One year after the disappearance and alleged killing of Mexican students, the families of the 43 missing demanded that President Enrique Pena Nieto launch a review of the country’s investigation process after an international group revealed that there are gaps and discrepancies in the official incident interpretation.
Parents of the kidnapped students met with the President to present their demands that his Cabinet will now review.
“I feel very hopeless because the government did not give us a response,” said Cristina Bautista, mother of a disappeared student. “From the experts we have gotten a lot, from Pena Nieto, nothing,” she said.
The frustration from parents was evident:
“It was a requirement to go and see him,” Cesar Gonzalez, father of one of the students said. “Unfortunately… the government has never given us anything besides psychological blows.”
An international panel of human rights professionals published a report that rejects the official Mexican government’s case interpretation. While Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam said in early 2015 when he declared the cased closed that the local police were ordered to go after the students in fear of them interrupting the mayor’s wife speech. The international panel reports that the speech was already over when the students arrived in the town and that it is not possible that the bodies were incinerated in the timeframe described by the officials.
Over the last 8 years more than 25,000 people have disappeared in Mexico. The case of the 43 missing students incident brought the issue back into the spotlight. After the meeting with the students’ parents, the President has pledged to assign a special prosecutor unit for the country’s missing people. Alejandro Hope, a security analyst, commented on the lackluster response by the government:
“Even in an iconic case where the reputation of the Mexican government was at stake, where a lot of resources were deployed to solve the case, what you see is a very primitive form of investigation,” he said. “It has gotten increasingly confusing as to why [the attack] happened.”
The international panel says that federal security personnel were closely following students on the day and were also present at the site of attack, yet the government didn’t question them.
The president’s spokesman, Eduardo Sanchez, said that in the closed-door meeting the President rejected parents’ demands for investigating involved officials for obstruction of justice. The President, however, promised to collect a group of experts to investigate the Cocula dump and pledged to continue with the investigation for another six months.
“We’re on the same side. You and I are seeking the same thing: to know what happened to each and every one of your sons,” Pena Nieto said.
Reuters reports that the public doesn’t believe officials are able to conduct a fair investigation.
Nieto has also faced questions over his credibility despite he and the Finance Minister having recently been absolved from any wrongdoing regarding home purchases from public contractors.