Alexander Mora Venancio
His only sin was being poor, humble and wanting to be a teacher
- Ezequiel Mora Chora
Alexander Mora Venancio pleaded with his father for years to teach him to drive. Ezequiel Mora resisted because he wanted to protect his son from the perils of driving, and because he was worried Alexander would become a taxi driver like himself. He wanted a better life for his son. Don Ezequiel was pleased when Alexander entered law school at the Autonomous University of Guerrero, near their home village of El Pericón, in the Costa Chica region. Alexander had always wanted to be a rural school teacher, and left law school after a year to apply to the Ayotzinapa teacher’s college. He did not pass the entrance exam in 2013 but persevered and was accepted in 2014. Growing up, his brothers had nicknamed him La Roca (The Rock) because of his determination.
Alexander’s mother Delia died two years earlier from complications of diabetes, and Don Ezequiel wanted to keep his eight children as close to home as possible and out of danger. He did not want Alexander to go to Ayotzinapa but conceded after his daughter Zaer convinced him to let Alexander have the chance to fulfill one of his dreams.
Alexander’s other dream was to become a professional soccer player for Pumas of UNAM. His love for soccer began when he was six years old, and he was one of the best players in Juventus El Pericón, never missing a start. His position, forward. His shirt, number 12. The brotherhood and camaraderie that Alexander experienced with the team carried over into his campus life at Ayotzinapa, and he was known to protect more vulnerable students against hazing from upperclassmen.
After a month at Ayotzinapa, Alexander returned home to El Pericón for the Independence Day celebration in the main plaza of Tecoanapa on the night of September 15th to the 16th. He reunited with family and with his soccer team, where they posed for pictures together in their Juventus El Pericón uniforms. These would be the last images of Alexander before his disappearance on September 26, 2014.
They have taken everything from me and I don’t want other people to suffer the same, and I will continue to fight so that this miserable government does everything possible, and because there are so many disappeared people and no-one does anything about it.
On December 6, 2014 the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team confirmed to Ezequiel Mora that DNA from a 4-centimeter bone fragment found in a trash bag in the Rio San Juan was a match for his son Alexander.
Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam claimed the identification of Alexander’s remains backed the official version of events presented by the government - that police turned the students over to the Guerreros Unidos drug cartel, who then incinerated them in the Cocula dump. But the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team said they were not present when Mexican authorities claimed to have found the bags of ashes and bone, and to date there is no evidence linking the remains to the Cocula dump.
The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) —appointed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to provide technical assistance to the Mexican government in the Ayotzinapa case—revealed grave irregularities in the investigation, including the manipulation of evidence. In a video presented by GIEI, Tomás Zerón, chief of criminal investigations for the attorney general, is seen at Río San Juan with the plastic bags and a key suspect in the case that had been taken out of custody, on October 28—a day before the evidence was officially recorded as being found.
Furthermore, a review of events by the Inspector General concluded forensic experts violated the rules for securing the crime scene and did not adhere to basic chain of custody rules, meaning the crime scene was tampered with and the actions performed were illegal, rendering the evidence, including the remains of Alexander Mora Venancio, invalid.
While Don Ezequiel can accept the validity of of the identification of his son by the lab at University of Innsbruck in Austria, he rejects the government’s explanation and closure due to the manipulation and contamination of the evidence, that no other remains have been located, and that no remains have been returned to the family. He continues in his struggle for truth and justice for Alexander.
Alexander’s brother, Irene Mora Venancio, was killed in a car accident in the early-morning hours of April 17, 2018. The following day, normalistas from Ayotzinapa gathered at the local tollbooths to collect donations for his funeral.