“We are here to say that the struggle around the 43 students is a live struggle, it is alive today, and it’s not something that’s staying in the past and that they’re dead. This is a live struggle.”
Speaking at a low-key media conference at the University of London’s Senate House, the words of Román Hernandez, a human rights defender from the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre in Guerrero, Mexico, summed up the spirit of fearlessness and defiance that has come to characterise the Ayotzinapa movement for truth and justice, now evolving into an international platform for change. The event in London marked the final day in a month-long European ‘caravan’ that sought to raise awareness of – and build solidarity around – the 43 disappeared students of the radical Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers’ College in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.
“We want you to realise that the so-called ‘historic truth’ released by the government is a media truth, an official truth, which does not imply that it is a historic truth,” said Román, describing how media coverage of the disappearances had diminished since they made international headlines last year.
“We are all there, all of us parents of these students, we’re in full fight and we’re united there together in Ayotzinapa. We demand that the government return our 43 sons. We’re not going to let the government off, we’re going to demand, demand, demand, until they return the students… There is no justice in Mexico – and even less if you’re a campesino.”
“We’ve been everywhere from a squat where families and migrants share two metre by two metre rooms all the way to the University of Leiden in Holland. Civil society here in Europe is with Ayotzinapa and they have made that known to us. It’s clear that they’re not going to make it easy for the Mexican government to impose its version of history regarding the 43 students…
“The very fact that we three have been able to be in 18 cities in 13 countries during these last weeks means there is a lot of transformatory capacity… We’ve come to realise that people who have been working in other struggles – for the rights of migrants against dispossession, of resources, against fascism in Europe, and so on – they are also in the struggle for Ayotzinapa…”