Sunday, August 14, 2016

 

Army behind Mexico's Iguala case, journalist says

The army was behind the disappearances of 43 education students two years ago, with the likely knowledge of President Enrique Peña Nieto, highlighting the network of corruption that ties together those who hold power in Mexico, journalist Francisco Cruz said in an interview with EFE.

Cruz co-authored a new book, titled "La Guerra que nos ocultan" (Planeta), with Felix Santana and Miguel Angel Alvarado, using the killing of one student, Julio Cesar Mondragon, as the starting point for a detailed investigative work that ties together drug traffickers, the mining industry and the government.

"There is a plot managed by the army, but proposed by the state," Cruz said.

The families of the 43 Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School students who disappeared on Sept. 26, 2014, have called for an investigation of the army 27th Battalion's role in the case.

The military unit has its headquarters in Iguala, a city in the southern state of Guerrero.

The calls for an investigation of the battalion have gone nowhere.

The book, however, shows that soldiers played a role in the case.

"In the voice of soldiers, we truly document" that the security control center in Iguala "was controlled by undercover soldiers," Cruz said.

Iguala municipal police officers fired gunshots at students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Normal School, a nearby teacher-training facility, on the night of Sept. 26, 2014, Mexican officials say.

Six people died that night, 25 others were wounded and 43 students were detained by police and then handed over to members of the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel.

The official version of events is that the Guerreros Unidos cartel murdered the students and cremated the remains at the dump in Cocula in an enormous fire that burned for hours.

"Masked men participated in the operation (against the students), but we don't know if they were police, narcos or soldiers, but they were being given orders by a person and moved like soldiers," Cruz said.

The order to crush the student movement, however, came from higher up, the journalist said.

"In this country, it's hard, if not impossible, for the president to not know, but anything is possible with Peña Nieto," Alvarado said.

The education students' disappearances were planned in advance and aimed at crushing grassroots movements, allowing drug traffickers to operate freely, the authors said.

The drug gangs work with the mining companies operating in the area, the journalists said.

Cooperation between drug cartels and mining companies is inevitable in states like Guerrero, Oaxaca, Chiapas and Mexico because both groups need access to the land for mining and growing opium poppies and marijuana, Cruz said.

"They have to come to an agreement, protect themselves. The drug traffickers control the miners union. And they become paramilitaries or guards. They make more money off mining," Alvarado said.

Human rights groups have questioned the official version, including a report released earlier this year by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, or IACHR, Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts, who worked for months on the case and criticized serious flaws in the investigation.

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