Caravans for Disappeared Ayotzinapa Students Arrive in Chiapas and Chihuahua
Proceso, 14th November, 2014
San Cristóbal de las Casas – On Friday, the caravans of parents and students from the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa arrived in Chiapas and Chihuahua to report what is happening regarding the 43 disappeared students. Aboard four buses, parents and student departed yesterday from Tixtla, Guerrero, bound for destinations in the south and north of the country.
These cities were the first stops on their way to the Zócalo in Mexico City, where they will meet on November 20 [marks start of Mexican Revolution, 1910] to demand from the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto the safe return of the normal school students.
In the South: Chiapas
The "Daniel Solis Gallardo" Brigade (in memory of one of the normal school students who died on September 26) reached Tuxtla Gutiérrez and San Cristóbal de las Casas. In this city, participants called on civil society organizations, teachers and students not to take even one step back and join forces to build a new national movement "to change everything from below."
At the Plaza of the Resistance, representatives of the "Raúl Isidro Burgos" Rural Normal School asserted that "as our Zapatista brothers have said, it is time to organize a movement from below, to change the entire structure of government and make justice by our own hands."
They met with civil society organizations at the University of the Earth, where they ate and rested.
After marching several miles from the Soriana Commercial Plaza (which closed all their doors for fear of the student demonstration), about 3,000 students filed into the central square of the city with banners, signs and slogans. On their way through the streets of the city, they received the applause of men and women.
"Alive they were taken, alive we want them back!" and "Ayotzinapa, hang in there, Chiapas is rising up!" are among the slogans that followed them up to the square.
At the rally, two women spoke whose sons are among the 43 disappeared. They said that they are not afraid now and are prepared to go to the ultimate consequences to find them, because although the government says that they are dead, they have "a hunch" that they are still alive.
The women charged that the federal government "simulates" the search for the youths, because the police "just walk around like morons" in the streets of Iguala. According to the speakers, the government at all three levels together with the gunmen "are responsible for the disappearance of our sons."
Furthermore, they said that Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam, "lies and has lied in all his investigations and statements."
They asserted: "We don’t believe them, now we are going to take justice into our own hands. We said to him (Miguel Ángel) Osorio Chong [Secretary of Government Relations, SEGOB], ‘If you want war, war you are going to have’. "We have no fear. We have nothing to lose now."
Before a crowd that applauded and shouted slogans to the members of the "Daniel Solis Gallardo" Brigade, Omar García, a survivor of the police attack in Iguala, called on those present to join forces because "if we back down, the government and their police and military forces and paramilitaries are going to disappear us all. Not one step back."
Excited by the people’s response, he said "nothing is going to change if (Enrique) Peña Nieto resigns, if the governor or mayors resign. What needs to change is the structure from below."
As our Zapatista brothers have already said, he said, "from here in Chiapas, from below everything has to change. We must change the structures, the foundations of the government, to have a government with identity in the people of Mexico and not a corrupt government that breeds crime and impunity." He warned that "this movement is not going to stop."
Manuel de Jesús Mendoza Vásquez, a spokesman and leader of the National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers (CNTE) called for a "teacher insurgency" for November 20: "We must all take to the streets. Let’s tell all the teachers and students that these are not times for parades. These are times to go out to march, to turn out to protest and demand justice and an end to impunity."
Víctor Hugo López Rodríguez, director of the Fray Bartolome de Las Casas Human Rights Center, read the group statement of all the civil organizations that showed their support and their demand for the safe return of the 43 disappeared.
On Sunday, the "Daniel Solis Gallardo" Brigade will meet with EZLN commanders and members of the Committees for Good Government. At 6:00 p.m., they will hold a press conference and then travel to Tuxtla, where on Sunday they will hold another march and rally. After the rally, the Brigade will set out for Oaxaca.
In the North: Chihuahua
The Brigade arrived at the Rural Normal School of Saucillo, Chihuahua, to participate in various activities planned for Saturday in the capital city.
Coming from Guerrero, relatives of the disappeared students and students of that institution, will participate in a march at 3:00 p.m. setting out from the Francisco Villa traffic circle for the Plaza de Armas accompanied by civil society organizations, students and teachers, including people from Chihuahua.
Prior to the march there will be a meeting with the families of disappeared persons, who will report the situation they have lived through since September 26.
From Chihuahua, the Brigade will depart for Durango, followed by Zacatecas, Jalisco and Michoacán, arriving at the Federal District on November 20, to join the national march. (With information from Patricia Mayorga)
Translated by Jane Brundage