Latin America Is Embracing—and Empowering—the Military

Latin America Is Embracing—and Empowering—the Military
A man spray paints graffiti reading, “Crime of State,” next to a poster reading, “16 Years of Military Impunity,” at a protest to demand justice for the disappearance in 2014 of 43 Mexican students, in Mexico City, Mexico, Sept. 26, 2022 (Eyepix/Sipa photo by Luis Barron via AP Images).

Last week, an international panel of experts investigating the disappearance of 43 Mexican students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in 2014 issued its final report. In it, the group said the Mexican military was complicit in the events of 2014 and continues to actively cover up evidence and block investigators from learning the truth today.

Upon taking office in December 2018, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador—known as AMLO—promised to reopen the investigation into the case, which had languished amid widespread suspicions of impunity for the military. He subsequently established a separate truth commission, in addition to renewing the mandate of the international panel, which had been appointed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights four years before.

Several political figures and military officers connected to the previous administration were detained, but the investigation then languished due to pressure from current and retired military commanders. Nevertheless, and in spite of his previous promises of accountability, AMLO defended the military against the charges made in the international panel’s report and denied the allegations that any evidence had been covered up.

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