Shot, burned in a garbage dump and thrown into a muddy river in black plastic bags. That was the fate of the 43 missing student teachers, known as normalistas in Spanish, who vanished on September 26, 2014, according to Mexico's federal attorney general on November 7.
Jesus Murillo Karam‘s words were met with disbelief, anger and indignation not only by the students’ families, but also by people throughout Mexico and the world because they rely on the confessions of three drug cartel hit men, not conclusive evidence — human remains discovered near a landfill based on their information haven't been identified yet.
The parents of the missing Ayotzinapa students still hold out hope of finding them alive, and have stated that they do not believe the version given by Mexican authorities.
“We want to say that, as the families, we do not accept the declaration, because there is no certainty that it is true … We want information. Until then we hope that they are alive. We are going to continue looking for the youths and we demand the government intensify the search for the youths,” said one mother.
The lack of concrete evidence hasn't gone unnoticed by media outlets and Internet users, who have criticized the government's actions. J. Hernández Barros, who is an attorney and member of the independent Executive Commission for Victims’ Assistance, tweeted:
En caso Ayotzinapa si no existe certeza de muerte, la búsqueda de los jóvenes debe realizarse con presunción de vida http://t.co/W7QTOAyyqU
— J. Hernández Barros (@juliohbarros) November 8, 2014
In the Ayotzinapa case, if death is not certain, the search for the young people must continue under the assumption that they are alive
According to Murillo Karam, the confessions of the three hit men working for the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel appear to prove that the 43 missing Mexican students were killed on the night of September 26 in a municipal garbage dump in Cocula, in the southern state of Guerrero, after being taken there by police officers acting under the orders of Iguala Mayor Jose Luis Abarca. Abarca had ordered that the students, who were traveling in four vehicles, be stopped from coming into the town and disrupting a speech by his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, authorities said.
Students from the Center for Economic Teaching and Research (Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas) took aim at Murillo Karam's statement, news and analysis website Animal Politico reported:
— AnimalPolitico.com (@Pajaropolitico) November 8, 2014
“It's worrying that Karam's statement about Ayotzinapa is based on confessions”
Murillo Karam ended his hour-long press conference on Friday with the phrase, “No more questions. I'm tired of this.” His comments were seized upon by critics of the government's handling of the tragedy, with the hashtag #YaMeCanse (I'm tired), which trended on Twitter. Comments included “I'm tired of fear,” “I'm tired of living in a murderous country,” and “I'm tired of corruption and impunity.”
Algunos ejemplos en Twitter
— Juan Yves Palomar (@JuanYvesPalomar) November 8, 2014
I am tired of a bad government. It's time to demonstrate that society aspires to a transformation #ItWasTheState
Mexican actor Hector Suarez Gomis also joined the online protest:
I am tired of this “strange enemy” who our National Anthem talks about, it's the political class who have devoted themselves to treading on and bleeding the country.
The hashtag had also inspired demonstrations in the street on November 8 in Mexico City's main plaza Zócalo.
— 132Global (@Global132) November 8, 2014
Just minutes before the start of the flashmob in el Zocalo #MexicoCity #IAmTired
The intense destruction of the remains in the fire makes it difficult to extract DNA that would allow for identification, so authorities are putting their last hopes in a specialized laboratory in Austria. It is not known how long the process could take.
Follow our in-depth coverage: Bring Back Mexico's Missing #Ayotzinapa Students