“Heavy-handed police tactics” used against Ayotzinapa students in 2011 – US Embassy Cable

Photo: Cuartoscuro

Photo: Cuartoscuro 2011

Mexico – A newly declassified cable obtained by the National Security Archive and published this week by Aristegui Noticias reveals the US government reaction to a 2011 attack by Mexican police against the students of Raul Isidro Burgos Normal school in Ayotzinapa in which 2 students were shot and killed.

The cable sent by the then US Ambassador to Mexico, Earl Anthony Wayne, from the US embassy in Mexico to the State Department and 10 other departments including the FBI and CIA states:

“Evidence of heavy-handed police tactics” was “strong and disconcerting” – Ambassador Wayne

Both state and federal police participated in the repression on December 12, 2011 when 2 students, Jorge Alexis Herrera Pino and Gabriel Echeverría de Jesús, were shot and killed on the highway. Ambassador Wayne said state and federal authorities responded by pointing fingers at each other, blaming victims and denying any responsibility with both sides accusing the other of firing the shots that killed the 2 normalista students.

An attendant of a nearby gas station was burned trying to extinguish a fire at the station and weeks later died from his injuries. The students along with other allied organizations had blocked a toll booth on the Autopista del Sol, demanding an audience with the Guerrero governor.

“The protesters were calling for a meeting with Governor Angel Aguirre Rivero to discuss their demands to admit more students to the Ayotzinapa school, appoint a new director, repair aging facilities, increase the daily allotment for school meals, and provide more opportunities to graduating teachers.” – Ambassador Wayne

The following video was captured by the Guerrero C4 surveillance center showing the police repression of the 2011 protest:

A 2012 report by Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) found that the police were responsible for numerous human rights violations in the 2011 repression including torture, beating and arbitrary detentions.

The only officials prosecuted for the 2011 deaths of the students were two government agents, Ismael Matadama Salinas and Rey David Cortés, who were freed in April 2013 after a judge determined that there was insufficient evidence to prove their guilt.

Both the former prosecutor of Guerrero, Alberto Lopez Rosas, and the then Federal Police Commissioner Facundo Rosas Rosas, continued their careers as public officials. Lopez Rosas, who CNDH accused of covering up the crime, returned to Aguirre’s cabinet as secretary of labor, until the forced disappearance of the 43 normalistas occurred in Iguala 2014. Facundo Rosas was secretary of Public Security in Puebla until July 2015, when it was revealed that he was under investigation for leading a network of senior police officers who stole fuel from Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

Full cable via Aristegui Noticias:

20111215 – Ayotzinapa students.PDF

Aristegui Noticias
National Security Archives
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Erin Gallagher is a multimedia artist, translator and writer for Revolution News.