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A Day in Ayotzinapa 43

By Bob Stone

“Why do you act this way, peppering our boys with bullets, attacking, behaving in such an inhuman manner?” After the still-unsolved disappearance of 43 Ayotzinapa students on September 26, 2014, this question from a parent of a student killed that day will be echoed in screenings of Rafael Rangel’s controversial and celebrated A Day in Ayotzinapa 43 at La Biblioteca on May 26, eight months to the day after that pivotal event. The director, who is bilingual, will converse with audiences after each show.

Un Día en Ayotzinapa 43
Tue, May 26, 2pm and 5:30pm
Teatro Santa Ana
Reloj 50A
Subtitles in English

This first theatrical (as opposed to TV) documentary on Ayotzinapa “is not an account of the events on September 26 in the town of Guerrero,” according to promotional materials, “but an intimate foray into a community under siege, the school that was the symbolic epicenter of a political tension that has since erupted at all levels.” It premiered March 13, 2015, at Mexico City’s prestigious National Film Archives. La Biblioteca’s screenings will be the first in Guanajuato. See the trailer at

“We hope the discussion with Rafael will start a bilingual community dialog,” said Lourdes Guerrero, of Ayotzinapa San Miguel, the event’s sponsor and organizer of San Miguel’s Ayotzinapa procession last November 20. Co-sponsor is the Center for Global Justice.

All proceeds from participant donations (100 pesos) will go directly to the Normal Rural School Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa.

Arriving two weeks after the repression, Rangel wrote: “My experience in the Normal School was emotionally devastating. More than 500 young people, between 17 and 23, living in miserable conditions, in rooms without beds, sleeping on the floor, paying 50 pesos for three meals a day, but not weekends, despite being a boarding school.”

Located in 16 different states, the rural teacher training centers, a legacy of the Mexican Revolution that was given impetus in the 1930s by president Lázaro Cardenas, served over 6,000 students from rural communities. These communities often suffer from the influx of cheap agricultural products under NAFTA, stimulating both migration north and opposition to free trade locally.

It is fairly well established that around 6pm on September 26, 2014, more than 100 students from the Ayotzinapa School traveled to Iguala, Guerrero, to protest what they considered discriminatory government funding of urban student-colleges over rural ones. After confrontations with local authorities, six students were dead, 27 were injured, and 43 were taken into custody and have not been heard of since.

Promotional materials for the film ask: “Where are they? What are they doing? What are they thinking about? What do they believe? What do they dream of?”

There is room for about 90 at each of the screenings, and tickets are available at La Biblioteca or can be reserved by calling the Center for Global Justice, 415 150-0025 Monday through Friday between 5 and 9pm, for pickup within 36 hours.


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