers from pants and jackets, watches, medals or amalgams from the students’ dental pieces. On the other hand, they did find remains of vegetation that miraculously survived the fire’s infernal heat.
It’s also surprising that, according to the detainees’ statements, they had been able to destroy the bones with expertise and picked up the residue a scarce two and a half hours after the funeral pyre was extinguished. The ashes are a very efficient thermal insulation, which can conserve the heat for many hours after the fire is out. It is impossible to put them in plastic bags without them melting.
Finally, it calls la attention to the reason for which the gunmen hurled the ashes into the river in plastic bags, when what we were dealing with was not leaving any trace of the crime. And, even more surprising, is that one of those packages had not broken upon crashing on the stony bottom of a river with a vigorous current.
The refusal of the parents of the disappeared to recognize the government version as valid comes from not just the natural refusal to admit such a painful fact but also, fundamentally, what they consider an obscene script for shelving the tragedy, and excusing the Mexican State for its responsibility in the crime.
Too much time already passed for these parents without their children appearing. They are fed up with the deceit, maneuvers and the government’s attempt to buy time.
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Translation: Chiapas Support Committee
Tuesday, November 25, 2014