The Night of the Forty-Three


By JosCadena

In Dec. 2007 Felipe Calderón, the Mexican president at the time, declared the War on Drugs, which at this point has left more than 27,000 people missing. Among the missing are 43 students from a training school for teachers in Ayotzinapa, a county in the state of Guerrero. Their forced-disappearance happened in Iguala, a neighbor county of Ayotzinapa on Sept. 26, 2014; nine people died, 17 were wounded and 43 disappeared.  This event changed the whole perspective of the ongoing government, and this mass disappearance became a key part of Mexico’s history. Yet, up to this date, nobody knows what exactly happened to them; their bodies haven’t been found, their parents still look for them and the government has lied over and over again, proven wrong by multiple organizations and universities. For example, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team reports planting of evidence at the place where the state alleged the mass murder was committed. Also, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights has claimed the videotapes in which the government supports the official version about what happened that night have been deleted.  


img_0303On Oct. 21, the Speaking Tour Against the Repression in Mexico held a conference at Central Connecticut State University at which Eduardo Garcia Maganda spoke of his survival of the Sept. 26 attack, and Igna Garcia Velasquez, from Guerrero expressed her feelings about her son who went missing that day as well. The following interviews were conducted (in Spanish) and translated by Devil’s Advocate journalist Jose Cadena.

What’s your name?

Eduardo García Maganda

Are you a student of the school of Ayotzinapa?
Yes, still studying there.


Can you narrate how you lived through the events on the night of the Sept. 26?
When [the police] started shooting at us the first time, we tried to escape and repel their attack with what we could find: stones, bottles and sticks. But they were shooting with bullets, so what we did was run and then use buses to try to escape from them. But in a part of town we were encapsulated; they corralled us and returned to shooting. In that place, two partners died: Julio César Ramírez and Daniel Solis. Another partner was injured: Aldo Gutierrez, who was shot in the head. At that time, municipal police took our colleagues in Iguala patrols with unknown direction; up to date we don’t know their whereabouts.

When was the next time that they fired?
The shooting had finished at eleven at night, but at twelve, another was produced. We were separated… I ran and climbed a fence. I hid on the roof of a house until five in the morning.

You said that there were municipal police; did you see members of the federal police or army? Or signs that will point to the presence of members of organized crime.
The army was in the town in the morning but other than them were all police officers.

One of the stories says the police gave the students to the cartel, but it was not proven, and there is no strong evidence to suggest the cartel attacked the students.

Joaquina García is the mother of one of the missing students Martin Sánchez. Originally from the state of Guerrero, she was in her house when the events happened. The next day García heard in the news about a conflict in which the students were involved; she states, “When I found out, I went to Ayotzinapa, but there was nobody. The boys who had survived were still in Iguala.”  She tried to reach out to and organize with other parents:  “We have been guided by a human rights lawyer from Tlachinola, and people have supported us with donations because we left work so we could try to find them.” Up to this date, Garcia hasn’t been able to find her son.