Mexican Mayor Charged in Disappearance of 43 Missing Mexican Students

AP

The former mayor of the [Mexican] city of Iguala has been charged with last year's kidnapping of 43 students who are feared to have been killed," Reuters reports, a step toward justice in the highly publicized case that sparked violent demonstrations across the country last year.

Reuters reports, "Tomas Zeron, director of criminal investigations at the federal Attorney General's office, said that prosecutors had obtained an arrest warrant for former mayor Jose Luis Abarca and 44 others on charges of kidnapping the 43 students."

The arrest warrant appears to be "the first charges filed against Abarca that are directly related to the students' disappearance," Reuters notes, even though authorities have suspected since October 2014 that the mayor and his wife were the masterminds of the kidnappings. Abarca's wife, María de los Angeles Pineda, was "jailed indefinitely" last week on charges that she and Abarca masterminded the abductions, Al-Jazeera reported last week.

Former Iguala mayor Jose Luis Abarca and wife Maria de los Angeles Pineda.  Uncredited/AP

The students' disappearance sparked protests across the nation as frustrations over the country's systemic inequality, corruption and collusion between law enforcement and the narcoterrorists who reign terror on innocent Mexicans have boiled over into the outrage over the student abductions, throwing President Enrique Peña Nieto's government into jeopardy.

But while charging Abarca and his wife might present the trappings of justice, it doesn't attack the root of the systemic gang violence that's plagued Mexico for years: Since the students' disappeared in September, 19 mass graves in the area have been uncovered and over 26,000 people remain missing

 "Mexico's war on drugs has claimed an estimated 100,000 lives since 2006, which marks the launch the government's campaign against narcotics traffickers," Mic's Becca Stanek wrote after Pineda's arrest. "But the students' disappearance signals that, in spite of the reform efforts that have been made, change has largely failed."

Editor's Note: Feb. 12, 2015

An earlier version of this article cited and linked to Reuters, but did not include quotations around the phrase "Tomas Zeron, director of criminal investigations at the federal Attorney General's office, said that prosecutors had obtained an arrest warrant for former mayor Jose Luis Abarca and 44 others on charges of kidnapping the 43 students." The story has been updated to fully attribute Reuters' language.

Editor's Note: Feb. 25, 2015

An earlier version of this article cited Reuters reporting, but did not include quotations around the cited passage. The story has been updated to fully attribute the Reuters language.