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The Gruesome Fate of 43 Students - a Stark Commentary on Lawlessness in Mexico

Mexico's Attorney General Jesus Murillo has told his nation that 43 missing teacher trainee students who disappeared on September 26 were killed and their bodies burnt to a char by a gang. Three accused suspected members of the gang in police custody have confessed to playing a part in the torching of the students after they were strangled and or shot by the gang. 

The sadness and the grief that has gripped the families and the rest of Mexico about the fate of the doomed students has turned to anger as families demand more evidence and action from Mexico's government. News of the grim fate of these students amount to a gruesome commentary of lawlessness in Mexico that is still awash in gangland violence over the control of the apparent thriving drug trade.

On September 26, the 43 students were in the town of Iguala, in the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero. They had gone there as part of their civic activism to protest a speech to be given by the town's mayor's politically ambitious wife. Six students died in clashes with police. The mayor and his wife, who have since been arrested after being on the lam, allegedly got their crooked police force to kidnap the 43 students. The police turned the students over to the gang who strangled and shot them, dumped their bodies onto a garbage heap where the remains were torched and burnt for 12-hours.

Before the fate of the students was revealed by Mexico's attorney general yesterday, Mexican federal forces mounted searches for the missing students. In the course of the searches, authorities discovered more than 28 bodies buried in a gully in the vicinity of Iguala. Those bodies were not the students - but more victims of the lawlessness of Mexico.

Mexico's lawlessness continues despite pledges by President Pena Nieto to right the problem. In response to the fate of the 43 students, the president said he was "shocked and offended" at the heinous discovery and he has pledged to bring those responsible to justice. 

But the gangland violence has continued in Mexico because of a weak federal control over the states. The corruption of state officials in Mexico has enhanced the spread of violence from southern Mexico to Ciudad Juarez. Responsible and credible federal police action is needed to return Mexico to the rule of law. That police in Iguala turned over the 43 students to a gang is compelling evidence of the destruction of the rule of law in Mexico. Moreover, the action by the corrupt police represents the greatest betrayal of police powers in any society.

Thus, in lieu of a planned trip to China, Mexico's president needs to travel to Iguala to press federal investigators to effect a swift justice for the 43 students and to provide some closure to the families of ill-fated ones.