By Charlie Smart

43 college students kidnapped and presumed dead. That’s the situation in Guerrero, Mexico, and earlier today, a group of UConn students and faculty gathered outside the Homer Babbidge Library to show their solidarity with the missing Mexican students.

An organizer prepares a sign displaying the faces of some of the 43 missing students. (Photo by Charlie Smart)

An organizer prepares a sign displaying the faces of some of the 43 missing students. (Photo by Charlie Smart/WHUS News)

On Sept. 26, a group of 43 Mexican students, all going to college to become teachers traveled to Iguala, Mexico to protest unfair practices by the Mexican government.

UConn student Ruth Hernandez explains, saying that, “they [the Mexican government] have a series of corrupt policies and practices, one of which is the hiring practices of teachers.”

According to reports, the students were intercepted by police, and placed into custody. Then, in a frightening turn of events, the students were turned over by the police to a drug cartel know as the Guerreros Unidos, and presumably murdered.

An organizer of the event, who identified himself only as “one of the 43 disappeared students” says that this sort of violence and corruption is not an isolated incident. He cites another incident during which a college student and his dog were shot by the police.

Students hold signs and flags. (Photo by Charlie Smart)

Students hold signs and flags. (Photo by Charlie Smart/WHUS News)

The event today consisted a reading of the names of all 43 students, each name followed by a shout of “presente,” or present in Spanish. Hernandez says the goal of today’s events was to raise awareness about the missing students and the general corruption of the Mexican government.

The unnamed organizer used no uncertain terms when asked who was to blame for the disappearance of these students. He said that he holds the Mexican government “completely responsible” for this recent kidnapping as well as for rampant drug cartels and corruption in the country. Hernandez put it even simpler, saying only “fue el estado,” or “it was the state.” The event ended with a chant of that same phrase.

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