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Families Of Missing Mexican Students To Visit San Diego

Photo caption: Relatives and protesters carry pictures during a Mexico City march of some of...

Photo credit: Associated Press

Relatives and protesters carry pictures during a Mexico City march of some of the 43 students who went missing on Sept. 26, 2014 from a rural teachers college in Guerrero state, Jan. 26, 2015.

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Nearly six months after 43 students vanished from the south of Mexico, the family and classmates are planning to protest in at least 45 U.S. cities. One group, which includes parents of the missing students, arrives in San Diego on March 23.

The parents and classmates of 43 students who vanished in the south of Mexico plan to cross the border this month to protest in the U.S.

Nearly six months after the students vanished, a coalition of Latino human rights coalitions said at a San Diego City College press conference Tuesday that a caravan will arrive in San Diego on March 23.

The caravan is one of three that will cross the border through El Paso on March 16 and fan out in different directions across the country. They will visit at least 45 U.S. cities.

The group coming to San Diego includes a mother, a father, and two students who survived a police shooting the night their classmates disappeared from Iguala, Guerrero. For safety reasons, the coalition is not releasing the names of the visitors, who will arrive on a collective humanitarian visa.

The caravan will hold events in San Diego for two days, including a protest march starting at the San Diego City College at 3 p.m. on March 24. The following day, the group will head to the North County and continue up the coast.

Enrique Davalos, a professor of Chicano Studies at San Diego City College who spoke at the Tuesday press conference, said the caravans want to spread international awareness about the missing students.

Photo caption: A relative holding a picture of one of the missing students listens in during...

Photo credit: Associated Press

A relative holding a picture of one of the missing students listens in during a press conference by the family members of the missing, in Mexico, City, Jan. 27, 2015.

“We are so close to the border, and we need to pay attention,” he said of San Diego residents.

Parents, survivors, and many others are skeptical about the Mexican government’s investigation into the disappearance of the students. The government handling of the case has sparked numerous protests across Mexico. Many believe that international help is necessary to solve the case.

Police opened fire on dozens of student activists in Iguala, Guerrero, kidnapped 43 of them, and handed them to a local drug cartel, the Guerreros Unidos, for execution, according to Mexican Attorney General Jesús Murillo Karam.

In January, he announced that the case was closed. Just last month, Karam stepped down from his position amid ongoing criticism. However, the case has not been reopened.

“The official version is full of holes and contradictions,” Davalos said. “It has provoked a lot of mistrust.”

Karam said the bodies of the students were burnt at a garbage dump, wiping out DNA evidence. Roughly 100 people were arrested, including the mayor of Iguala and his wife, who allegedly ordered the police and drug cartel to kill the students. The governor of Guerrero was forced to resign.

Many Mexicans feel the government has not provided enough evidence and has not arrested all of the involved criminals. The skeletal remains of only one student were found at the alleged site of the execution. The rest are still missing.

The tragedy south of the border is relevant to U.S. citizens because of the binational Merida Initiative, Davalos added. That initiative has sent Mexico more than $2 billion since 2007, equipping Mexican security forces and helping them combat crime. Those security forces have been repeatedly implicated in human rights abuses, including murder.

About 15 percent of the aid is supposed to be contingent on Mexico’s compliance with human rights requirements, such as ensuring the investigation and prosecution of abuses by Mexican security forces.

“We are asking the U.S. to revisit, modify or cancel (the Merida Initiative) until the Mexican government is able to really prove that human rights are respected,” Davalos said.

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