Did you see these 43 empty chairs set up on the Main Green today? Did you walk by them without figuring out what they were for? It’s fine, you probably aren’t alone in that. But these chairs, an exhibit titled “We are the 43 still missing,” were there as an homage to the 43 students at a Mexican teachers college that disappeared this September after an encounter with local police. The students were on their way to a protest when they were arrested — after a gunfight in which 10 other students died — handed over to a cartel called the United Warriors, and presumably murdered. Each chair on the Main Green today had a portrait of one of the missing students on it. Their disappearance has sparked outrage both in Mexico and around the world.
Last night, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies hosted a teach-in on the tragedy in Iguala, the town in which the Normal University of Ayotzinapa is located. The Center’s director, Richard Snyder, moderated the panel, which consisted of four women: Janice Gallagher, Paula Martínez ’17, Atenea Rosado-Viurques, and Camila Ruiz ’18.
Before any of the panelists spoke to a packed Kassar Foxboro auditorium, however, Snyder showed a 5 minute video titled “Mexico: The Wound of the World” to provide some context. Since the beginning of the use of the military against drug cartels in 2006, levels of violence have exploded. The country’s poorest states, including Guerrero, where these students were from, have faced disproportionate amounts this violence.