The following is PhD Candidate/Spanish TA, Edith Beltran’s, reflection on the November 20th teleconfernece with the University of Chicago’s Aurturo Cano and Benjamin Lessing on the events in Ayotzinapa, Mexico
On November 20, 2014, the University of Chicago hosted a teleconference moderated by Latin America(n) Matters and led by Arturo Cano, journalist of Mexican newspaper La Jornada and Benjamin Lessing, Assistant Professor of the University of Chicago, for a discussion about the events in Ayotzinapa, Mexico. It was attended by several UW-Madison graduate students and faculty.
On September 26, 2014 in Ayotzinapa, state police shot at three buses full of rural students and teachers, killing 3 students and 3 people passing by. The police then took the buses kidnapping 43 students. The next day, the body of one of the students, Julio César Mondragón Fuentes, was thrown in the middle of a busy street. His face and eyes had been torn out.
Today, December 5, 2014, 71 days later, the 43 students are still missing.
Arturo Cano and Benjamin Lessing discussion was centered on the collusion of the Mexican State in the disappearances of the students. There have been many irregularities in the process. Arturo Cano pointed out one of them: the landfill where the authorities claimed the 43 students were burned on September 26 has been tampered with. The photographs from October 26-28 do not show the evidence of the remains of the huge pyre considered necessary to burn so many people; however these marks are clear by the pictures taken after November 10.
The question asked was why would the authorities do this?
The Mexican people need international help in pressuring the Mexican government to find the disappeared men, women, and children; to stop the assassinations of innocent people; and not to crack down peaceful protests. Officially, there are 22,433 people who have disappeared in 2014 and Ayotzinapa is far from a unique event. This affects not only Mexico, but US citizens as well. Between January and June of 2014, nearly 70 kidnappings of U.S. citizens were reported to the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico.
According to official statements: there have been 57,899 murders related to the Drug War during Peña Nieto’s administration (December 2012 to August 2014). This number does not include any of the open graves nor the disappeared.
As a result of this discussion on November 20, we have decided to form a Student Organization, AXOLOTE [a.xo.lo.te] Group of Mexican Students and Friends. Axolote will be an organization responsible for the planning of activities related to raising awareness and bring visibility and support to the socio-political situation of current Mexican issues. The mission is to promote cultural and social awareness of Human Rights violations and sponsor International support amongst the entire student body, faculty, and staff of our university. On campus, we aim to raise awareness, hold events, and take action to end violations of human rights.
AXOLOTE is a multicultural student group. Anybody and everybody is welcome to become a member, however 75% of the members will always be UW-Madison students and LACIS graduate students will be strongly encouraged to be officers.
If you would like to participate, or have ideas for projects, we are looking for you! Please email Nora Díaz (firstname.lastname@example.org), Adela Cedillo (email@example.com), or Denise Castillo (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to be involved.
They took them alive, we want them back alive
The names of the missing students are the following:
- Abel García Hernández 22. Jorge Álvarez Nava
- Abelardo Vázquez Periten 23. Jorge Aníbal Cruz Mendoza
- Adán Abrajan de la Cruz 24. Jorge Antonio Tizapa Legideño
- Alexander Mora Venancio 25. Jorge Luis González Parral
- Antonio Santana Maestro 26. José Ángel Campos Cantor
- Benjamín Ascencio Bautista 27. José Ángel Navarrete González
- Carlos Iván Ramírez Villarreal 28. José Eduardo Bartolo Tlatempa
- Carlos Lorenzo Hernández Muñoz 29. José Luis Luna Torres
- César Manuel González Hernández 30. Joshvani Guerrero de la Cruz
- Christian Alfonso Rodríguez Telumbre 31. Julio César López Patolzin
- Christian Tomas Colon Garnica 32. Julio César Ramírez Nava
- Cutberto Ortiz Ramos 33. Leonel Castro Abarca
- Dorian González Parral 34. Luis Ángel Abarca Carrillo
- Emiliano Alen Gaspar de la Cruz 35. Luis Ángel Francisco Arzola
- Everardo Rodríguez Bello 36. Magdaleno Rubén Lauro Villegas
- Felipe Arnulfo Rosas 37. Marcial Pablo Baranda
- Giovanni Galindes Guerrero 38. Marco Antonio Gómez Molina
- Israel Caballero Sánchez 39. Martín Getsemany Sánchez García
- Israel Jacinto Lugardo 40. Mauricio Ortega Valerio
- Jesús Jovany Rodríguez Tlatempa 41. Miguel Ángel Hernández Martínez
- Jonas Trujillo González 42. Miguel Ángel Mendoza Zacarías 43. Saúl Bruno García