Hear a Mexican SSDPer's Take on the Iguala Student Massacre

Plea My name is Gustavo Monraz. I’m 20 years old and studying at the University of Guadalajara. Some friends and I recently started a SSDP chapter at my university to educate people about drug policy and support decriminalization of cannabis. It’s important for me to ask SSDP members to strengthen their campaigns and participate in the October 15 Vigil for the Students Killed in Iguala, Mexico.   Background In March 2013, various groups of vigilantes started to proliferate in response to the violence of cartels. Common civilians of Michoacan started fighting against The Knights Templar cartel by prosecuting them, taking their properties, establishing patrols in the towns and taking control over highways. They started a cleansing rampage to eliminate members of the cartel and planned to expand to all the state. In June, 2014, before vigilantes arrived at the Port of Lazaro Cardenas, which presumably is controlled by the cartel, vigilantes moral leader Jose Manuel Mireles was arrested and taken to the Capital by the federal police and army. Soon after, vigilante movements started to disintegrate and the federal government turned them into rural police under their control. Some vigilante groups persisted but maintained their control from outside public view; the Knights Templar leader, for example, is still directing the organization’s criminal activities in the state.   September 26 This year, on the night of September 26, students from a normal school in Ayotzinapa stole three buses from a bus station to go to a national commemoration of the Tlatelolco massacre. They were stopped by police who promptly opened fire, killing three of them. Police started arresting the students, but until now 43 of them remained missing. Some versions of the story claim that police gave the students to members of the United Warriors cartel. Recently, police found five clandestine graves, one of them with approximately 28 corpses. Investigations are still establishing the identity of the dead bodies, but some people fear that these bodies may belong to the missing students. The governor, who is speculated to have relationships with members of the cartel, fled after the incident.   Popular response All around Mexico and the world, people have started protesting and demanding justice. ERIP or Revolutionary Army of the Insurgent People and Militias of Guerrero have pronounced public statements that they will start a war against the United Warriors cartel. ERIP proposed an execution squad and a campaign for people to denounce members of the United Warriors cartel. A federal legislator has recently said in congress that our country has a narco-government. And that many public figures are imposed or influenced by cartels’ economic power. For many, it’s undeniable that the difference between cartels and government is hard to tell.   US drug policy Unfortunately, US drug policies are in great part responsible of the heavily corrupt state Mexico is currently in. Corruption has taken a toll on the amount of public spending on infrastructure, slowing Mexico’s economic growth and creating job scarcity and low paying wages. The resulting poverty in turn pushed people to misery, migration or becoming a criminal, creating a big labor market for cartels to choose from.   Your mission By working in changing US drug policies, you’re fighting for more honest governments, not just in the US, but everywhere. Reducing cartels’ economic power is reducing their overall influence on institutions both from United States and Mexico. Corruption easily allows criminals to enter public administration. Laws that force governments to look after the people are necessary as soon as possible. The changes you achieve locally have a real impact in the rest of the world. It’s in your hands to end one of the biggest crisis of our century and return safety to thousands of citizens summited by criminal organizations. You can stop the bloodshed that has taken the life of more than 100,000 civilians since 2007.   —- How to get involved: