Students at most public universities in the Mexico City metropolitan area went on strike last week as part of the continuing protests against the massacre and forced disappearance of five and 43 (respectively) students of the teacher preparation school in Ayotzinapa, Tixtla, Guerrero. The “disappeared” students were ambushed—some shot, some kidnapped—by local police in Iguala, Guerrero, on Sept. 25 and 26.
Federal officials announced last week that at least some of the mass graves said by detained cops to contain the bodies of the students have, in fact, been other corpses. This is an indication of the extent of either police collusion with narcos or police propensity to kill people and hide their bodies.
Last week in Chilpancingo, the capital city of Guerrero, someone—possibly students or members of the left dissident (and majority) caucus of the teachers’ union—burst into the main state office building and burned part of it; yesterday, in the same city, there were occupations of banks and convenience stores, carried out by the teachers according to the newspaper La Jornada. These actions occur in a context in which the governor of Guerrero, Ángel Aguirre, continues to deny any possible complicity in what has happened in Guerrero. His administration has been marked by acts of repression that include the detention of the community self-defense leader Nestora Salgado and the state police killing of two students from the same education school in 2012. He is accused by the mainstream newspaper El Universal of having at least 15 relatives on the state payroll.
The widespread condemnation of the massacre by major news media and others who tend to be unconditional allies of the government has meant that the usual accusations of “vandalism” have not been voiced. Teachers and education students, especially in rural states like Guerrero, Oaxaca and Morelos and in progressive urban areas like Mexico City, have been in the forefront of protests against education “reform” which, like in the U.S., means subordinating critical thinking to standardized testing. Students at some schools of the Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN) marked one month on strike on Friday, Oct. 17. Most of the others joined the strike about a week later. The surprising firmness of the polytech students, sometimes perceived as more conservative than their liberal arts counterparts, has been an inspiration for others throughout the country. They accomplished the resignation of the director of the IPN.