EXPLAINER: Mexican navy’s function in college students’ disappearance

The Mexican navy’s function withinside the disappearance of forty three university college students and its alleged hyperlinks to prepared crime are actually on the middle of a case that has shaken the nation


MEXICO CITY — The Mexican navy’s function withinside the disappearance of forty three university college students, its participation in overlaying up the statistics and its alleged hyperlinks to prepared crime are actually on the middle of a case that has shaken the nation. The government’s Truth Commission declared the incident a “nation crime” in August.

Three contributors of the army and a former federal legal professional widespread have been lately arrested withinside the case, and few now agree with the government’s preliminary declare that a nearby drug gang and allied nearby officers have been thoroughly in charge for seizing and killing the scholars on July 26, 2014, then burning their our bodies — maximum of that have in no way been found.

Crucial info stay uncertain regardless of years of research.

But the newspaper Reforma, which received quantities of a Truth Commission record shared with the Attorney General’s Office, has posted info of messages among drug gang contributors and the army that seem to reveal as a minimum a number of the scholars’ our bodies have been taken to a nearby navy base. Advocates for the scholars’ households worry the leak of touchy information about suspects should jeopardize prosecutions.

Here are a few questions and solutions approximately the abductions.


The president of the Truth Commission, Alejandro Encinas, says that the fake, reputable model introduced on the time through Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam “turned into designed at the best tiers of the federal government” after conferences withinside the presidency, then withinside the palms of Enrique Peña Nieto.

According to that model, Iguala officers idea the scholars have been going to disrupt a nearby political event. It says police rounded up the forty three college students and became them over to a nearby drug gang, which killed the youths, burned their our bodies at a sell off and threw the stays right into a river.

Although all of the college students reputedly have been murdered, it has considering the fact that been established that they have been taken in corporations to distinct places. Some reputedly have been stored alive for days.

The college students had hijacked buses to get to a protest in Mexico City and have been intercepted in Iguala — in all likelihood due to the fact one of the buses contained a drug shipment.



Three contributors of the army have been arrested this month, amongst them José Rodríguez Pérez, who as a colonel commanded the nearby navy base in Iguala on the time of the scholars’ disappearance. The Truth Commission record alleges he ordered the killing of six college students days after their abduction.

Rodríguez Pérez turned into later promoted to widespread. Now retired, he faces prepared crime fees. A fourth member of the army, Capt. José Martínez Crespo turned into arrested in 2020. On Saturday, the Spanish newspaper El Pais posted files displaying that the Attorney General’s Office had requested a decide to drop arrest orders in opposition to sixteen different contributors of the army. The workplace did now no longer reply to requests for comment.

The maximum politically sizable arrest passed off remaining month while former Attorney General Murillo Karam turned into detained. He has been charged with pressured disappearance, now no longer reporting torture of suspects and reputable misconduct. He is accused of saying a fake model of activities that he called “the historic truth.”



It turned into regarded from the start that the navy had real-time expertise of activities in Iguala on that night time due to the fact squaddies have been in key locations, consisting of a police coordination middle. The Truth Commission record says as a minimum one soldier turned into infiltrated many of the abducted college students.

In 2015, then-Army leader Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos assured that the navy had no obligation withinside the activities both through movement or omission. Communications accrued through the Truth Commission, however, contradict that assertion. They advocate army employees have been in touch with the criminals at key moments.


The Truth Commission record says as a minimum one of the disappeared college students turned into a soldier despatched to undercover agent at the university and an legal professional for dad and mom has contended there has been another. Separately, household of Julio Cesar Mondragon, certainly considered one among six college students killed after surviving the preliminary assault after which being tortured, have requested for an research of different college students — now politicians — who have been the leaders who despatched the organization of protesters to Iguala regardless of threats the college had acquired.



The Ayotzinapa case is a tangle of 28 crook instances unfold over seven states. Eight years later, nobody has been convicted.

Santiago Aguirre, a human rights legal professional for household of the victims, stated round 50 humans are imprisoned expecting trial. In August, the Attorney General’s Office issued eighty new warrants, however Aguirre stated maximum simply opened new instances related to humans already in custody.

Still being sought is the person who headed the early research into the abductions, Tomás Zerón, who’s in Israel. Mexico is in search of his extradition.

Due to the torture of witnesses and different irregularities, dozens of defendants were acquitted of a few fees. However, a lot of them stay imprisoned on different fees.


President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has an increasing number of used the army to construct foremost infrastructure initiatives and to update police withinside the combat in opposition to crime, arguing it’s miles much less corrupted than different agencies.

Accusations of human rights abuses in opposition to the army have been not unusualplace at some stage in the “grimy war” of the Seventies and ’80s. They have been in particular harsh withinside the poor, opium poppy-developing nation of Guerrero. Some abuses have continued — in addition to allegations of officials connected to drug cartels.

In the remaining 25 years, 3 generals have confronted fees in Mexico, even though simplest one has been convicted.

The protection secretary on the time of the abductions, Cienfuegos, turned into arrested withinside the U.S. in 2020 and accused of hyperlinks to drug cartels. But below stress from the Mexican government, the fees in opposition to him have been later dropped and he turned into lower back to Mexico, which launched him.

In the Iguala place wherein the scholars have been abducted, ties among the army and criminals pass returned as a minimum to 2013. According to a courtroom docket report to which The Associated Press had access, contributors of the army helped a nearby cartel with guns and education for its hitmen.

The testimony of an imprisoned crook suspect stated Capt. Jose Martínez Crespo, who turned into arrested in 2020, acquired cash from a pacesetter of nearby drug gang, Guerreros Unidos, to assist them flow guns. “He used his cars so he should flow freely thru the region,” the witness stated.

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