spotAsia Pacific


spotMiddle East

spotSouth Asia

All keywords

Americas keywords:

Argentina (20)

Bolivia (30)

Brazil (87)

Canada (17)

Caribbean (6)

Chile (46)

Colombia (8)

Costa Rica (2)

Cuba (40)

Ecuador (2)

Guadeloupe (3)

Haiti (12)

Honduras (5)

Jamaica (6)

Latin America (42)

Mexico (32)

Minneapolis (5)

Montreal (1)

Nicaragua (7)

Peru (4)

Puerto Rico (1)

Quebec (6)

Seattle (58)

US (1163)

USA (134)

United States (21)

Uruguay (1)

Venezuela (79)


Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 835, 26 November 2014: 14 day deadline to breadline

Search site for keywords: Mexico - Students - Drugs - Government - Police

Anger grows over missing Mexican students

Dave Carr

Led by the families of the 43 students who disappeared two months ago, thousands of protesters marched through Mexico City on 20 November to demand answers and action from the government.

In a country where, in the last decade of a failed 'war on drugs' over 100,000 people have been killed and 20,000 gone missing, the fate of the 43 students has galvanised the population against violence and political corruption.

As one political commentator pointed out: "It's the most severe crisis that the country has experienced in the last 20 years. It's a sort of catharsis in which everything is rotten; government, parties, the economy, etc. Patience with (Mexican President Enrique) Peņa Nieto has reached its bottom."

Adding to ordinary Mexicans' disgust at the political establishment, a new scandal has emerged over first lady Angelica Rivera's $7 million mansion, which was reportedly purchased through a loan from a government contractor. Anger over the widening inequality in Mexico has also fuelled the protests.


It was on 26 September when a bus carrying student teachers from Ayotzinapa to a protest over discriminatory hiring practices and funding of rural colleges was stopped by police under orders from the mayor of Iguala, Jose Luis Abarca.

Six students were shot dead by police at the scene and 43 handed over to a local drugs gang who, according to the authorities, then murdered them and incinerated the bodies.

The authorities say the mayor ran Iguala as a local fiefdom and was in the pay of the drugs gang. He had ordered the police to intercept the students because they intended to disrupt an event where the mayor's wife was speaking. Both the mayor and his wife then went on the run before being captured.


Over 70 people have been held over the murders and abductions but given the thousands of other unsolved kidnapping crimes, many doubt whether the authorities will deliver justice.

Protesters also point out that it took two weeks before Mexico's president made any statement about the student disappearances. The father of a missing student, Felipe de la Cruz, has criticised the government's response: "They've been trying to fool us. They've not been carrying out a proper search", he said.

Like many areas of Mexico, Guerrero state has a recent history of political violence. Student campaigners, viewed as left-wing subversives by the authorities and as a threat by organised criminals, have previously been gunned down.

Vigilante groups have sprung up in parts of the country because of the failure of the government and police to tackle gang-related crime. The militias have blamed police for collaborating with the gangs.

The US Obama administration has remained tight-lipped about the current protests, yet it and its predecessor governments have spent billions of dollars supporting Mexican governments' 'war on drugs'. This is despite the Global Commission on Drug Policy concluding that "repressive measures will not solve the drugs problem" and that "the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won". Indeed, there is clear evidence that the US's drugs war has actually deepened and perpetuated the violence.


Criminal violence is also fed by inequality, poverty and corruption. In the absence of decent education provision and jobs there is a 'lost generation' of young people who are lured into working for criminal gangs.

The improvement of young people's lives depends on major spending reforms. But such reforms are opposed by capitalist politicians who instead advocate shrinkage of the welfare state and who see the role of the state as simply a financial guarantor for capitalism.

The students' tragedy underscores the impasse in capitalist society and the need for socialist policies through a socialist government.

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018