Parents of 43 disappeared students in Mexico to speak in Fresno

Parents and supporters of some of the 43 students who were kidnapped and disappeared in Iguala, Mexico last year will visit Fresno this weekend.

Fresno is one stop in 43 states of the Caravana 43. It has been six months since the student teachers from Ayotzinapa, Mexico went missing after being attacked by Iguala police.

The Fresno coalition will host two parents and two students — including one who survived the attack and another student from the college in Ayotzinapa — on their tour of the West Coast. Caravana 43 leaders said the parents have struggled without an official declaration from the Mexican government that their children died at the hands of organized crime. They continue to seek answers and justice about the kidnapping.

Caravana 43 formed to give an international voice to parents who have lost their children to systemic violence and what they call impunity committed by the Mexican government and police. The group also hopes to shed light on the connection between U.S. foreign policy and the socioeconomic conditions and violence in Mexico.

An attack on Sept. 26 left six people dead, including three students. The unarmed group, from a teacher training college in Ayotzinapa with a history of activism, was soliciting donations and hijacking buses to get to a demonstration. After the shootings, the students were rounded up and taken away.

The mayor of Iguala and his wife were arrested in November for reportedly ordering police to attack the students, who were eventually turned over to a drug gang.

Mexico’s attorney general declared the students dead in January.

The case led to mass protests over continuous violence in Mexico and caused President Enrique Pena Nieto’s approval ratings to plummet. Iguala is in Guerrero, one of Mexico’s poorest states, where police often work under the orders of gangs.