[News] Ayotzinapa Investigations

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Fri Apr 1 16:57:20 EDT 2022


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Ayotzinapa Investigations
April 1, 2022
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*Ayotzinapa Investigations* is a special page dedicated to the work of the
National Security Archive and others in documenting and seeking justice for
the 43 disappeared students of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers College. The
National Security Archive advocates for the declassification of documentary
evidence in fighting impunity amidst the unprecedented crisis of forced
disappearances in Mexico.

On the night of September 26 and in the early morning of September 27,
2014, a group of students was attacked by local police in the town of
Iguala, Guerrero. The night left six people dead, dozens injured, and 43
students forcibly disappeared. The violence committed against the unarmed
young men by the police in collusion with the drug cartel Guerreros Unidos
sparked mass protests throughout the country.

Then-President Enrique Peña Nieto opened an investigation that would prove
deeply inadequate and ultimately fraudulent. Domestic and international
criticism over the official investigation led the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights to sponsor a group of independent, international experts
(GIEI) who arrived in Mexico in March of 2015 to work on the case. The
GIEI’s efforts throughout 2015 and 2016 revealed the Mexican government’s
falsification of records, destruction of evidence, and systematic use of
torture against detainees and suspects throughout the official
investigation.

In March 2022, the GIEI presented its third report on the Ayotzinapa case,
exposing the involvement of high-level government officials and
institutions in the cover-up. The revelations include documentation of the
Mexican military’s infiltration and surveillance of the Ayotzinapa Rural
Teachers College before, during, and after the events in Iguala in
September of 2014, as well as the manipulation of the Cocula crime scene by
members of the Mexican Navy.

The nature and scale of the crime, the apparent involvement of state
actors, and the persistent impunity that has blocked efforts to seek
justice for the students have made the Ayotzinapa case a powerful symbol of
state-sponsored criminality in Mexico and emblematic of the pervasive
problem of forced disappearances that occur daily throughout the country.
The Mexican government’s conspiracy to sabotage its own investigation
represents a cruel double-disappearance for the families of the students:
of their sons and of their hope for justice.

Since 2017, the National Security Archive has filed hundreds of Freedom of
Information Act requests for U.S. documents related to the case of the 43
students, the “war on drugs” and its consequences, and U.S. security
assistance to Mexico. In 2020, Kate Doyle and the National Security Archive
partnered with reporter Anayansi Díaz-Cortes and Reveal News from the
Center for Investigative Reporting to develop the podcast series “After
Ayotzinapa <https://revealnews.org/article/after-ayotzinapa/>,” released in
January 2022. Two months later, the Spanish-language version “Después de
Ayotzinapa <https://adondemedia.com/despuesdeayotzinapa/#latest>” was
released in co-production with Adonde Media and Animal Politico. The
investigation of the 43 disappeared students remains ongoing with the
appointment of a new special prosecutor’s unit in Mexico in 2019, the
publication of the third GIEI report, and sustained support from the
international human rights community. The National Security Archive
continues to investigate the case with our partners at Centro Prodh and
Reveal.

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