MEXICO CITY – At least 200 people made a pilgrimage on Wednesday to the Guadalupe Basilica in the Mexican capital to mark the passage of 51 months since the abduction and likely murder of 43 students from Ayotzinapa teachers college in the southern state of Guerrero.
Members of grassroots organizations accompanied the parents and other relatives of the missing young men on the procession to the symbolic center of devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Salvador Rangel, the bishop of Chilpancingo, Guerrero, welcomed the pilgrims and offered a homily in remembrance of the students.
Bearing large photographs of their sons, the parents chanted slogans and articulated other criticism of former President Enrique Peña Nieto, whose administration’s official account of the events has been discredited by international experts.
The relatives expressed their confidence in the mechanisms adopted by the new leftist government led by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who weeks ago ordered the formation of an Ayotzinapa truth commission.
This commission will include relatives of the students, officials and experts who will form an autonomous working group.
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 Iguala, Guerrero, after they commandeered buses (a traditional practice) to travel to Mexico City for a protest.
Six people – including three students – were killed, 25 were injured and 43 students were abducted.
The Peña Nieto government said 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.
The undersecretary of human rights, Alejandro Encinas, who will head the new investigation, said that he plans to build on the findings of the independent investigators who thoroughly debunked the official story of the crime.