Independent inquiry says Mexican government botched investigation of the murder of 43 students
A team of international experts investigating the disappearance and presumed death of 43 students in Mexico last year say that the Mexican government's report on the massacre is full of holes. While the experts don't specifically point the finger at the Mexican government, they make it clear that their investigation into the murders was incomplete and possibly corrupted.
Commissioned by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and conducted by respected investigators from Chile, Colombia, Guatemala and Spain, the report blasts holes in the Mexican government's central claim that the students were burned to ashes in the nearby town of Cocula.
"That event never took place," one of the investigators, Carlos Beristain, told reporters on Sunday, citing evidence from the site. "There should be a refocusing of the investigation based on these facts."
The parents of the victims cheered the report, and vowed not to let up on the government until their children are found, adding their faith is with the independent experts and they no longer trusted official investigators.
"We've had enough of the government's crap," Mario Cesar Gonzalez, the father of one of the missing students, said at a press conference. "We're poor, but we're not stupid."
Mexico Attorney General Arely Gomez said she would seek a new probe to ascertain whether the missing students were in fact burned in the dump, adding that the government will extend the stay of the independent experts so they can keep investigating.
On Twitter, Peña Nieto thanked the IACHR for its report, and said the government would analyze the findings and incorporate them into its investigation.
"This report provides an utterly damning indictment of Mexico's handling of the worst human rights atrocity in recent memory," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas Director at Human Rights Watch. "Even with the world watching and with substantial resources at hand, the authorities proved unable or unwilling to conduct a serious investigation."
So far, only one of the missing students has been identified from the badly charred remains found at the dump.
Peña Nieto's government says the students were abducted by corrupt local police, working in league with a local drug gang, who confused the students with members of a rival cartel.
Citing confessions of the alleged perpetrators, it says the police then handed them over to members of the local cartel, known as "Guerreros Unidos," or "United Warriors," who took them to the local dump and incinerated them.
But a Reuters report published this week showed the government probe was plagued by a litany of errors, and that key parts may need to be redone.
The Mexican government has plenty to cover up. The massive corruption of local police in many Mexican states has been well documented. But the implication that the army was involved in the murders opens a can of worms for the government that they would just as soon keep the lid on. The army is supposed to be "incorruptible." Evidence that they aren't makes the government look very bad.
Mexico is losing the drug war and it's hurting the border areas of the United States. And Mexican cartels are setting up shop in our major cities, easily crossing our porous border at will. How long can the Mexican government cover up the fact that they are making no progress against the cartels, and that the drug lords are actually increasing their power?
Only as long as they can hide the rot eating away at their police and army.