Students gathered in the Arbor yesterday to participate in a protest against the government of Mexico for their alleged participation in the kidnapping of 43 Mexican college students, all of whom are presumed dead.
In September, 43 students from a school in Ayotzinapa, Mexico, were allegedly taken by police and handed off to members of a criminal group, Guerreros Unidos. Last week, after authorities disclosed the discovery of potential remains, protests sparked across Mexico and many parts of the United States, with students joining in the movement through organized protest in front of a row of 43 photos that represent each of the missing students.
Third-year Chican@ studies major Nayeli Maldonado said the protest consisted of all day activities aimed at engaging and educating students about the incident in Mexico.
“Today was a collective; we’re standing in solidarity with other UC campuses, and the entire world,” Maldonado said.
According to first-year anthropology major Stephany Rubio, who was one of many organizers of the demonstration, the issue concerning the student deaths has been worsened by the Mexican government’s control of traditional media in the country.
“In Mexico, the president owns Televisa, which is the main source of getting any news and they’re quieting the situation down as much as they can,” Rubio said. “For us, ya nos cansamos — we’re tired, we want the state to take action.”
Rubio said social media in Mexico is not regulated and that on the social media site Twitter the tag #YaMeCanse, which is trending worldwide and means, “Enough, I’m tired,” in Spanish, is directed at the Mexican government.
Fourth-year Spanish and sociology double major Jaime Serrano said he felt the need to participate in the protest because he feels there is not enough attention to the issue on campus.
“I’m out here because I think more needed to be done, here especially,” Serrano said. “With such large Spanish-speaking community, I feel more needed to be done about the injustices that are happening in Mexico.”
According to fifth-year Latin American and Iberian studies and Spanish double major Gabriela Mora, the demonstration was meant to get more students to ask questions, take interest and possibly speak out against injustices in Mexico.
“A lot of people haven’t even heard about the event,” Mora said. “We had a really good reaction here. We kind of scared people, but we’re not trying to instill fear.”
Rubio also said she wants to see attention toward the deaths reach beyond campus and occur in other areas in the country.
“We’re trying to reach farther than just the UCSB community,” Rubio said. “We want to reach the United States. What goes on over there, directly affects us here. The U.S. even funds the Mexican government. We want to reach internationally.”