Carlos Iván Ramírez Villarreal
We have been living a nightmare, this is something that I do not wish on anyone, it is an enormous pain that we are feeling. We ask the people to unite to continue to pressure the government to give us our children
- Margarito Ramírez Rodríguez
Carlos Iván and his cousins dream of having their own ranch. The group of more than a dozen are more like brothers than cousins; they lived in neighboring houses and shared everything growing up, including the duty to study and work hard at the same time. Their dream evolved over years of working the land together after school; they all plowed, planted corn and Jamaica flower, harvested, fixed corrals, and collected firewood. When they completed their work, they sang together, chased cows, swam in the river, hunted iguanas, and played soccer. After high school Carlos began a career as an agricultural engineer but abandoned it months later to follow in his cousin’s footsteps in the Rural Normal Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa.
When Carlos was only one year old, his father Margarito emigrated to the United States, leaving the four children in the care of their mother Socorro Villareal Moctezuma. Don Maragrito sent money to his family regularly, in order to provide a life for them in Cerro Gordo Nuevo, a community of 400 inhabitants in the municipality of Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero. With few opportunities at home, his older brothers also left for the U.S. when they were 18 years old. Carlos stayed in Ayutla to help take care of his mother and younger sister Dulce. When Margarito returned, Carlos was already an adolescent and the two became very close in spite of the time and distance that poverty had imposed on them. They worked the land and cared for the animals together until Carlos graduated from high school. While at Ayotzinapa, Carlos was not able to help his father with the harvest of the crops that they had planted together, side by side, in the days before he left for school.