Real 'Mexican Moment' Is Now: Case of Missing Students Should Prompt Reform

Andrea Tanco '15 Contributing Writer

Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced in a press conference on Nov. 7 that the 43 Mexican students missing from Ayotzinapa were most likely murdered and incinerated.

This announcement came after three suspects declared they had killed and burned a group of approximately 40 teenagers that were delivered to them by the police from the municipalities of Iguala and Cocula. Yet, the police did not explicitly identify them as students. Teeth, bones and human remains were found in a garbage dump near Cocula. Despite the announcement, parents of the students hold on to hope that they are alive, as no concrete DNA proof has proved otherwise. Distrust is now the prevailing sentiment in Mexico.

For over a decade, Mexico has experienced drug-related violence on an increasing scale. Insecurity and fear have become part of the daily lives of those living there. Until today, many, feeling powerless, have turned the other cheek towards the corruption in Mexico’s political system. But the disappearance and possible killing of the 43 young students is a turning point.

These students came from the most impoverished states in Mexico to enroll at the Raúl Isidro Burgos Normal School. This school is one of the 16 teacher schools around the country that aims to train teachers to raise literacy and standards of living among the rural poor. The school is not only a training center; it is a place where many teenagers seek an opportunity for a better life and to contribute to society. It is also a place that fosters the values of community and social justice.

While uncertainty prevails about the whereabouts of the students, one thing is sure: The state is the actor responsible for this horrendous event. It was the mayor of Iguala who ordered the police to attack the students as they gathered at the city center the night of Sept. 26. It was the police who shot three students dead and took the other 43 students in their vehicles to god knows where.

Sadly, instances of corruption are nothing new in the country. However, until now, there have been few events that have so abruptly revealed the direct links and grotesque relations that exist among government and police officials, and the drug cartels.

I still remember seeing the February Time magazine international cover titled “Saving Mexico” in big, bold capital letters with President Enrique Peña Nieto standing confidently on the background. Other international magazine and newspaper headlines praised the set of structural reforms initiated by Nieto’s government. They called this “The Mexican Moment.” However, the events in Guerrero have exposed the fallacy of this “new era” in Mexico. The system is rotten. It is hard to distinguish criminals from those who are meant to safeguard and protect the citizenry.

The real “Mexican moment” is happening now. Because today we are all coming together to say that we are done. We are done with the impunity that reigns Mexico’s political and judiciary system. We are done with the irresponsibility and lack of empathy from Mexican authorities. We are done with the random killings and disappearances. Today, todos somos ayotzinapa. We are all Ayotzinapa.