The 43 normalistas of the rural school for teachers named Raúl Isidro Burgos (Ayotzinapa) ate soi with beans and a portion of rice. Lived in groups of 12 in rooms of nine square meters and the ones that got the best, slept in old bunks in rooms with holes on the walls, covered with carton. They bathed in unhealthy restrooms with cold water. Studied in classrooms without teaching materials and with desks deteriorated.
Contrary to that, José Luis Abarca Velázquez, major from the left party with license of Iguala and fugitive from the justice, lived walled, with a gym and pool; had several cars and properties. He lived a life of luxury, in a town of miserable people. As a narco.
This is the story of the margination of the young students that disappeared in Iguala. Its the portrait of an institution where teachers are made: no food, no resources and completely abandoned by the government. This os the life that was carried by the kids pf first grade that left to gather some coins so they could afford their practices. This is also the story of a politician from the democratic revolutionary party that was in a party when the tragedy happened.
By Shaila Rosagel
Ayotzinapa, Guerrero October 13(SinEmbargo).– The hands that cropped those purples flowers of cempasúchil and others of cilantro and rábano that grow under the sun of Ayotzinapa, did not return to be watered.
The crops florecen, the color of the flower contrasts with the green of threes and of the corn next to it, in those little plots carefully carved with a Caterpillar that year, substitutes an old and rusty that did the job since 30 years ago.
Its the students from first grade, who traditionally crop the land as part of the tests to get their school ID. This august, as every year, the teenagers cropped, and the seeds blossomed, but them, since september 26th, didn’t returned to see the product of their job. They traveled to Iguala to ask for cooperation to its villagers to pay for expenses of observation practices, and they didn’t returned. The hands of the 43 missing normalistas, left the harvest unfinished.
Luis Ángel González Flores lives in the area of Los Olvidados (The Forgotten) at the School of Teachers of Ayotzinapa. Thats how its called the row in the dorms, that next to Las Caverns (The Caverns), they give the students a bed.
The kid says he is lucky, shares the room of approximately nine square meters with just tres students and they sleep in a bunk. The majority of the normalistas first the night crowded in the rooms of the main building and oldest in the school, stucked one to another, even 12 in a piece.
“This area, well its forgotten, thats why its called “Los Olvidados”. We don`t have anything good, everything is falling, but, most of the people here are worst, because there are not enough ‘cubis’ (rooms) for everyone, and there, in “Las Cavernas”, sleeps between eight and 12”, says.
The rooms of the normalistas, as the hole school, are deteriorated and smell like humidity. The doors are closed with a padlock and a chain, because there aren’t bolts and holes in the walls are covered with old rags or pieces of cardboard. The interior of the room is funereal, has dimm light and ventilation. The space barely leaves place to accommodate in the bunks when they are going to sleep.
You have to be careful when you walk not to hit the one next to you, says Luis Ángel. Next to the dorm room of the kid, lived six of the 43 normalistas disappeared, in the same conditions.
They were neighbors and friends. The last time he saw them was in the school dinner, a day before they went to Iguala to get some coins. He spoke to them there . They were happy, because despite the shortcomings, their dream was to get a Ayotzinapa enrollment, and they had achieved it. They were interned for a month and a half and the third week of September was harsh, because they had to prove they really wanted to study in a series of tests of skills and abilities.
Thats why they put up with such overcrowding and eat rations of 50 pesos. In the morning breakfast egg,a soy beans or rice to eat, sometimes meat and a light dinner. They shared one bathroom per floor and bathed in unsanitary conditions and bathed with cold water, there was no heating. They washed their clothes in concrete, because there is only one washing machine for the whole school, where only washable covers. To become a teacher and four years of undergraduate study, they supported the heat deprived of the most elementary classrooms to combat high summer temperatures, a fan.
“The school has always suffered lacking. We do activities to get resources, there are old buildings, old structures damaged hallways, classrooms are in good state, we have enough resource, as we should have, as befits a high school. The government itself has limited us in the economic sense, so we went to ask for some coins, to help, “says Axayácatl, a young of Costa Grande, who attends second grade and is 19 years old.
The day the normalistas disappeared, they went our to ask for coins to cover their trips of practices or observation that sometimes last more than a week. With its resources they travel to remote and marginalized communities in Guerrero to serve. Resources which neither the government nor their families, provide them.
“Sometimes its up to two thousand pesos for each which must put together, and that’s a lot of money for salaries of our parents, who are farmers or have no stady job,” says Axayácatl son of hawkers.
In one of the building is the first grade classrooms. Empty, without desks. Its left tike this because there’s no school. The rooms are no better than the rest. They do not have enough furniture and teaching materials. Recently they put them a white board, because for years the teachers worked with chalk boards.
Axayácatl tells that in his list of demands to the state government they requested a digital library, a projector for presentations and paint to remodel classrooms, give it life and cleanliness. They asked for resources for an ecological project of recycling pet, but it was only left in dreams, the government didn’t responde it, and to them, their collections of coins isn’t enough.
“If the government gave us everything we need here, we would not need to go out and ask for coins to get photocopies, any notebook that we occupy,” says.
Since 26 September that activities were suspended, the school doesn’t even have food rations that the government use to provide, so the normalistas sold some cows and pigs in the farm to support the families of the missing students.
The teen says that there is a tradition of Guerrero authorities see them as someone that stinks.
“They say we are vandals, guerrillas and even terrorists, thats why the moment they see us, they attack us. In Chilpancingo they have pointed guns at us, they don’t shoot us because there are many people, there would be many witnesses watching, but they have pointed guns at us “he says.
In the area of Las Cavernas there are murals that recall these episodes in their history: repression. There are the names of Alexis Herrera Pino and Gabriel Echeverria de Jesus, the two students who died in December 2011, when the Governor Angel Aguirre Rivero evicted the freeway Autopista del Sol violently. The main building has the painting of the death scene of Juan Manuel Huikán Huikán, a student originally from Campeche who was killed by a state policeman in 1988 and was veiled from school.
Axayácatl says they repress them because they are revolutionaries, because the education they receive in the school, instructs them, because marginalized communities, educate people.
“What hurts the government is that here awakens a social conscience, which helps the people, that makes awareness of the needs and rights, that hurts them. That is why theres only 16 left of the 32 rural schools of education that use to be. The government wants to disappear them, if not, why do we have us like this?”, says.
Due to the disappearance of the 43 youngmen, normalistas from across the country are housed in the Rural Normal School of Ayotzinapa, supporting his teammates.
Miriam Santos Bonilla, a student at the School of Education of the Mountain in Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero, is one of them, who arrived at the scene to help with cooking and cleaning fees.
She considers it a moral duty to be in Ayotzinapa to support the normalistas. Miriam laments: “They did not know what is to have a first group, their first child, and they will not feel it.”
Youth as “The Frijolito”, one of 43 boys disappeared, characterized by being awake, industrious in the cleaning shores and participatory during lasses.
In Iguala, 200 km of Tixtla – municipality where the School of Education of Ayotzinapa lies – a man lived walled in a fortress of electrified fences and with several patrols guarding the perimeter of his house. It is the home of the Mayor with license and fugitive, Jose Luis Abarca Velázquez.
Abarca and his wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda Villa led a luxurious life in a middle class neighborhood, close to the downtown of the city. There he owned half a block and from his castle, were kings, owners and masters of the city.
Feared by his neighbors, few want to talk about the fugitive Major, who dare say the PRD, 1.52 meters tall, got out in the mornings with skin-tight shirts because he liked to show his biceps.
Inside its walls, it covers Velázquez, assure its neighbors, has a gym where it is exercised and own pool for sunbathing, and five vehicles lujosos. The Lincoln was his favorite.
The wife, Maria Pineda, was famous for being a lush, beautiful and much higher than her husband blonde. “He had to stand on the sidewalk to reach it, because it was nearly 1.70 meters. She was beautiful, the truth, “says one of the neighbors.
Although Jose Luis Abarca is short, their pockets are great and fortune, it is like an urban myth. Some people claim that he owns all Iguala: Plaza Galleries, Farmacias Guadalajara, several self service shops mall.
Abarca lived surrounded by hills, shrubs and clandestine graves and could not see for the marginalized neighborhoods. In the neighborhood San Miguelito, located near La Joya, the place where the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) found the last four graves, the people living in cardboard houses of brick didn’t know him.
“I never saw the mayor, it will be because I never liked politics, here I’m just going to sow, I’m a farmer, so here I never saw him,” says Santiago, a 47-year low a hill with two buckets shoulders.
Maria did see him once in downtown Iguala and didn’t like his face: “looked very arrogant, did not have a friendly face, or treated as must the educated and wife, once I went to the DIF [Development Integrated family] to seek help for a medicine, because my last pregnancy was very delicate, and told me to put me to work, I was young”, she recalls.
The mayor of Iguala lived in a city that was the scene of terror, torture and death in their surroundings. On the slopes of the hills, not far from urban areas.
Mary and her husband lived very near to La Joya, and at dawn the man got up and went to the site to hear the sounds that echo the mountain led to his ears.
They were not pleasant sounds: they were cries of horror, of men and women crying, screaming, asking for mercy and help.
“They were heard at dawn, most Saturdays and Sundays, the screams coming from the hill. Were women and men alike, “she says.
Other residents of the neighborhood San Miguelito ensure that in the area where new graves are, hummers, jeeps, trucks, motorcycles and vehicles of municipal police went up.
A young man who requested anonymity for security reasons, said that about two weeks ago when normalistas disappeared, heard movement of vehicles in the area and detonations.
According to the young man it was common in a while listening shots of AK47gun and coming and going of vehicles in the middle of the night and early morning.
But that morning, José Luis Abarca did not hear anything, because eh was at a DIF party with his wife, according to their statements.
That Friday 26th of September several people who were in the main plaza of Iguala threw to the floor when the shooting began and the village downtown panicked.
Young normalistas, people say, took a bus from Linea Estrella to return to Ayotzinapa and were chased at gunpoint by the municipal police. That night they disappeared into the darkness.
It is now known, that the mayor allegedly, had ties to organized crime and is being investigated by the PGR.
In the downtown court of the School of education of Ayotzinapa there is an altar with candles and saints that the parents of missing the 43 normalistas placed to pray for their children alive.
There, Macedonia Torres Romero, a 49 year-old widow for three years waiting for José Luis Luna Torres, a 21 year-old boy who disappeared in Iguala between the night of 26th and morning 27th of September.
The lady of humble origin, cries. 15 days ago she left Amilcingo, Morelos, when she was told that his son was missing. Macedonia is preparing to go to sell corn and peanuts to Cuautla, when she got the news and left everything.
“I ran out and I thought I would find it then, but not anymore, it has being too much time and no news, he doesn’t appear”, she says quietly.
Macedonia talks with the reluctance of sadness, but excited at the memory of José Luis, a young man who wanted to study at the school of education in Ayotzinapa to access better opportunities.
Although the women was warned by their acquaintances that it was dangerous to study there, the insistence of his son convinced her.
“He said, ‘Come on mom let me study to have a special job and have more, we have nothing, let me to live in a better house,’ because we are poor, we have nothing further in Morelos,” he says.
In Morelos, Macedonia is a street vendor and traveling hours by van to move to Cuautla every day. Her husband left her as family wealth before he died, a house of two rooms in Amilcingo. One metal sheet and one of concrete.
“The concrete room did it to me with the work from the fields, he said: ‘Woman what do we do with the money sorghum, God multiplied it. Woman, should we buy clothes and shoes? ‘, Because I wanted clothes for my children, “she recalls. “But he tells me: ‘There is always clothing, there are always shoes, but a house not’ then did the casting room.”
As Macedonia, most of the parents of the 43 normalistas remain in Ayotzinapa every day, waiting for news.
They come and go during the day to Chilpancingo DNA tests performed to compare their genetic information with that of the 28 bodies that took the first graves in the La Parota, in the zone of Pueblo Viejo, at the foot of Cerro Gordo in Iguala.
They leave early and return to school when evening falls for the night, but Macedonia spends most of the time between the old buildings, empty classrooms and poverty Ayotzinapa, waiting for news of her missing son.
Photograpy by Antonio Cruz para SinEmbargo.mx
Translation: David Salazar
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