Source: Vancouver Media Coop
The forty three students disappeared by municipal police in Iguala, Guerrero on September 26, 2014, are still missing. As much as the state wants to put a lid on the protests, families and fellow students of the missing young men refuse to accept the official version, and have vowed to continue searching until they find the 43 alive.
The government of Mexico is facing the largest crisis of legitimacy since the war on drugs started in December, 2006. One of the chants at the marches is “It wasn’t narcos, it was the state!” This is a common sentiment, and one which undermines the state’s ability to produce hegemonic discourse with regards to what happened to the students.
The state is trying to lay the blame for the disappearances at the feet of a few bad apples (the mayor of Iguala, his wife, and two dozen local police) and so called criminal groups (like Guerreros Unidos). On Friday, Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam announced that the students were probably dead, their bodies burned and placed in bags, even though there is no proof of identity of the bodies allegedly found in the bags. Murillo Karam then made the following claim:
In this context, the now detained Sidronio Casarruvias Salgado, leader of [Guerreros Unidos], as he states in his declaration, was contacted by his boss Gildardo López Astudillo, known as el Gil, who told him via cellphone message about the conflicts taking place in Iguala, attributing them to a rival crime group. Casarruvias Salgado was who approved the actions in order to ‘defend his territory.’
The goal here is to present the disappearance of the students as an event which was carried out by individual actors completely independent of the state. Murillo Karam here implies that the students were mistaken by a crime group as belonging to another crime group, which is why they were disappeared. But make no mistake, it was the state. It was police officers who killed six people on September 26, including torturing one youth to death, peeling his face off and leaving his body on display for all to see. It was police who detained the youth and police in cooperation with a local paramilitary group who disappeared the students.