Mexico, North America, This Week in Latin America

Federal Forces Dispatched to Iguala, Mexico, as Evidence Mounts Against Local Police in Student Massacre

October 7, 2014 By Staff

Top Story – Federal forces have taken over security in the Mexican town of Iguala, disarming local police officers as evidence mounts of their involvement in a Sept. 26 shooting that left six dead, 25 injured and at least 43 missing.

Local police in Iguala are suspected of colluding with the gang Guerreros Unidos in carrying out the attack. Those shot or missing comprised a group of student teachers seeking donations for protests against discriminatory hiring practices in the education sector, as well as soccer players apparently mistaken for protesters.

On Saturday, the remains of at least 28 people were discovered in mass graves not far from the area where the shootings took place. Many of the remains had been badly burned, and DNA identification will take anywhere from two weeks to two months.

Authorities have detained about 30 people accused of involvement in the attack, including 22 police officers. Two high-ranking police officials remain at large.

A banner placed in Iguala and signed under the name of the Guerreros Unidos threatened “war” if the 22 detained officers are not released within 24 hours.

On Sunday, thousands of students blocked the main highway connecting Mexico City and Acapulco to demand information about their missing colleagues’ whereabouts.

President Enrique Peña Nieto, who dispatched the federal officials on Monday, called the student deaths “outrageous, painful and unacceptable.” Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission has started an investigation of its own into the “serious human rights abuses” potentially perpetrated by the Iguala police. Amnesty International has called for “full and thorough investigations.”

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • After Hurricane Odile devastated the Baja California Peninsula last month, Mexico appears likely to be spared any more major damage from Tropical Storm Simon, which was downgraded from a hurricane Monday and is expected to further weaken before making landfall by the end of the week.
  • Gunmen attacked the home of a journalist who writes about crime and corruption in Zacatecas, Mexico, and while nobody was seriously hurt in the shooting, the journalist said he and his wife were grazed by bullets.


  • UNESCO officials announced Monday that a shipwreck off Haiti’s northern coast is not that of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria, after a marine archaeologist said in May that he had found the vessel, which sank in 1492.
  • Several Dominican foreign affairs officials have been replaced in a move to clean up corruption in the ministry, which has faced scrutiny over its bloated payroll.

Central America

  • El Salvador’s Supreme Court has controversially ruled that legislators cannot leave the political parties that elected them.
  • In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, former Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau argues strongly against deporting unaccompanied minors back to their countries of origin.


  • 11 residents of an indigenous village in northern Colombia were killed and another 13 injured when lighting struck during a community ritual.
  • In Peru’s local elections on Sunday, voters showed a strong preference for leaders who promised to be tougher on large mining projects.
  • Smartphone apps have helped citizens in Peru and other Latin American countries identify corrupt politicians, Newsweek reports.
  • Colombia participated in its first international cricket match in four years as the sport experiences a surge of popularity in South America.

Southern Cone

  • After finishing first in the first round of Brazil’s presidential election, incumbent Dilma Rousseff faces a credible challenge in the upcoming runoff from Aécio Neves, who is expected to pick up most of Marina Silva’s 21 percent of the vote.
  • Rousseff’s Worker’s Party lost 17 seats in the legislative polls on Sunday, but her coalition will maintain its majority. Neves’ Social Democracy Party made solid gains, picking up 10 seats.
  • In other election news from Brazil, authorities are seeking to arrest a senatorial candidate who has gone into hiding after slapping a woman in the face when she refused to cede her place in line to vote.
  • An Argentine judge has ruled that a group of workers will be allowed to continue running their old employer’s printing factory as a cooperative following the U.S.-owned plant’s closure, which President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner blamed on the country’s ongoing dispute with foreign bondholders.

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[…] suspect that police officers colluded with local gang members in the city of Iguala to abduct the 43 missing students on the night of Sept. 26, under the orders […]

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