Leftist links to organized crime hinted at in violent Guerrero state
The governor was vilified by demonstrators in Mexico City on Wednesday
In statements unlikely to help his credibility, embattled Guerrero Governor Ángel Aguirre Rivero said today that 43 students who vanished after being detained by Iguala municipal police late on Sept. 26 could still be alive.
"There are plenty of reasons to believe they could still turn up alive. For that reason, we've renewed our search for them," Aguirre added.
The governor, a member of Mexico's left wing Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), has been under intense criticism since a protest by radical dissidents from the Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa two weekends ago led to a confrontation with local security forces that resulted in six dead and two dozen wounded, including several bystanders. Mexico's Guerrero state in extreme civil disorder.
The 43 missing, which included members of a football team traveling by bus from Chilpancingo, the Guerrero state capital, were taken into custody the same night and have not been heard from since. But an eyewitness claims to have seen 17 of them at a local precinct house in Iguala, from which they were removed in police vehicles to a destination unknown. The team members, whose vehicle was unmarked, may have been mistaken for outside political agitators.
Several days later authorities made a grisly discovery in a remote rural area just outside of Iguala: six newly turned mass graves which yielded 28 human remains. All the bodies were incinerated, making immediate identification impossible. DNA analysis of the charred and dismembered corpses is now underway, but it may be weeks before the entire process is completed.
Most of Mexico is operating under the assumption that the remains are those of the missing students. But in curious comments today Aguirre told the press, "I can confirm that some of the bodies recovered are not those of the normalistas." Pointedly, he stopped short of saying how many victims have been identified, and whether any of them are known to be those seized in Iguala 15 days ago.
Hours later Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam flatly contradicted Aguirre. "I don't know what information the governor claims to have. I'm monitoring this case closely, and I can tell you that none of the recovered remains have been identified."
Immediately after the Iguala shootings Gov. Aguirre acknowledged that city officials there are under the thumb of drug cartels and organized crime, as did the Guerrero state prosecutor. Iguala student protesters were killed by cartel executioners, aided by corrupt police. He admitted the mass graves probably held the normalistas, lending a tone of confusion if not desperation to his statements today.
While denying any connection to organized crime in his state, Aguirre hinted at resignation last week, "if that would help resolve the case" of the missing students. The governor may get his wish. Carlos Navarrete Ruiz, PRD's just installed national chairman, suggested the idea of a statewide referendum to determine whether voters want to keep Aguirre at the helm. His term does not end until 2015.
In the meantime, hundreds of family members await the return of the 43 - or at least confirmation of what happened to them, and why.
Oct. 23 - Guerrero Governor Ángel Aguirre quits under mounting political pressure
Oct. 18 - Arrest of Guerreros Unidos boss brings few answers in case of missing students
Mexico City march in support of the Iguala victims and their families, Wednesday, Oct 8. Photos © 2014 José Luna, MGR's photo correspondent in Mexico City.
"I don't want to live in this country anymore"
"Murderers": the State and the Catholic Church are equally complicit, these demonstrators maintained
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