Caravana 43 rallies at City


The family members of missing 43 Ayotzinapa students Jorge Alvarez Nava, Benjamin Ascencio Bautista and Miguel Angel Mendoza speak to listeners circling around the small stone stage. Photo credit: Mark Elliott

Aldo Ramírez

Proclamations and chants such as “Ayotzinapa aguanta San Diego se levanta!” and the continuous shout of “Justice!” echoed through the streets of Downtown San Diego on March 24 in protest for the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico.

Accompanied by a police escort, the movement known as Caravana 43 marched peacefully through the streets from City College to the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building

Caravana 43 was formed by the family members of the students of the Normal Rural Isidro Burgo school in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, Mexico. Many believe the disappearance of the 43 students was caused by the mayor of that state at the time, Jose Luis Abarca, and his wife, Maria de los Angeles Pineda, as well as members of drug cartels, as the federal investigations into the disappearance have confirmed.

“We come to give this message. One does not have to wait until something happens in order to act. It’s hard to change our social system, it’s a process that takes time but with your help it will be easy,”’ Estanislao Mendoza said. Mendoza is the father of missing student Miguel Angel Mendoza.

Caravana 43 came to San Diego as part of a tour to the northern states of Mexico and different states in the United States to raise awareness about the case.

Creating social awareness of the actual political and social conditions that are affecting the neighbor country, and demanding the end of Plan Merida. Implanted by the U.S. government, the Merida Initiative aims to aid the Mexican government against the war on drugs, giving millions of dollars and military intelligence equipment in order to fight the drug cartels.

However, some of the public say that the money given to the federal police has been used by the same drug cartels that corrupt the government and lead to the same type of scenarios in Mexico, like the 43 disappeared students in Guerrero.

“The objective of the caravan of San Diego is to bring social consciousness to the people of this community. It is to let the people know that Mexico needs assistance,’’ said Marco Amaral, press director of Caravana 43 in San Diego.

“Mexico needs the assistance of the peoples that live here in the United States because we are partially to blame of what’s happening in Mexico. Us the taxpayers, we pay our taxes so that the U.S. government and military can go train the Mexican military and provide them with arms, those arms and that training is being used to suppress the people of Mexico,’’ Amaral said.

Once the protesters reached the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building, the parents of the disappeared students as well as some of their schoolmates gave a speech.

“Today it is us as Ayotzinapa, tomorrow it could be you,’’ said the mother of missing student Jose Alvarez Velez, Blanca Luz Nava Velez, also commenting on the influence that the U.S. government has on Mexico.

“Here is the power. Here is the money. It is enough,’’ she said, referring to the end of Merida plan.

Caravana 43 will continue its tour on U.S. territory following with various visits across the country.

For more information on Caravan 43, visit