LADB Blog Focuses on Team of Argentine Forensic Experts at Mass Graves in Mexico...
October 20, 2014
A team of Argentine forensic experts arrived in Iguala in Guerrero state in Mexico on Oct. 7 to help federal and state authorities identify the remains of bodies found in clandestine, mass graves. It is unclear how many of the bodies uncovered in the mass grave are connected to the disappearance of 43 students following protests in Iguala on Sept. 26.This week's issue of SourceMex lays out the array of unclear reports regarding what actually transpired on Sept 26, when students at a teacher's college organized a protest against plans to cut funding to their university.
The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropologia Forense, or EAAF), was founded in the mid-1980s when a team was formed to investigate the remains of disappeared families in Argentina. Since that project, EAAF has expanded its work to over 30 countries and helped form the Association of Latin American Forensic Anthropology(ALAF). The two organizations have worked jointly in Guatemala, Bolivia, Spain, Colombia, Mexico and other countries. The joint work of EAAF and ALAF in Mexico dates back to the early 2000s, when the EAAF was asked to participate in an international seminar titled "Truth Commissions: Torture, Reparations, and Prevention." Recently, EAAF was asked to assist a new Special Prosecutor investigating cases of people disappeared for political reasons during the 1960's and 1970's. Over the past several years, EAAF members worked in the state of Chihuahua on a project to exhume, analyze, and attempt to identify the remains of over a hundred individuals associated with the investigation of murdered and disappeared women in Ciudad Juárez.
The EAAF's mission statement explicitly states that the objectives of the team are to cater to the wishes of relatives of victims and their communities, and that the team's track record in international tribunals displays a deep and sincere dedication to truth and "the historical reconstruction of the recent past, often distorted or hidden by the parties or government institutions which are themselves implicated in the crimes under investigation."
Even though President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration requested the intervention of the EAAF, family members of the victims are relying on the Argentine experts for truth and justice because of deep distrust of police and government authorities. Meliton Ortega, a relative of one of the missing students, has publicly expressed his distrust of state involvement in the investigation, representing a general attitude among his community members that the police and the government are the last people they want in charge of investigating this site.
So will the Argentine team succeed in helping relatives of the students arrive at the truth? The task might be difficult. A slew of reports in the last week have revealed that the Argentine forensic team has had difficulty accessing the grave site, where state and federal authorities are tightly securing the area.
Also in LADB This Week...
Unpredictable Brazilian Election Turns Predictable as Traditional Parties Duel: Brazilians headed to the polls on Oct. 5 to decide the fate of incumbent President Dilma Rousseff, conservative challenger Aécio Neves, and insurgent Marina Silva. In the end, voters endorsed Rousseff, but not by enough to avoid a runoff against Neves that will take place on Oct. 26. It was an unpredictable election season that saw polling numbers for the candidates fluctuate wildly. In one of the campaign's most surprising and tragic turns, Read More
Colombia's Peace Negotiators Agree on Three Points, Urge Continued Progress: On the eve of the second anniversary of the beginning of Colombian peace talks, government and guerrilla representatives broke a self-imposed silence on Sept. 24 by reporting key details of agreements reached so far. President Juan Manuel Santos and the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) were obliged to give a progress report to counteract false versions spread by warmongers seeking to discredit the negotiations and dismantle talks that began in November 2012 in Havana, Cuba. Read More
Former Salvadoran President Francisco Flores Jailed Pending Corruption Trial: After months on the lam, former Salvadoran President Francisco Flores (1999-2004) is now behind bars pending trial on charges that he misappropriated roughly US$15 million donated during his presidency by the government in Taiwan. Flores, who hails from the hard-right Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA), El Salvador's leading opposition party, disappeared from public view in late January. And, in May, when a judge in San Salvador issued a warrant for his arrest, he officially became a fugitive from justice. Read More
Murder of Guatemalan Civil Servant Reveals Lack of Compliance with Private-Security Law: On July 3, well-known Guatemalan civil servant and feminist activist Patricia Samayoa Méndez was shot dead in a pharmacy by the establishment's private security guard, who later barricaded himself in the pharmacy and attempted to shoot the police officers who were trying to arrest him. This case has highlighted that a new law imposing tougher sanctions on private security companies is not being properly enforced. Samayoa's murder has called into question whether a law imposing more stringent regulations on private security companies that came into force in October 2013 is really being enacted.Read More
Chinese-Mexican Consortium Submits Only Bid to Construct High-Speed Rail in Mexico: President Enrique Peña Nieto has set the process in motion to develop a high-speed train to connect Mexico City with the industrial hub of Querétaro, about 210 km northwest of the Mexican capital. On Oct. 15, the administration closed the bidding process for consortia to participate in constructing the rail line. Only one consortium submitted a bid, a partnership led by China Railway Construction Corp. (CRCC) that included Mexican companies GIA and Prodemex. Read More
Follow us on Twitter @LADBatUNM
The Latin America Data Base (LADB) is one of the longest running premier news and educational services on Latin America. Established in 1986 as a unit of the Latin American and Iberian Institute at the University of New Mexico (UNM), LADB has had an internet presence since 1996. LADB features three weekly electronic publications: NotiCen, NotiSur, and SourceMex, and a fully searchable archive of over 28,000 articles that provide timely information and historical perspective on a variety of Latin American issues. LADB is a subscription service made available at no cost to the UNM community. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.