Nancy Fraser brought to my attention yesterday two letters of protest concerning recent atrocities in Mexico. The matter is tragic. The need for response is clear.

A letter drafted by Maria Pia Lara Zavala, Visiting Professor of Philosophy, New School for Social Research:

An Open Letter to the International Academic Community:

By now it is well known that the last years in Mexico have been plagued by horrendous crimes, massive disappearances, and a rising tide of violence. This relentless violence has already impacted the international community. But the recent kidnapping and murder of a young group of students surpasses by far any other news about violence in that country. It is clear that the lack of respect for human rights and the rule of law is behind the heineous actions occured on September 26th.

On the evening of September 25th, the mayor of Iguala—José Luis Abarca and his wife, María de los Ángeles Pineda—were about to launch the political campaign of Ms. Pineda with a public celebration, when the mayor was informed that a group of students were planning to crash the party and protest the major and his wife’s candidacy. The mayor ordered the local police of Iguala, Guerrero, to stop those students and “dissapear them from the earth.”

The story gets much worse, since the police first killed three of the students, firing at close range. Images circulating on the internet show the badly disfigured corpse of one of these students. Once the police had captured the 43 remaining students, instead of following the rule of law and taking them to the police station for questioning, they handed the students over to a group of narcos (Guerreros Unidos). As the Mexican General Attorney, Jesús Murillo Karam, later described to the media, officials captured only three gunmen who were the actual perpetrators. These perpetrators confessed that the students were killed near the town of Cocula (some of them by asphixia). Their remains were burned for hours so as to erase any possible trace of their DNA. The Attorney General announced that the confessions are already posted on the internet (sic).

This horrifying situation makes clear that the local and federal governments are incapable of keeping order and stemming the violence that is now widespread. This terrible event, along with the discovery of unknown corpses found in mass graves has stunned Mexican civil society. The fear is growing because the local and Federal governments have been incapable of following the rule of law and indicting the real criminals in the government and in organized crime (they were the very same people in Guerrero).

We call for members of the international academic community to press the Mexican authorities to take immediate action against the infiltration of narcos into government offices and political institutions and the resulting deterioration of democracy and the rule of law in Mexico.

And here is the link from the Campaign for Peace and Democracy.