Sunday, June 16, 2024

López Obrador will meet with the parents of missing Ayotzinapa students

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Thursday that he would meet with the parents of the 43 Mexican students who were abducted and presumably killed in the state of Guerrero in 2014, but expressed a preference for dialogue without the presence of lawyers and representatives of human rights organizations.

The parents of the 43 Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College students have been calling for a meeting with the president in recent weeks. Lopez Obrador has met with the missing students’ parents on previous occasions, as recently as last fall.

Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador standing at a podium in the National Palace
President López Obrador has accused lawyers and human rights activists of “manipulating” the parents of the Ayotzinapa 43.(Presidente.gob)

“I want to talk to [the parents],” López Obrador said at his Thursday morning press conference in Oaxaca.

Almost 10 years after their sons disappeared, there is still no certainty about what happened to the young men, despite two successive governments’ promises to get to the bottom of the case.

Speaking at his morning press conference, López Obrador said he was waiting for the parents to respond to his offer to speak to them “without the lawyers and without their advisors from the organizations that supposedly defend human rights.”

He said he would still meet with them if they insist on being accompanied by lawyers and human rights representatives, but he made clear that it wasn’t his preference.

Ayotzinapa students' fathers posing with Mexico's Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal, one holding a poster of his son
The parents of the Ayotzinapa 43 have recently put pressure on the president to meet with them, holding demonstrations in Mexico City this month. Last week, the group met with Senate Majority Leader Ricardo Monreal. (Andrea Murcia/Cuartoscuro)

“They are older, sensible people and I want to give them information that I’m certain their lawyers and advisors haven’t given them,” the president said. “I want them to know what’s been happening with the investigation. They don’t have to end up believing me; the only thing I want is for them to know my point of view.”

López Obrador claimed earlier this month that human rights organizations opposed to his government were “manipulating” the parents, as well as current Ayotzinapa student protesters who used a pickup truck to break open wooden doors at the National Palace on March 6.

There have been countless protests across Mexico since the 43 students disappeared on Sept. 26, 2014, during the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto.

Almost a decade after the tragedy, there is a growing sense that the case won’t be resolved during López Obrador’s six-year term, even though he pledged from the first days of his presidency to conduct a new investigation that would arrive at the “truth” about what happened.

Mexico’s government last offered a significant update on its investigation last September when it published a report outlining three “possible reasons” for the abduction of the young men.

The previous government’s version of events — the so-called “historical truth” — has been  widely discredited by both national and international sources. Certain aspects of that version, however, such as the alleged involvement in the crime by the Guerreros Unidos gang and municipal police, do align with the López Obrador administration’s findings.

Over 100 people, including army personnel and police, have been arrested in connection with the students’ disappearance, but no one has yet faced trial and numerous suspects have been released from preventive detention. The remains of just three of the 43 students have been found and formally identified.

López Obrador said Thursday that authorities are searching for the missing students “like never” before, and without offering details asserted that progress has been made.

Despite what he described as the government’s efforts, the president said there is “a lot of hostility from the lawyers and the human rights organizations,” citing the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Organization of American States.

“There are political interests. … They’re using this regrettable case to gain an advantage, but they’re not going to gain anything at all,” said López Obrador, who took office four years after the Ayotzinapa students disappeared.

“… There are people who don’t really want justice to be served,” he said. “There are people who live off managing conflicts, who profit from human pain,” he said.

With reports from Milenio and El Economista 

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