Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Today's Headlines: The Iguala case appears to be heading nowhere

The Iguala case dominates the headlines today. Four of the five major dailies lead with developments indicating that the case of the 43 disappeared rural teachers college, or normal school, students may never be resolved in any satisfying way. Excelsior leads with “Identification of normalistas fades,” and El Universal with something similar. This arises out of a communication delivered Tuesday from Austrian forensic experts who have been examining for months now the scant remains found at what is thought to have been the killing site. The samples, Mexican authorities were informed, are inadequate for any kind of DNA matching. The trail is dead, save for a longshot alternative ID method that will take another three months.

La Jornada and Milenio come at the same story in a different way, leading with Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam’s reaction to the news that there will probably be no DNA matches ever. As La Jornada puts it in its main head: “Murillo Karam: As far as I’m concerned, the 43 were killed in Cocula.”  That has been the working hypothesis all along — that the 43 students rounded up by local Iguala cops after three were shot to death on September 26, 2014 were handed over to the Guerreros Unidos drug-trafficking gang and taken to neighboring Cocula. There they were assassinated, their bodies burned and the remains hidden or destroyed so thoroughly that the examiners at the University of Innsbruck were able to identify only one victim.
    Scores of suspects are in custody, including Iguala cops, members of Guerreros Unidos and the former mayor of Iguala and his wife. It is presumably through the results of their interrogations, along with eyewitness testimony, that the attorney general feels sure enough about what happened to issue the statement in that headline with so little forensic support.
    His saying so, of course, will do nothing to sway the victims’ families and their militant supporters, who insist the normalistas are being held alive, and are waging what amounts to a crime wave to push their case. The rest of the nation is left in limbo with unanswered questions:
    What kind of country do we live in where government officials and local law enforcement can cooperate in a mass murder? How can it be that a case of such magnitude has been stalled for so long? And where is the resulting unrest taking us?

Most of the papers front a revelation from the Wall Street Journal that President Enrique Peña Nieto was involved in another real estate transaction with a future government contractor soon after his inauguration as governor of the State of Mexico in 2005. According to the WSJ, Peña Nieto bought property in an exclusive golf club in the spa town of Ixtapan de la Sal from a businessman who later received at least 11 government contracts. Those contracts were federal, not state, and a spokesperson for the president denied any connection or wrongdoing.
    Peña Nieto had already come under suspicion for a luxury house his wife was buying from a winning contractor in the since-annulled bidding for the Mexico City-Querétaro high-speed train project.
    The story ran in the Journal yesterday, and the Mexican papers based their reports on it. The WSJ charges for its content, but sometimes makes exceptions. You can see try to see the original article, in English, here.

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