The Other Disappeared
On January 15, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador will install a “Truth and Justice Commission” to assist the families of the 43 students from the Ayotzinapa teachers college who were disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, in 2014. It was fitting—and commendable—that the decree establishing this important initiative was one of the official acts of his presidency in December. It was also fitting that the parents of other disappeared people stood outside the ceremony demanding that his administration address their cases as well.
The disappearance of students in Iguala shocked the conscience of Mexico—and the world—in a way few atrocities in the country have before it. The impact was due to the large number of victims, the fact they were students, the police participation in their abduction, and the authorities’ inability or unwillingness to find them. But also fueling the public outrage was the fact—which became abundantly clear almost immediately—that this horrific crime was not an isolated incident.
Far from it. Under intense pressure to find the students, the federal prosecutors’ office followed leads to clandestine graves near Iguala and, within a few weeks, exhumed 39 bodies. None were the students. The public attention to the disappearances prompted other people in Guerrero to speak out about their own missing loved ones. Families demanded investigations or began their own searches. Some banded together to form a collective called “The Other Disappeared of Iguala.” Their efforts have led to the exhumation of 168 bodies. READ MORE: