MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador pledged on Wednesday in a meeting with the parents of the 43 Ayotzinapa students who disappeared five years ago this month that the army will hand over all of the information it has on the case.
The president likewise promised to meet every two months with the families to keep them abreast of developments in the probe.
Lopez Obrador told the parents that the armed forces will deliver all of the relevant information to enable the Attorney General’s Office to “conduct a much closer and more agile oversight of the investigation,” Santiago Aguirre, director of the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights Center, said at a subsequent press conference.
“We have reached a point where if those obstructing the investigation are not criminally charged, the impunity pacts that today prevent us for discovering the whereabouts of the students will not be shattered,” Aguirre said.
One of the attorneys representing the families said that the encounter with the president was informal, allowing “the free exchange of questions and answers.”
The parents told Lopez Obrador that “nearly 10 months into his government there is not much clarity when it comes to concrete progress,” Vidulfo Rosales said.
In two meetings this year with the parents’ representatives, the army has provided nothing beyond what was already in the case file, according to Rosales.
“We expect the president to exercise his function of supreme commander and the armed forces to turn over all the information they have,” Aguirre said.
On the night of Sept. 26, 2014, students from the Ayotzinapa Normal School, a rural all-male teacher training college known for its leftist activism, were attacked in the city of Iguala after they had commandeered buses to travel to Mexico City for a protest.
Six people – including three students – were killed, 25 were injured and 43 students were abducted and are presumed dead.
The administration of then-President Enrique Peña Nieto concluded that the students were killed by a local drug gang after being abducted by municipal cops acting on the orders of Iguala’s corrupt mayor, and that their bodies were incinerated at a waste dump in the nearby town of Cocula.
Almost every element of the official account has been shredded.
Mexican and international experts concluded that the bodies could not have been disposed of in that way, while leaked reports from the AG Office established the involvement of federal police and military personnel in the Iguala violence.
Some of the Ayotzinapa parents spoke at Wednesday’s press conference.
When the leftist Lopez Obrador took office last Dec. 1, the families expected a quick resolution to the case, yet things have not worked out that way.
“The AG Office has slowed down the process a little, they delayed in naming the (special) prosecutor, but we hope that with this meeting we’ve had with the president the investigations will advance more rapidly,” Hilda Legideño said.
“The wound remains open, it goes on hurting,” another parent, Emiliano Navarrete, said, his voice choked with emotion.