Read more about Pierce’s reporting process in The Backstory with Lindsay Beyerstein.
September 8, 2015
Nos Faltan 43: New Inquiry Raises Doubts on Fate of Missing Mexican Students
An independent inquiry casts doubt on the Mexican government’s claim that the bodies of 43 missing normal school students, who disappeared from the state of Guerrero last fall, were incinerated in a rubbish pit in Cocula:
The Mexican government said that the students were killed and incinerated in a rubbish dump because they were mistaken for members of a drug gang. However, the 500-page report released on Sunday underlines the inconsistent and at times contradictory confessions of detainees, who have since claimed they were victims of torture, as well as questions the justifications given by the federal authorities for not acting to stop the attacks.
“This report provides an utterly damning indictment of Mexico’s handling of the worst human rights atrocity in recent memory,” said José Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas division at Human Rights Watch.
The report is the result of a 6-month inquiry by the Inter-American Human Rights Commission. Forensic experts told investigators that the official account was physically impossible. In their opinion, it would have been impossible to cremate so many bodies so completely with so little fuel. People who were supposedly involved in the disposal of the bodies told IAHRC investigators that they produced the official story under torture. Medical records seem to validate the torture allegations.
September 4, 2015
Sidney's Picks: Left in the Silica Dust
Silica dust, Creative Commons.
The best of the week’s news…
A tougher silica dust rule would save 700 lives a year, but the government has been stalling since the seventies.
BuzzFeed News wins the August Sidney Award for their sweeping investigation into abuses of guest workers under the H2 visa program. H2 visas exist to supply short-term labor for jobs that Americans supposedly won’t do. H2 jobs run the gamut from crayfish shelling in Louisiana to running carnival rides in Vermont. The program attracts workers from Indian, Mexico, Guatemala, and elsewhere. Unfortunately, as BuzzFeed News discovered, the structure of the program invites abuse. Workers are tied to a single employer. If they are unsatisfied with their pay or working conditions, they have no recourse. BuzzFeed found that thousands of H2 workers complained of abuses ranging from wage theft and false imprisonment to sexual abuse.
The winning story is the work of investigative reporter Jason Bensinger, senior investigative editor Jessica Garrison, and data editor Jeremy Singer-Vine.
Find out how BuzzFeed News got the winning story in The Backstory.