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Published by RT en Español. Read the Spanish version here.

Ayotzinapa case: the former director of the Criminal Investigation Agency fled Mexico and is wanted by Interpol in more than 190 countries

The Mexican prosecutor on Tuesday ended the "historical truth" of the Peña Nieto government about the 43 students who disappeared in 2014

June 30, 2020

The Attorney General of Mexico, Alejandro Gertz Manero, revealed today that the former director of the Criminal Investigation Agency, Tomás Zerón de Lucio, fled the country to avoid his capture because he was accused of having hidden and altered evidence regarding the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa.

"(Zerón) already has an arrest warrant and an Interpol red card for his international location and his corresponding extradition," said Gertz Manero, who warned that the search covers more than 190 countries and that many other officials at different levels still need to be prosecuted.

Gertz Manero offered a message to the media on Tuesday to explain the status of the investigation after José Ángel Casarrubias Salgado, alias 'El Mochomo,' the alleged leader of the Guerreros Unidos cartel who is identified as one of the main perpetrators of the mass disappearance, was arrested yesterday.

He explained that, in addition to Zerón de Lucio, 46 international arrest warrants have already been issued against officials who are accused of the crimes of forced disappearance and organized crime based on lines of investigation.

Moreover, the prosecutor added that in the next few days he will receive the results of the analysis of human remains found in Guerrero that were sent for identification to the University of Innsbruck, in Austria.

End of 'historical truth'

Gertz Manero also terminated the version offered by the government of former President Enrique Peña Nieto about the disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa that occurred in 2014 and caused an international shock.

"The historical truth is over," he said, referring to one of the phrases that marked the past administration.

At the time, former attorney Jesús Murillo Karam said that municipal police officers had kidnapped the students and handed them over to members of the Guerreros Unidos Cartel, which ended up killing and burning them in a garbage dump. He called it 'the historical truth'. The version, which completely exonerated the responsibility of the State, was defended by the former president until the end of his term.

However, the expert opinions of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team and the investigation of the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI) showed that the authorities were lying because there was no evidence of the incineration of bodies.

Multiple news reports also revealed that municipal, state, federal and even the Army had participated in the persecution of students, the massacre of students and other civilians and the disappearances.

The case

On September 26 and 27, 2014, 43 students were disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, one of the poorest states in Mexico and a strategic drug trafficking route.

The young people, who were studying at the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Normal School in Ayotzinapa, where basic education teachers are trained from the most marginalized communities, took long-distance buses to go to a demonstration in Mexico City, but in the city of Iguala shooting began that mutated into persecution.

Amid the violence and confusion, the attackers also riddled a bus with members of a soccer team known as 'Los Avispones.' Municipal, state and Army police participated In the attacks, which continued throughout the night and following morning.

The death toll was six. One of them was Julio César Mondragón, who was a 22-year-old student. Although at first it was believed that his torturers skinned his face, expert reports concluded that it had been ripped by animals.

There were also 25 wounded and 43 missing, among whom, until now, only 19-year-old Alexander Mora Venancio was found. Rather, just his remains. A grinding wheel and a bone fragment were allegedly found in a river and identified in late 2014.

What is not known yet is where the other 42 students are. What did they do with them. Who are responsible. Why the operation was ordered. What did they want, those who persecuted, shot, tortured, kidnapped and, in some cases, murdered.

Peña Nieto tried to close the case that, due to its international repercussions, weakened his government. But thanks to the intervention of international agencies and the struggle of the relatives of the murdered and missing, the cause was not closed and now, with the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the case remains open and with new lines of research.

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