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New “After Ayotzinapa” Podcast Episode Investigates US Connection to 2014 Mass Iguala Kidnapping

January 24, 2022
Credit: Illustration by Dante Aguilera

The National Security Archive and Reveal News from the Center for Investigative Reporting released the second installment of the new podcast “After Ayotzinapa” this Saturday, January 22, 2022. The ongoing three-part series is the result of a three year investigation by National Security Archive senior analyst Kate Doyle and Reveal News senior reporter Anayansi Diaz-Cortes into the September 26, 2014, disappearance of 43 students of the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College. The students were attacked while traveling to Mexico City to commemorate the anniversary of the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre; their families were initially told that corrupt police had turned the students over to a local gang that had murdered them and then burned the bodies – but there was much more to the story.  

In the latest episode, Chapter 2: The Cover Up, Doyle and Diaz-Cortes focus on the botched initial investigation into, and the government obstruction of, the Ayotzinapa case. A central question that is addressed in Chapter 2 is the allegedly local gang that was responsible for the murders. According to Doyle, who was brought into the case by the victims’ families, “There was a really intriguing lead in the case that the Mexican government had just ignored. And it came from a drug investigation in Chicago of all places. Here’s what happened. At the end of 2014, not long after the attack on the students, the US Justice Department posted a press release announcing a drug bust. It said eight men had been charged as a part of a heroin trafficking ring operating out of Aurora, a Chicago suburb. According to the DEA, the men were working for a Mexican drug cartel called Guerreros Unidos. That’s the same gang Mexican officials were saying was involved in the disappearance of the 43 students in Iguala, Mexico. When the lawyers called, my first move was to track down this man” – this man being the now retired DEA agent Mark Giuffre. Listen to their discoveries – or read the transcript of the podcast, as well as several of the key documents behind the episode – here.   

The first episode, Chapter 1: The Missing 43, released on January 15, 2022, focuses on interviews with the students who survived the attack. The oral testimonies were recorded by John Gibler, an author, journalist, and activist who traveled from Mexico City to the teachers college in the immediate aftermath of the attack. In an interview with Doyle that was published by the Archive on January 21, 2022, Gibler recounts his experience reporting on the Ayotzinapa case, the risks of reporting on human rights violations in Mexico, and the extent to which reporting from fellow journalists on the Ayotzinapa case has contradicted the government record. Gibler also shared his analysis of how government authorities and organized crime colluded to produce one of Mexico’s most shocking human rights atrocities. 

The first two episodes of the podcast are available to listen on your podcast app of choice or Reveal’s website

The final episode, Chapter Three: All Souls, will air on January 29, 2022, and addresses the efforts being made by a new government to overcome the cover-up and truly advance the cause of truth and justice for the missing 43 students.

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