Will Ayotzinapa Case Become Mexico's Political Firestorm or Will It Be Forgotten?

Fotos de algunos de los 46 estudiantes desaparecidos en Guerrero, México

Candles burn for the 46 students who have vanished in Guerrero, México, October 8, 2014. This photo courtesy of Enrique Perez Huerta. Demotix

What lies ahead for Mexico, where the discovery of mass graves in Iguala and dozens of missing school students in Ayotzinapa has led to protests and a tense national debate about law and order? The future is uncertain, but Internet users are busy now discussing what to expect tomorrow. Some say these tragedies will be forgotten with time, while others believe they might serve as catalysts for social change.

Ishtar Cardona, who participated in a march on October 8, shared these reflections on Facebook:

Pienso en cosas que me hacen temer que Ayotzinapa tiene el mismo destino que ABC: después de los gritos, el silencio…

Resentí que durante el mitin al final de la manifestación del miércoles no se hablara de un plan de acción, de un acuerdo sobre puntos a seguir y peticiones concretas entre las que se encontraran:
a) Exigir la renuncia del gobernador Angel Aguirre (la inercia de la política nacional va a permitir que no se responsabilice por lo que le corresponde en lo sucedido).
b) Exigir el esclarecimiento por parte de las autoridades judiciales de Guerrero de las circunstancias en las que se produjo la desaparición de los normalistas y aprehensión inmediata de las autoridades municipales que participaron en los hechos además del presidente municipal y su secretario de seguridad pública (funcionarios, ministerios públicos). 
c) Exigir por parte de las dirigencias nacionales de los partidos políticos la firma de un compromiso de transparencia y profesionalismo en la elección de sus candidatos a puestos de representación pública bajo supervisión ciudadana. 

Era necesario gritar nuestra rabia y arropar a los familiares de los muchachos normalistas, pero ¿y después? ¿Vamos a dejar en manos de los que no hicieron lo que tenían que hacer la solución de lo que ya pasó y puede volver a pasar? […]

Some of the things I've seen make me afraid that the end result of the Ayotzinapa incident will be the same as what we saw after ABC [Day Care Center fire in Hermosillo, Sonora]: after the protests, silence…

I felt resentful because no one mentioned a plan of action during the rally that followed Wednesday's demonstration, and no one laid out any kind of mutual agreement about the next steps to be taken or specific demands to be made, which should have included the following points:
a) A call for the resignation of Governor Angel Aguirre (the apathy of national politics will allow him to evade responsibility for issues that are clearly his fault).
b) A call for judicial authorities in Guerrero to explain the circumstances that led to the students’ disappearances, and a call for the immediate apprehension of all city officials who participated in the incident (in addition to the city's mayor and his public secretary, staff, and public prosecutors). 
c) A call for political parties’ national leaderships to sign, with citizen oversight, a commitment to transparency and professionalism in the election of their candidates to positions of public representation. 

We needed the chance to shout out our rage and to surround and protect the missing students’ family members, but what will happen now? Are we going to leave the solution to a tragedy that has already happened (and could very well happen again) in the hands of the same people who didn't do their jobs in the first place?  […]

Around the time of the mass protests, Mexico's federal government suddenly announced it had captured the well-known drug trafficker Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, aka “The Viceroy”. Independent news medium Revolución Tres Punto Cero wrote soon thereafter:

Ya no hay manera de que se sigan montando cortinas de humo con éxito, ni la captura de “el Viceroy” o la del hermano de la esposa del alcalde de Iguala ha logrado detener este descontento popular que está latente, que se deja ver en las manifestaciones, en las marchas que se están llevando a cabo en todo el país y que marcan como un detonante lo ocurrido con los 43 estudiantes de Ayotzinapa. Este caso ha unificado, como no se veía desde hace años, a los ciudadanos quienes ven incrementada su insatisfacción con el gobierno y los partidos políticos […]

The creation of smokescreens will no longer work; the captures of “the Viceroy” and the brother-in-law of the mayor of Iguala have not been successful in quieting the smoldering popular unrest that is becoming evident in the demonstrations and marches that are taking place throughout the country and marking what happened with the 43 students in Ayotzinapa as a catalytic event. This case has unified citizens in a way not seen in many years as they sense a growing dissatisfaction with their government and its political parties […]

Some Twitter users have noticed suspicious activity online that they attribute to pro-government bots. The accounts in question echo the state's concerns that social unrest surrounding the Iguala case might threaten foreign investments in Mexico.

So who put this machinery in motion? Who is paying for this?

The tragedies in Mexico have changed the political landscape, as well. Faith in Guerrero's governor and elusive mayor of Iguala has slipped, and their political party faces grim prospects in the next elections.

The #PRD was expecting a victory in the next elections…but the #PRD is finished.

Others have turned their disappointment on President Enrique Peña Nieto:

#Ayotzinapa is not stumbling into oblivion, it is not just spinning in its painful reality. @EPN [Enrique Peña Nieto] will pass into history as the president who couldn't do his job.

So far, the government has spoken out against violence and has promised to bring justice. There are now accusations, however, that the state's investigations have become “chaotic and hostile“, and that the authorities leading the inquest have obstructed the work of international experts. In fact, Mexican officials have contradicted each other quite glaringly on several occasions.

From the official Twitter account of the governor of Guerrero:

Some of the bodies discovered, according to expert reports, are not those of the students from #Ayotzinapa.

#OJO PGR [Mexico's Attorney General] contradicts @AngelAguirreGro: ‘the identities of the bodies cannot be confirmed,’ says #Ayotzinapa

Family members cherish the hope that their loved ones will return. In the meantime, however, they're left waiting for official confirmation about whether any of the tortured remains now being identified match the students kidnapped by narcotics police. If the mass grave turns out to contain the missing students, Mexico will find out if the tension now in the air is enough to cause a large-scale political firestorm.


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