The Body of Julio Cesar Mondragon Fontes of Ayotzinapa has been Exhumed.
“We have opened the earth
To find your body
We have reopened the wound
To fight for justice
We have splintered memories
To find hope.”
Mexico City, November 8 2015.- On November 4, the body of Julio Cesar Mondragon Fontes was exhumed; student at the normal school of Ayotzinapa, he was extrajudicially executed on the night of July 26, 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero. In the morning of November 4, the Face of Julio Collective issued the following statement:
- The exhumation of the remains of Julio Cesar Mondragon Fontes was not an initiative of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) nor of any other official body; it is an achievement of the struggle by the Mondragon family and all thosewho have supported us.
- The autopsy of Julio’s body will be carried out by 7 members of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, in whom we have full confidence.
- Almost 30 investigators and public officials will also participate in the exhumation. We demand that no organizations of State power interfere with or block the work of the EAAF.
San Miguel Tecomatlan, the state of Mexico, November 8, 2015.- The body of Julio Cesar Mondragon Fuentes, student of the Rural Normal School Raul Isidro Burgos, in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero was exhumed. Julio Cesar Mondragon Fuentes was tortured and extrajudicially executed on September 26, 2014. To date it is unknown who killed him and why he was the victim of such cruelty.
The body of Julio Cesar was found by soldiers on September 27, 2014. They were the ones who advised the Prosecutor’s Office in Iguala, Guerrero, and they were also present to observe the raising of the cadaver. The autopsy carried out in Iguala was performed unprofessionally and without any rigor; it concluded that Julio’s face had been removed by local wild life. The authorities of the state of Guerrero paid no attention to the clear signs of torture present on the body.
It is clear that the investigation carried out by the Prosecutor’s Office of Guerrero was replete with errors, omissions and faults, all of which have been documented by the Independent Group of Experts of the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights (GIEI).
The authorities at all three levels of government have failed to properly investigate the events of September 26 and 27th in Iguala. The authorities have only been forced to act by the families of the victims and the citizens who have supported us. If there have been advances, gratitude is not owed to the authorities but to the organized displays of solidarity by citizens. This is the context in which the remains of Julio are to be exhumed. We state clearly: this is not an initiative of the Attorney General of the Republic nor of any other official body, but of the family of Julio, and the citizens who have accompanied us in over a year of struggle.
We began the struggle for justice immediately following the tragedy, but beginning in March of 2015, we initiated an uncompromising legal struggle to clarify what happened to Julio and to determine who was responsible. The legal aspect of the struggle has constantly come up against obstacles and setbacks. In March there was a strike by the employees of the Judiciary of Guerrero. The strike lasted for two months, during which time none of the proceedings could advance.
In May of 2015, after overcoming several bureaucratic hurdles, the legal representation of the Mondragon family obtained a copy of the case documents. Therein was to be found the story that Julio’s face had been devoured by “local wildlife”. On February 26, the PGR announced with great fanfare the detention of the suspected murderer of Julio, a lone assassin. This was an attempt to sweep the matter under the rug, to create the public impression that the matter had been solved.
However, the presumed assassin was exonerated of the charges one month later. The deficiencies of the investigation are documented in the observations of the Independent Group of Experts of the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights.
On August 27, 2015, a formal request was made to exhume the remains of Julio Cesar Mondragon Fontes. The decision was painful and difficult, but necessary to uncover the truth. With this goal in mind, and from that moment on, dozens of proceedings have been initiated in the cities of Iguala, Toluca, Tecomatlan and in the Federal District. Here again the law has not been swift or judicious. The entire process has been marked by a common denominator of delays, indolence and inaction by the members of law enforcement, who are responsible for the incoherent investigation.
Things are so bad that it was not until mid-September that a date was finally set for the exhumation: it was scheduled for September 30. It did not take place. On September 23 the authorities of the state of Mexico, where Julio Cesar’s remains lie, solicited that the exhumation be delayed because the multiple case proceedings required several notifications be issued and these could not been carried out in the time required. In addition to victimizing the family once again, this delay resulted in additional economic costs for the international experts, who were forced to change their travel arrangements for their trip to Mexico.
Finally in October the current District Attorney publicly announced the date for exhumation. We were not consulted to determine if we wanted the date to be announced publicly. We were not consulted even though this process is very painful.
The exhumation will be carried out by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF), which have been legally named as the auxiliary investigators of the Julio Cesar Mondragon Flores family. The members of the GIEI will participate as observers. In both we place our trust for these proceedings.
The PGR will provide the installations of the General Administration of Investigative Services for the realization of the required examinations; their team of investigators will also be made available. In total there was 22 investigators participating in the exhumation, of which only 7 belong to the EAAF.
Other institutions will participate directly or indirectly in the exhumation, among them investigators and officials of the PGR, the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), the State Commission on Human Rights of the state of Mexico, the Executive Commission for Attention to Victims (CEAV), the Judiciary of the state of Guerrero, the Judiciary of the state of Mexico, and the Government of the Federal District.
First and foremost we state that we will not allow interference with the work of the EAAF and we will immediately denounce any obstacles or poor management by the Mexican State. We demand that the State keep the results of the investigation confidential. Once we know the results of the investigation we will decide how to proceed. We wish to publicly express our appreciation for all of the organizations, collectives, journalists, activists and citizens of the whole world who have shown support for this struggle.
Without these valuable people the case of Julio Cesar Mondragon Fontes would have been forgotten. In our grief and struggle, we wish to embrace all of you. In particular, we embrace the families of the 43, and of those who were fallen on that tragic night, and to the wounded and to their families. Your pain is ours, and your struggle too.
Today the biography of Julio Cesar Mondragon Fontes will be published. It has been written on the basis of the testimonials of his family, friends and mates. We want society to know the kind of person Julio was; we wish to cleanse his name of all the slander lately brought against him.
We say once again that Julio was not the young man whose face was removed. He was a student at a normal school, a tireless worker, a loving husband, a dedicated father, a happy son, a strong nephew, a rebel friend, a bright grandson, and a true brother.