Three caravans of buses are rolling out across the country this week as part of an effort by the families of the missing students of Ayotzinapa to tell the country they believe their children are still alive.
The first caravan — three buses carrying family members and classmates of the missing students — departed yesterday on a 1,700-kilometer journey from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college in Tixtla, Guerrero, heading north.
The objective is to inform the public about the tragic events of September 26 and 27 in Iguala, Guerrero, when their sons were taken and six people were killed, presumably on the orders of the town’s mayor.
“We are certain they are still alive,” said spokesman Felipe de la Cruz as he boarded a bus yesterday, “and we are going to continue looking for them.”
Several dozen local residents carrying photos of the missing students gave the convoy a sendoff, shouting the phrase that has become a rallying cry: “Alive they were taken, alive we want them back!”
That first convoy will travel to Chihuahua, Durango, Zacatecas, Jalisco and Michoacán. The second was to leave today for the south, with stops in Chiapas, Oaxaca, Morelos and Tlaxcala and the third will travel tomorrow to various municipalities in Guerrero.
Parents wish to make contact with other groups that have been supportive of their campaign, gather additional supporters and develop a national plan of action.
All three caravans will unite in the Zócalo of Mexico City next Thursday, November 20.
The parents don’t believe the testimony of drug gang members who have confessed to killing a large group of people in Cocula, near Iguala, on the night of September 26. Remains of those bodies are currently en route to Austria for DNA analysis.
“They disappeared but they did not die. We want help finding them. I don’t believe anything the government says; everything they have said has been lies,” said Blanca Navas, mother of Jorge, one of the 43.