Mexico Is Ready to Explode: Fifty thousand marchers thronged Mexico City's main avenues last Wednesday, and demonstrations took place all over the country... protesters set fire to state headquarters in Chilpancingo, Guerrero's capital, and are sacking supermarkets and shopping centers
Mexico has been profoundly shaken by atrocities and high-level corruption in Guerrero. The earthquake's epicenter is Iguala, the state's third largest city.
Fifty thousand marchers thronged Mexico City's main avenues last Wednesday, and demonstrations took place all over the country. More than 80 delegates to the Inter-University Assembly have called for a nationwide halt to all educational activities on Nov. 5, and are asking other social groups to join them. Protesters set fire to state headquarters in Chilpancingo, Guerrero's capital, and are sacking supermarkets and shopping centers.
Here are the events that sparked the earthquake:
On Sept. 26, María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, wife of Iguala's Mayor José Luis Abarca, of the left-leaning Party of the Democratic Revolution, was in the main square giving a speech about her accomplishments as head of the municipal social services agency, and it was rumored that she would announce her candidacy to succeed her husband as mayor in next June's election, since she is also a state PRD official.
Just as she was beginning, two busloads of students from the notoriously radical rural teachers' college in nearby Ayotzinapa, who had come to town to raise money to supplement their meager 50 peso daily allowance, headed for Iguala's central square. According to the Federal Attorney General's Office, the mayor ordered the local police chief to stop them. After a minor clash with police the students "borrowed" three buses from the local bus station to return to Ayotzinapa and later travel to this year's march in Mexico City commemorating the October 2, 1968 massacre in Tlatelolco, and were driving out of town when they were sprayed with machine gun fire by police and gunmen from the Guerrero Unidos (United Warriors) cartel.
Three students died, as well as a soccer player in a bus bringing a third division team to town that was also fired on, a taxi driver and his female passenger. One student who panicked and ran off when his classmates were rounded up by police and gang members was later found dead, his eyes gouged out and face flensed with a box cutter, in an act of gratuitous violence. Forty-three students were bundled into police cars and have disappeared.
Pineda's family had been working with the Beltrán Leyva, Sinaloa and Guerreros Unidos cartels for years, two of her brothers were gunned down in gang violence, another served time in jail, and a recently captured leader of Guerreros Unidos identified her as "the key operator" of criminal activity in and around Iguala. The Abarcas have not been seen since the mayor hastily requested a leave of absence, and perhaps they are already in one of the burial pits.
Official statements that the 38 bodies found so far in 10 makeshift mass graves are not the students have exacerbated rather than calmed public anger, as now the other question is, who are these trussed up, tortured, headless or charred corpses? Will there be an investigation to find the perpetrators? Or will time be allowed to pass until public indignation subsides, and these cases will join the roughly 98 percent of unsolved homicides in the country that have been swept under a rug as high as the Pico de Orizaba, Mexico's tallest mountain? On Oct. 27, information given by four people arrested early in the day led to the discovery of another clandestine graveholding human remains in the municipal garbage dump in Cocula, whose mayor and police force were arrested two weeks ago.
A month after the Iguala atrocities, officials are bogged down in a quagmire of contradictory information and paralysis in the punishment of those responsible for the disappearance of the 43 students.
The collapse of the PRD in Guerrero, where Angel Aguirre, the governor who migrated from the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party to the PRD just in time to be elected, has been forced to take an indefinite leave of absence, comes after revelations of multi-million dollar irregularities in the construction of a new subway line in Mexico City during the administration of former PRD mayor Marcelo Ebrard, and ongoing violence in the PRD-governed state of Morelos, where the capital city of Cuernavaca and other towns live under the volcano in a climate of kidnappings and executions at the hands of the Beltran Leyva and Guerrero Unido cartels.