The GIEI’s Tsunami


By: Magdalena Gómez

The second and last report of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI, the Group’s initials in Spanish) opened with the assertion that there is no evidence that the normalistas had links with organized crime and discards that they went to boycott a political act in Iguala that day. On the whole, it shows the structural deficiencies of the system of procuring justice in the country. Its recommendations are a group of measures to take. They allow the government to assert that it will attend to them, in an escapist notion. The public presentation session of the GIEI’s report has a very singular attendance makeup: human rights and social groupings, academics, journalists and European diplomatic representations.

The president of the IACHR, James Caballaro, received the report and pronounced a harsh discourse, lamenting the absence of the federal government. It was, without a doubt, the evident ratification of the assumed decision on the distancing with the Inter-American space and the group of experts. It also showed that it is not willing to agree to any follow-up mechanism. But that wasn’t the terrain that generated an authentic tsunami for Peña Nieto loyalists. It was the revealing of a video that shows the presence of Tomás Zerón, head of the Criminal Investigation Agency (of the PGR), at the San Juan River, the place at which they supposedly would find some bags the following day, with the allegedly incinerated remains of the students, in the Cocula garbage dump. The grave question is that similar bags already appear in the video that the GIEI showed. The GIEI did not assert that they were planted, but it did point out that Zerón’s work was not listed in the case file. If we remember that the procedure of removing the bags from the river was the basis for the so-called historic truth announced by Murillo, we realize that not only is it in question whether the 43 students were reduced to ashes in the Cocula garbage dump, situated 40 kilometers from the river, but it also does not appear clear how and for what reason the alleged remains were taken to the river. All that was constructed from the statements of those arrested, whose signs of torture were also shown in the GIEI’s second report. That fact, eventually, would give standing for the liberation of the arrested declarants. The revelation of the video will permit the defense for the relatives of the disappeared to challenge the basis of the investigation that has been carried out as of today. They would already share a first analysis in that regard.

The Zerón factor impacted the past week and is determining; nevertheless, the Ayotzinapa Report II contains questions about intelligence activities, control of the C-4 cameras and the data they had at all times about the students’ movements. They precisely define the extended circles in the zone. They describe a concerted action of police bodies that goes beyond municipal levels to reach federal levels.

They also shared the questionnaire about the interviews that were going to be held with members of the Army, which they were denied. They reaffirmed the need for maintaining the line of investigation into the fifth bus, noting that they now doubt that the vehicle and the driver that they placed opposite them may be involved in the Iguala events. At the same time, it was concluded that the results from the third fire expert on the Cocula garbage dump have no scientific analysis or reasoning.

The GIEI convincingly confronted the statements of Tomás Zerón. The experts denounced him because he edited the video that he presented. The functionary sought to justify that he has the ability to do investigative work on a case underway without giving an account of the work in the case record of the investigation. Besides, he attempted to involve the UN office and to avoid the Argentine experts finding out about his visit to the San Juan River. The GIEI making the accusation that their second mandate was systematically blocked makes sense. Without a doubt their requests for specific work contributed to the government’s posture of cutting off the collaboration. Peña Nieto is enclosed by the international reactions of support for the GIEI, from the United Nations as well as from the U.S. State Department. Facing that, the statements from the PGR and from Governance appeared weak with common statements that “we continue investigating and we are going to review the recommendations,” before the avalanche unleashed by the accusation against Zerón. Now up against the wall, they indicated that he would be investigated. He, in turn, stated that he would not resign.

Deficiencies in the Ayotzinapa investigation are not motivated by technical reasons. There has been, in effect, an unknown hand up to now that blocked the GIEI with the support of the highest level. Where do they intend to take the conflict with the Inter-American bodies and those of the UN? That has been an ominous and authoritarian sign in South America in past decades.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

En español:

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee




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