As human rights activists living in Los Angeles, Nansi Cisneros and Karla Castañeda are demanding the Mexican government help them find their missing loved ones.
By the end of the pope’s visit, activists wondered whether their organizing efforts and messages to the pope were enough to inspire long-lasting justice on the border.
The mothers of Mexico’s disappeared have become experts in their own right—many have searched for their children on their own and have become the fiercest activists and critics of government impunity and state violence in Mexico.
United under a call for justice extended through decades of impunity, the fight for justice for the victims of state repression came alive at the march, inspired by the fierce activist spirit of Mexico’s students.
Mexican youth has born the brunt of state violence and over the past three years hundreds have been arbitrarily arrested, assassinated and, like in the case of the students from Ayotzinapa, disappeared.
Participants of the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) delegation in Mexico called for the suspension of Plan Merida last month after meeting with Mexican social movements and human rights organizations in Mexico City, Guerrero, and Chiapas. The visits, organized with groups actively working to end militarization and state violence in the country, took place from June 21 to July 1 and culminated in an urgent call for an end to all U.S. aid to Mexico.
As the demand for justice for the 43 disappeared Ayotzinapa students continues in streets worldwide, the epidemic of violence against women grows and justice for its victims remains relegated to a labyrinth of impunity, inefficiency and government indifference.
With the Mexican Consulate as a backdrop, at least two hundred people in Los Angeles organized skits, marched and chanted in protest of Enrique Peña Nieto’s meeting with President Obama in Washington on Jan. 6. Meanwhile, hundreds of protestors gathered on Lafayette Square in Washington DC, while some met with members of Congress to ask them to cut US security aid to Mexico.
While Peña Nieto and Obama will discuss plans to fortify the bilateral security agenda, which to this date has caused over 100,000 deaths and 24,000 disappearances in Mexico in the last 8 years, citizens of both countries are demonstrating that a transnational organized effort to push for and achieve justice is not only possible, but well under way.
Thousands of students marched from Tlatelolco Square, site of the notorious student massacre of 1968, to the Zocalo in Mexico City Nov. 20 in solidarity with the 43 disappeared students of the Rural Teachers’ College in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero. The student march, which included both public and private universities and high schools, followed national strikes organized in 79 universities throughout the country.