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Sun Nov 23, 2014, 05:23 PM

Partners in Crime: The Continental Capitalist Offensive and the Killing Fields of Mexico

Partners in Crime: The Continental Capitalist Offensive and the Killing Fields of Mexico

Part I: State Terror and the Murder of 43 Students

Richard Roman & Edur Velasco Arregui Human Rights November 23, 2014

The Mexican government, welcomed as a partner of the Canadian and U.S. governments in continental economic development (North American Free Trade Agreement – NAFTA) and continental security also happens to partner in crime and the slaughter of its own people. The murders and disappearances of the students from the Rural Normal “Raúl Isidro Burgos,” of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico on September 26, 2014 in Iguala, was a crime of the State, as hundreds of thousands of Mexicans have claimed in their protests. The governmental investigation that followed the September 2014 attack on these students has been deliberately incompetent and not aimed at getting to the roots of the crime as these roots, in fact, are the tangled web of state-drug gang corruption and the state’s dirty war in defence of the neoliberal transformation of Mexico. The investigation has been staged, quite ineffectively, as a public relations operation to calm foreign investors and to cool out protest, efforts that have completely failed within Mexico. By claiming that the blame was at the local level, the corrupt collusion of a local mayor and his avaricious wife with a brutal cartel, it seeks to present itself, the national government, as the defender of justice.

But as Luis Hernández Navarro shows in his article, “La matanza de Iguala y el Ejército,” (The Iguala Massacre and the Army), there is – and has long been – a deep entanglement between the Army, the local government of Iguala, and drug production. Sixty per cent of the Mexican production of poppies and opium gum for making heroine comes from the state of Guerrero. The cities of Iguala and Chilpancingo are key centers for its storage and transportation. The Army is viewed by many as the real government of the state, a state with a history of guerrilla groups, militant protests and a long dirty war carried out by the army. As Francisco Goldman wrote in the New Yorker:

The Mexican Army, according to many journalists and other commentators, is the real government authority in Guerrero State. ‘The army knows that state millimetre by millimetre,’ a Mexican legislator pointed out in a recent speech, ‘and they know minute by minute what’s happening there.’ (“Crisis in Mexico: The Protests for the Missing Forty-Three,” The New Yorker.)

Intertwining of Government, Army and Drug Gangs

The intertwining of the government and armed forces with the drug gangs has a long history in Guerrero. Plaza Tamarindos in Iguala, a retail commercial center, built on land donated by the armed forces to José Luis Abarca, sits across from the military barracks. Abarca, now under arrest, accused of ordering the attack and having links to Guerreros Unidos, the drug gang, had been accused of ordering the murder of three protesters earlier. The investigation was not pursued. And Colonel Juan Antonio Aranda Torres, commander of the 27th Battallion, stationed in Iguala, claimed that he and his troops knew nothing of the attacks, though they took place within 100 meters of the army barracks. At the time, he was attending a fiesta organized by María de los Ángeles Pineda Villa, the wife of Mayor Abarca, now also accused of ordering the attack and being connected to drug gangs. Though Aranda Torres was trained as an intelligence and counter-intelligence officer, he claims, like the three wise monkeys to have seen nothing, heard nothing, and he certainly has said nothing. (“La matanza de Iguala y el Ejército,” The Iguala Massacre and the Army).

This was not an isolated event. Unfortunately, torture, killings, and assassinations have become commonplace in Mexico with different levels of the police or armed forces involved as well as drug gangs. The 27th Battallion participated in the dirty war of the 1970s and 1980s. And Human Rights Watch, in a 2011 report, “Ni Seguridad, ni derechos” (Neither Security nor Rights) wrote that there is strong evidence that the 27th Battallion participated in the disappearance of six young people in Iguala in March 2010. These state crimes against humanity, sadly, are the rule not the exception in Mexico. Several months earlier, in June, 2014, the federal army carried out a mass execution of 22 young people in the same region, in the town of Tlatlaya, in the neighboring state of Mexico. The army and the federal government then attempted to cover up these executions in Tlatlaya. After journalists and human rights groups exposed the cover-up and mass execution, the government arrested some low ranking soldiers.

More:
https://canadiandimension.com/articles/view/partners-in-crime-the-continental-capitalist-offensive-and-the-killing-fiel

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