Minneapolis, MN – With banners saying “Minnesota is Ayotzinapa” and “They took them alive, we want them alive”, members of the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAC) marched in the Mexican Independence Day parade on Lake Street in Minneapolis on September 13. Last year on September 26, 2014, 43 students from Ayotzinapa, México were “disappeared” by the Mexican state. This provoked a powerful movement in México and throughout the world demanding an end to repression, state violence, corruption and impunity in México. Also here in the U.S. many question why the U.S. government continues supporting the Mexican government and military with $2.5 billion dollars with the Merida Initiative. Nearly a year after the 43 students disappeared, their families continue struggling for the truth of what happened to their children, and they haven’t gotten a response or justice.
In México, protests and boycotts are planned against the Mexican Independence Day celebrations. Protesters say there isn’t true independence to celebrate when México is controlled by powerful financial interests in the U.S. and there’s nothing to celebrate when 43 students can be disappeared by the state with impunity. In many cities in the U.S. there are Mexican Independence Day parades and celebrations, and in many of these events groups have marched to demand justice for the 43 missing students from Ayotzinapa.
In Minneapolis the contingent marched for Ayotzinapa in the parade and also tried to get the ambassador from the local Mexican consulate, Alberto Fierro, to announce a minute of silence from the stage for Ayotzinapa, but he refused to do so. They then asked one of the parade organizers, Maestro Mingo to do so and they also refused.
In Minneapolis there are two more activities planned to mark a year since the 43 students disappeared and to continue demanding justice. Students from MIRAC at the University of Minnesota are organizing an action on September 25 at 12:00 pm to show solidarity with the students from Ayotzinapa and the Mexican people. More details about this action will be available soon. And the MN Ayotzinapa United Front is also organizing a vigil in front of the Mexican consulate in Saint Paul on Saturday, September 26 at 8:00 p.m.
The role of Washington in México
The U.S. government is not an innocent observer when the Mexican government commits systematic human rights abuses like in Ayotzinapa, which is just the tip of the iceberg. Washington is the behind-the-scenes power financing and directing the military and economic policies in México. Washington has spent $2.5 billion since in military aid in México since 2008 via the Merida Initiative. The U.S. has also been the key force backing the current Mexican government’s attempts to privatize massive sectors such as petroleum, energy, and education. The repression and impunity in México aren’t separate from Washington’s economic agenda in México. On the contrary, the massive military aid precisely serves to instill fear in the population so they don’t resist the regressive policies like privatization of key industries, which will then be sold to corporations based in rich countries such as the U.S.