Israel Jacinto Lugardo
My son is very young. He’s just a little boy starting his life, innocent and excited to start his life as an adult. First he wanted to work as a mechanic. He talked about this for years; it was his dream. But later, he decided that it would be better to do something with which he could help out his community. All of us are dedicated to this movement and we are not going to rest until we have legitimate answers. The government should understand this. We’re not going to let up on this fight.
- Ernestina Lugardo del Valle
Israel Jacinto Lugardo (Israelito) is the fifth of six children of Israel Jacinto Galindo and Ernestina Lugardo del Valle. He was born in the municipality of Atoyac de Álvarez, in the Costa Grande region of Guerrero and grew up with his siblings Gerardo, Leydi, Rubén, Ricardo and Lizbeth.
When he was young, Israel learned how to repair bicycles, cars, and farm machinery from his father Don Israel, who emigrated to the United States when Israel was in elementary school. “He learned fast and could do anything,” says his dad. Israel has always been interested in taking things apart and fixing them, and worked during his adolescence as a mechanic, fixing motorcycles and flat tires. He also planted corn and loaded bricks as a bricklayer.
Shy, introverted, affectionate, and with few friends, Israel preferred to stay in the classroom during recess, and was rarely seen on the soccer field. He likes to draw, fix things, and prefers the comfort of home above being outside. At Ayotzinapa he was always cold in the dormitory and even wore his sweater during early morning runs. Despite his shyness, “Chukyto” as his peers in the Normal nicknamed him, gets along with everyone.
Israel originally dreamed of becoming a mechanic but the tuition was more than his family could afford. He chose to follow his older brothers into the teaching profession and enrolled at Escuela Normal Rural de Ayotzinapa. He is attached to his brother Ricardo, who was a second-year student at Ayotzinapa when Isreal was forcibly disappeared. Ricardo was able to speak to Israel four times during the attacks in Iguala on September 26, 2014. The last thing Ricardo remembers is his brother’s voice. In the midst of thunderous outbursts, with a broken voice and agitated breath provoked by the tear gas thrown by Iguala municipal police into the truck, Israel told his brother: "They have us surrounded." "Hang up, so you can breathe," Ricardo replied. After that call, at around 11:11 p.m. Ricardo tried to reach Israel’s cell phone again. The call went straight to his voice mailbox. Israel's loving family is still waiting for his call - they are waiting for him with open arms.