Manifest for a Mexico without crime

To the Mexican Government in all of its orders,

To the civil society and the Mexican people in general

1. The crime committed against more than 43 students of the Escuela Normal Rural Isidro Burgos, in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, in the past month of September, was a crime against humanity (according to the definition given in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, ratified by Mexico in 2005), committed, sponsored and facilitated by actions and omissions of public officials in the exercise of their capacities —whom were already acting against students from this school for quite some time. This crime unveiled a net of collusions that has prevailed in the state of Guerrero and, to a greater or lesser extent, in the rest of the country, a net in which criminal organizations, governmental authorities of practically all orders, politicians of different political parties, as well as private interests, take part to different degrees.

2. The outrage against such crime has motivated a social movement that is fully justified on all counts: morally, humanely, politically, and legally. Decisive support to this movement by all Mexicans who have a sense of responsibility for their homeland is to be expected. Even though this movement is fueled by a demand stating that this particular crime should be solved and that justice be properly served, it should not be misunderstood as a movement against a single crime but against a generalized state of moral, social, and political decay, capable of breeding crimes of this sort. This movement demands that adequate measures be taken to effectively deal with such generalized situation.

3. The federal government of Mexico and —in relation to their jurisdiction and legal obligations— the other orders of government as well, must assume their responsibility of serving justice and enforcing the law with regards to the crime committed, responsibility that has only been assumed in discourse but not in practice, as the federal government took 10 days in taking the investigations under its jurisdiction and the results after almost two months have been entirely unsatisfactory and even suspicious. Considering this, the government must not only reiterate in official declarations its commitment to the clarification of this crime but also adopt effective measures to solve it.

4. The Mexican government should also assume its responsibility with respect to this state of decomposition, capable of replicating crimes like this in any part of the country, like the more than 15 extrajudicial executions by members of the Mexican army in Tlatlaya, Estado de Mexico, in the past month of June, among many others, and take effective measures to preclude the reproduction of such crimes, as well as the repeated violation of human rights at the hands of public officials in the exercise of their capacities.

5. The Mexican government in its different orders must categorically respect the right to protest of the hundred of thousands of people partaking in the movement generated by the indignation against this crime; it should not repress this movement, as it has regrettably happened in many cases —the most recent one being the arbitrary detention of 11 students in the protests of November 20th in Mexico City. The government should not conflate the intention of these pacific manifestations with the putative intention of destabilizing the country. The distinction between the two is quite clear to identify, especially by the authorities that have as one of their functions the recollection of intelligence. Accordingly, to suggest (as President Peña Nieto did in his discourse of November 18th, after coming back from China) that at some point the two intentions might not be distinguishable, it is in practice a clear encouragement to repress this movement and an anticipated justification for the abuse to come at the hands of the police and military authorities against the population. Instead, the government must state publicly its rejection to all kind of aggressions against this movement, especially those coming from public power.

6. At the same time those who —with the authority that this social movement bestows upon them— organize and lead the protests in demand of justice, should require that their followers do not engage in acts of violence or behavior that could be understood as an invitation to incur in acts of violence, and should demarcate themselves from the violence that has taken place or may take place during such protests. No one desires for there to be violence in Mexico, except for those that do no cherish this country. The violence that breeds from above, either from the political or economical elite, should not be answered back with more violence. Citizens may succeed in their fight only if they assume a radically different stance from those that have horrified the world with their crimes. It is already clear that by harming the rights of others this movement may only let go of support it cannot afford to lose.

7. We propose that the movement concentrates its forces around the following concrete demands:

a) The full and detailed clarification of the crimes committed in Tlatlaya and Ayotzinapa, including and explanation regarding what allowed these atrocities to happen and, of course, the punishment of all the criminals involved directly or indirectly in all orders and modes of participation. Justice should be fully served.

b) Urgent measures should be taken to effectively deal with the social, political and moral decay that has given place to the reign of organized crime (in the broadest possible sense) in the country, measures that may effectively preclude the recurrence of such horrific crimes.

Among these measures we should expect: (i) the establishment of a citizenship-based supervising mechanism that may overlook the candidacies proposed by political parties; (ii) the prompt satisfaction of the recommendation that the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances addressed to the Mexican Government in 2011; (iii) the public exhibition, and citinzenship-based supervision, of the guidelines under which members of the police and the military are implicitly or explicitly taught and trained.

c) Urgent measures to fight back impunity, that spreading disease in the country that is the breeding grounds for new crimes. There must be clear signs that the more than 22, 000 cases of disappeared people in the country have priority under the government’s security policy.

d) The commitment from the government to categorically respect the right to protest of the Mexican citizenry, without promoting confusion and direct or indirect invitations to repression. This commitment must include the destitution of the authorities that partake, promote or tolerate unjustified acts of public force. In particular, we demand the immediate release of all the students and people arbitrarily detained in Mexico City during the ‘Global Action for Ayotzinapa’ of November 20th.

For a Mexico without crime —especially without crimes committed by those whose obligation is to protect the Mexican population.

(This manifesto was elaborated by a group of academics based at the Institute for Philosophical Research of UNAM. To suscribe the manifesto, please go to