In September, 43 students visiting the town of Iguala in the Mexican state of Guerrero were herded into vans by police officers and haven’t been seen since. Their abduction followed repeated attacks by police on the students.
Six people were killed, including three students. The mayor of Iguala was accused of ordering the attacks and arrested on Nov. 4, after fleeing with his wife. Authorities believe Jose Luis Abarca and his wife Maria coordinated with Guerreros Unidos, a local drug syndicate, to make the students disappear. The mayor’s wife was scheduled to give a speech in Iguala on Sept. 26.
The case has sparked protests throughout Mexico. Citizens are demanding justice be served and that the government solve the case quickly. The federal government hopes that Abarca’s arrest will provide new leads in finding the students. In the meantime, the search has led investigators to clandestine graves found in the areas surrounding Iguala. One of these graves contained the bodies of 28 victims burned beyond recognition. But authorities do not believe that these bodies belong to the missing students.
Correspondent Franc Contreras reported this story from Mexico, talking to the friends and family members of the missing students. Most are frustrated, but many have not lost hope. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto met with the families and told them he is doing everything that can be done to find their children, including sending out search teams on helicopters. But many loved ones of the missing believe the government’s response has been too slow.
To fully understand the disappearance of the students in the Mexican state of Guerrero, one must understand the history of both the school they attended and the high degree of violence that exists in Mexico’s southern state.
CCTV’s political analyst from Mexico City, Laura Carlsen, has been following the disappearance of the 43 students from Iguala since September. She spoke to Americas Now’s Elaine Reyes about the circumstances leading up to the clash with police.
Carlsen also discussed the history of violence in Guerrero, the relationship between local governments and organized crime, and how Mexico’s president and the government lost credibility by not acting fast enough to solve this case.