Monday, April 20, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: Mexicans on the March

"Plight of Mexican students deserves more attention; Their children now a symbol of a larger tragedy, parents of the victims take their case to the US" by Miguel Guevara   April 19, 2015

Almost seven months ago, 43 families lost their sons, their brothers, and their friends when police kidnapped students from a teachers college in southern Mexico. Corrupt police apparently handed the students over to members of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel. The students’ fate remains unclear, but Mexico’s attorney general claims their ashes were found in plastic bags near a river. DNA testing has so far confirmed the identity of only one student.

Anayeli Guerrero and Clemente Rodríguez, relatives of two of the missing students, are in Boston this weekend as part of a US tour. Their intention is to pressure the Mexican government into being more forthcoming about its investigation into what happened. The relatives’ distrust of the government forced it to allow an Argentinian forensic team to investigate the case. It has found inconsistencies in the attorney general’s account of what happened.

No kidding?


After the students went missing, their parents became activists and took to the streets to demand justice. In the months since, their determination has not waned, even after the attorney general presented the results of his investigation. Though it seems unlikely, families of the missing hold out hope that most of them are still alive.

Beyond the deep personal suffering their plight has caused for friends and loved ones, the students have become the symbol of a larger human tragedy unfolding all over the country.

That is when I begin to doubt the veracity of the report and wonder if it is another agenda-pushing fiction.

During the last nine years, more than 100,000 people have been killed in Mexico and more than 20,000 have disappeared. This has mostly been the result of a drug war between cartels that began in 2006. Murders and kidnappings have spiraled out of control. Mexicans are frustrated with the never-ending, always-escalating violence. Last year, more civilians were killed in Mexico than in Iraq.

That is staggering.

The students remain unaccounted for, but the families’ efforts already are making a difference. They have emboldened unprecedented numbers of Mexicans to protest for reform. During one demonstration, an elderly woman held a handwritten sign that read: “Yes, I’m afraid! I tremble, sweat, turn pale, but I march!”

It is that kind of resolve that inspired Anayeli and Clemente to travel to places they never imagined they would go. Their US journey has included visits to Houston, Atlanta, New York, Washington, D.C., and now Boston — the final stop. In every city, they have been calling attention to the Mexican government’s failure to deliver justice and security for its citizens. Saturday, they were scheduled to speak at Harvard. Sunday, they are expected to march in East Boston. They have shown leadership, courage, and strength over the past seven months. Their example has moved millions across Mexico. Now it is time for the world to listen.

Decide for yourself if the Globe has.


I almost missed the confessions -- it was the Mennonites!

Anybody hear a dog bark or an explosion?