Relatives continue to demand justice, Photo@: Ronaldo Schemidt
Alfredo Higuera Bernal, head of the investigation office of the Attorney General’s Office (PGR in its Spanish acronym) in the Iguala case, denied concealing information from the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (IGIE) and the relatives of the 43 students disappeared from Ayotzinapa in 2014 in an interview with La Jornada.
One of IGIE’s hypotheses to explain the attack on the students was that they took buses used by an organized crime cartel, Guerreros Unidos, to smuggle drugs into the United States. According to La Jornada, the PGR was aware of the use of buses by the cartel for its trafficking. Two months before the disappearance of the 43, in July 2014, the Army and the PGR detained Gonzalo Martin Souza Neves and Jose Bahena Salgado, members of Guerreros Unidos, in possession of about 250,000 dollars in cash, three vehicles and 24 kilos of heroin. On the day of the arrest, the Ministry of the Interior reported through bulletin 351/14 that Gonzalo Martin Souza Neves had “taken control of the criminal group […] and was in charge of drug trafficking through hidden compartments in various vehicles, mainly in passenger buses (sic).”
However, when the IGIE requested information from the PGR to investigate its hypothesis, the PGR never provided it with background information related to the trafficking of heroin in passenger buses. According to La Jornada, in response to a request for information on Guerreros Unidos, the PGR indicated that it only found “data according to which the criminal group was formed in 2011 by members of the Familia Michoacana and the Beltran Leyva”, without mentioning the arrest of July 2014. Similarly, on presenting its final report on the Ayotzinapa case – known as the white paper – in June 2016, the PGR stated that “so far no evidence has been found that sustains” the IGIE hypothesis.
Failure to mention this information to either the parents or the IGIE could indicate that there has been no good faith on the part of the PGR according to La Jornada, and it is even more serious because it is information of special relevance. Alfredo Higuera Bernal did not confirm the accusations of concealment and assured that “that line of investigation was one of the main approaches that the IGIE took and has been the subject of treatment in the talks that we have with the representatives of the parents.”
Despite the difficulties encountered in the investigation to find their children, the parents of the missing continue their search and their demand for justice and truth. Six months after suspending dialogue with the government, they declared that next February 9 they will meet with the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR), Raul Cervantes Andrade, and a member of the Follow-up Commission of the Iguala Case of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which acts as a mediator between the parties to arrive at a new negotiating table. The parents will present their demands, including legal action against Tomas Zeron, exercise of criminal action against the Huitzuco municipal police and two agents of the Federal Police, for participating in the disappearance of the student teachers.
For more information in Spanish:
Padres de los 43 y PGR reanudarán diálogo en febrero (La Jornada, 26 de enero de 2017)
Rechaza Alfredo Higuera que haya habido ocultamiento en el caso Iguala (La Jornada, 24 de enero de 2017)
PGR ocultó el trasiego de droga en autobuses (La Jornada, 23 de enero de 2017)
PGR ocultó datos sobre trasiego de drogas en caso Iguala (UniRadioInforma, 23 de enero de 2017)
For more information from SIPAZ:
Guerrero/México: GIEI concluye su trabajo México entregando un segundo informe (28 de abril de 2016)
Guerrero: Grupo de Expertos sobre caso Ayotzinapa presenta su informe a 6 meses (7 de septiembre de 2015)