The investigation into the terrible events of Iguala of September 2014 by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has been concluded. It isn’t clear, one year later, what happened to 42 of the missing Ayotzinapa students (the remains of one of the original 43 have already been identified).
The conclusions of the investigative group concur with some of those reached by the Attorney General’s office (PGR), including, among others, that the students decided to go to Iguala when their leaders instructed them to go to the Guerrero state capital of Chilpancingo.
The purpose of the trip was to hijack buses for a later trip to Mexico City. Upon the students’ arrival in Iguala, the municipal police were informed and warned that they might create a conflict at an event headed by the wife of the mayor. Both investigations also agreed that the students headed for the town’s bus terminal and once there, hijacked two more buses.
It was at this crucial point that the municipal police, using extreme violence, confronted the students, apparently under direct orders from a third party. It was then that the spiral of violence that left four students dead and 43 more missing began.
Both investigations record the events hour by hour. The big difference is that the conclusion reached by the PGR was that the students had been handed over to the criminal organization Guerreros Unidos, who then transported them to a remote location. There, they were murdered and then incinerated in a ravine at the Cocula dump. The remains were then triturated and disposed of in trash bags in a nearby river.
The most recent report rejects the Cocula incineration hypothesis, but doesn’t share an alternative theory of what might have happened to the students. It does recognize that some of the incinerated remains correspond to one of the 43.
Two international specialists consulted independently by the newspaper Milenio agree that the massive incineration could have been possible even without large quantities of fuel.
A fifth hijacked bus was mentioned early during the investigations and then apparently forgotten. Presumably, it was ”loaded” with drugs, and its presence could have provoked the extreme and cruel reaction of the criminal group.
What both investigations forgot was the declaration given by Father Alejandro Solalinde, who just a few days after the tragedy said he had received information that the students had been delivered to a criminal group, which had murdered and cremated them. Who told him? Was it, perhaps, during someone’s confession?
It isn’t publicly known, either, if the parents of the missing students, the principal of the Ayotzinapa school, or the student leaders had been asked to make a statement. The leaders were the ones who organized the activities on that fateful night, and they could reveal just what was the missing students’ original plan.
A new group of experts will now be created, including nationals and foreigners, and under the supervision of the PGR and the National Human Rights Commission will continue the investigations until a resolution is reached.
The nightmare continues and many, sadly, keep taking advantage of the tragedy.
We all want to find out the truth, and we might still find many surprises along the way.
Armando González is a journalist and broadcaster who lives in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca.