Mexico: more holes in missing students case
Mexico's Prosecutor General Arely Gómez González announced Sept. 16 that forensic experts have identified the remains of a second victim in the case of the 43 missing students. Human remains found in plastic bags dredged from the Río San Juan in Guerrero state are said to be those of missing student Jhosivani Guerrero de la Cruz. The identification was made by Austrian forensic experts from Innsbruck Medical University, who had earlier identified one other student based on a bone fragment. But the announcement came amid new controversy, as an Argentine forensic team working on the case called the identification of the second set of remains "weak and not definitive." The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) made the announcement after meeting with the parents of Jhosivani Guerrero two days after the Prosecutor General's announcement.
Amnesty International agreed that the Prosecutor General had jumped the gun. "The Mexican authorities’ baseless claims to have identified Jhosivani's remains reek of desperation and of a cruel attempt to show they are taking action ahead of the one year anniversary of the student's enforced disappearance," said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty. "It looks like they are willing to stop at nothing to wash their hands of any responsibility over one of Mexico's most shocking human rights tragedies in recent history. Instead of playing games with the lives and hopes of the relatives of the disappeared students, the Mexican authorities must make a serious and concerted effort to re-direct investigations and ensure no stone is left unturned until the whereabouts of all 43 students are established."
Also Sept. 16, Mexican authorities announced the capture of one Gildardo Lopez Astudillo AKA "El Gil"—said to be a high-ranking member of the Guerreros Unidos, the local narco gang the government says was responsible for the mass abduction and murder of the students. National Security Commissioner Renato Sales Heredia confirmed the arrest of "El Gil," who was found on the streets of Taxco, Guerrero, carrying a gun and false identification. Sales Heredia pledged that the investigation will continue.
Mexico's government is under growing pressure to show results in the case. On Sept 11, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) alled upon Mexico to address the failures of its investigation into the mass disappearance. Local activists in Guerrero and survivng kin of the missing students continue to maintain that local and perhaps federal police were involved in the adbuction, and turned the captive students over to the murderous Guerros Unidos. "Fue el estado" (It was the state) has become a slogan of the movement to demand justice in the case. (TeleSur, Amnesty International, Jurist, El Sol de Mexico, BBC News, Sept. 18; EAAF press release via KeHuelga, IBT, Sept. 17; Animal Politico, Sept. 10)