Protest Outside OC's Mexican Consulate Planned for 43 Disappeared Students of Ayotzinapa

A casket with the number '43' symbolizing the disappeared students at Santa Ana's Noche de Altares
A casket with the number '43' symbolizing the disappeared students at Santa Ana's Noche de Altares
Josue Rivas / OC Weekly

Protests continue to engulf Mexico following the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero in late September. A nationwide strike has been called for November 20 with supportive actions planned in U.S. cities that same day, including a march to the Mexican Consulate in Santa Ana.

The date marks the anniversary of Mexico's 1910 revolution. Is another one in the making?

The missing students from Ayotzinapa Normal School haven't been found since September 26, when police violently clashed with protesters in Iguala, Guerrero. The mayor of Iguala and his wife have since been arrested in connection with the disappearances. The fate of the 43 fuels long-held grievances against the Mexican government over corruption, mass disappearances and ties to narcos.

Mexico's Attorney General, who infamously whined about being tired of answering questions by commenting "Ya me cansé" ("I'm tired of this"), says that detained drug traffickers admitted to setting the students on fire in a dump. Argentine forensic scientists examined unearthed remains from mass grave sites, though, and concluded that they don't belong to the missing students.

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"Since I heard about the students I became sick to my stomach," says Emmanuel Gonzalez, an 18-year-old Santa Ana resident who helped organize this week's protest. "The Ayotzinapa case was like a Pandora's box, that once I opened it, everything came out. I started looking more on the issues that affected my people. The more I looked on related cases like the killing of reporters, teachers, students, human rights advocates, the urge of doing something grew."

Santa Ana's protest this Thursday echoes the frustration of the Mexican people. Protesters are being urged to bring signs reading, "Se los llevaron vivos, vivos los queremos." (They took them alive, alive we want them).

Gonzalez and a group of close college friends picked Santa Ana for the protest not just because of its consulate but because the city has one of the largest population of guerrerenses in el Norte. They also plan to point out during the protest that this nation isn't exactly disconnected from Mexico's downward spiral into drug war dystopia.

"With the Merida initiative, it made the War on Drugs worse," Gonzalez says of the partnership between the two countries that started in 2008 with the aim of curbing the narcos. "The casualties have risen and there's no sign that those $2.1 billion have helped at all. That's why the U.S. shares the fault with the current genocide the Mexican people are facing today."

The peaceful march begins around 4 p.m. at Cabrillo Park on East Fruit Street in Santa Ana and ends at the Mexican Consulate on 4th Street.

"A country that kills its students," Gonzalez concludes, "kills its future."

Follow Gabriel San Román on Twitter @gsanroman2

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