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Mexico facing 'big political crisis' in aftermath of student disappearances, says ambassador to U.S.

November 12th, 2014
04:20 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

Mexico is facing a “big political crisis,” the country’s Ambassador to the United States told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday, nearly two months after 43 students were forcibly abducted by the police and are now feared murdered.

“It is a big political crisis for Mexico. We are all outraged by these brutal events and the only feeling that we can have is to share this sorrow and pain from the parents of these students who are still missing,” Ambassador Eduardo Medina Mora said.

In what was the first interview a Mexican government official has given to the international media since the students’ disappearance on September 26, Medina Mora maintained that the government is facing this crisis “with every single tool at our reach in order to impede this to happen again.”

“We have 10,000 people deployed on the terrain as we speak, searching for these students actively. We have a very clear path of investigation. We have hypothesis that actually shows that it might be the case that they are dead, they have been killed.”

“But we are not stopping the search here. The investigation is an open one.”

The all-male group of students from a teaching college were about to stage a protest in the town of Iguala, in the south western state of Guerrero, before they were kidnapped by the police and subsequently handed over to a local gang.

According to Mexico’s Attorney General Jesus Murillo Karam, they were then shot and burned at a garbage dump for hours. The case has sparked protests across the country and laid bare the scale of corruption, narco crime and a defective criminal justice system.

Medina Mora acknowledged that the case “is a wakeup call for all of us in the shortcomings of our institutional advancement, particularly in states like Guerrero.”

“We have advanced a lot. But it is very clear that we are not yet where we need to be in terms of responding to the basic obligation of the state, which is to provide certainty to all united citizens to live their lives in peace, in tranquility with their families in what can be called normality.”

“We are certainly not there, particularly in areas as Guerrero, that are certainly facing these dramatic circumstances. And I can assure you that government, President Pena Nieto, is fully and personally committed.”

Medina Mora, who was Mexico’s former Attorney General from 2006 to 2009, recognized the need “to review the distribution of powers between the federation, state and municipalities.”

“We need to actually build up institutional strength and a democratic state, Christiane, needs a very strong and large police force at the end, in order not to use it. We have to develop very strong, reliable, accountable police institutions to respond to these challenges.”

“And maybe the design that we have had to this date is not up to this task. We have to review this clearly, nationally, but now as for the most important element in the State of Guerrero and all those areas that are facing these dramatic circumstances, in which organized crime plays a role, our problem is not a drug trafficking problem, it's a security problem, which is made much worse by drug trafficking.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Mexico
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