Ayotzinapa caravan making a stop in San Diego

March 20, 2015

By Pablo J. Sáinz

Community members show support for Ayotzinapa families in front of the Mexican Consulate in San Diego before a march last February.

Community members show support for Ayotzinapa families in front of the Mexican Consulate in San Diego before a march last February.

A group of parents and classmates of the 43 missing students from Guerrero will make a stop in San Diego as part of their trip through the United States to tell their side of the story.

The Caravana 43 will be in San Diego Monday and Tuesday March 23rd and 24th for a series of events, including marches, vigils, and forums. It part of a nationwide caravan divided into three groups that will visit cities throughout the U.S. with the goal of sharing what organizers call “the real story” of what happened in Iguala in September of last year, when 43 students from a nearby rural teachers’ college went missing.

“We want the people of the United States, especially those who are from Guerrero, to learn directly from us of what is happening in our land,” said Angel Neri de la Cruz Ayala, who is a student survivor of the Iguala events and is the official spokesperson for the groups travelling through California and other West Coast cities.

“We want to invite all of the public to learn the truth of what happened that day, something the Mexican government and many news media are trying to hide,” he said.

For Itzel Osmara Martinez, the Caravana 43 spokesperson in San Diego, the group’s caravan to the U.S. is important in order to inform the public about what’s happening in Mexico.

“The visit of both parents and both students from Ayotzinapa is essential to spreading consciousness across the state, and raising awareness to the narc-government that continuously begins to massacre the people of Mexico,” Martinez said. “San Diego will feel the rage, the energy, the power, the love, the hurt, and anger like no other, as we hear the stories from the mother, father, and students themselves, word by word.”

The caravana will have a vigil and community potluck dinner at Mount Carmelo Catholic Church in San Ysidro on Monday.
“It is the community helping the community,” said Salvador Candia, one of the San Ysidro organizers.

Then, on Tuesday, they will march from San Diego City College to the Federal Building in Downtown San Diego.

During the events “they will speak about their search for the kidnapped students, their struggle for justice, and their views of the current situation in Mexico,” Martinez said.

In recent weeks, San Diego organizations have held art shows, marches, and talks, to create awareness and show support for the Ayotzinapa families.

Elena Marques, co-director of Comité Acción Ayotzinapa in San Diego, said that she is looking forward to meeting the caravan. In February she led a march through the streets of Downtown San Diego from the Mexican Consulate to the NBC News building.

“My motivation to fight for these families and students has always been the human aspect: I fight for them the way I would want someone to fight for my own family,” Marques said. “And to be able to meet them face to face and hear their words and stories will just be that much more motivation to continue the struggle for justice and answers.”

Martinez said that San Diego residents have been very supportive of the Ayotzinapa students.

“The responses have been continuous, this injustice is going on its 6th month, and we always see community come out and support,” she said.

To learn more about Caravana 43, please visit www.caravana43.com . For a complete schedule of events in San Diego, visit www.facebook.com/SDcomUNIDAD.

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