By: David P. Griscom
The frustrations in Mexico over the missing forty-three students have expanded into a larger political movement. Protests in Mexico City, frustrated by the incompetency of the state, have called for the resignation of the president. After the Governor of Guerrero, Angel Aguirre, resigned in late October, people still feel that there has not been enough accountability for the tragedy. For many the recent experiences have been representative of broader problems of corruption in national and local governing bodies that have stood by as gangs took over large parts of the country.
In September demonstrating students were met with aggressive police who shot live bullets at them. Afterwards, 43 of these students were handed over to a local gang to be executed. Over 70 people have been arrested for their roles in the disappearances.
People have also suggested that the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is culpable for the events surrounding the missing students, saying that this is a ‘state crime’. Adding to the argument against the President, Peña Nieto’s wife bought a home valued at 7 million dollars, some of which was paid for with a government loan, though she has promised that she will pay the money back. She has now said that she will sell her contract rights to the house. This has not done much to take away from the image of an administration which some feel is out of touch with the many Mexican struggling poor.
As the protests continue to escalate, the President has argued that it is within his rights to restore order which may include violence. While there have been some eruptions of violence, for the most part these episodes have been isolated. There have been reports of tensions between many ‘peaceful protestors’ and those wishing to turn the demonstrations ‘violent’.
Fundamentally, this issue has come down to the fact that many feel that the state has not done enough or is powerless to defeat the gangs and drug organizations that control large swaths of the country. As these protests continue the question of who is responsible and what can be done will need to be answered.