Account of a tragedy
A night that marked the history of our institution
The tragic date of March 19, 2010, will forever be in the hearts of everyone at Tecnológico de Monterrey, since the death of our students, Jorge Antonio Mercado Alonso and Javier Francisco Arredondo Verdugo, on our Campus Monterrey, at the hands of members of the Mexican Army, violated our institution and profoundly wounded its community.
Since that terrible moment, at Tecnológico de Monterrey we have implemented actions seeking respect for the dignity and memory of our students and fought for justice and truth. We have endeavored to accompany their family members during the most difficult moments and, together with the community, have publicly and repeatedly condemned the violence and defamation of Jorge and Javier. The following is a brief account of the institution’s main actions in relation to this deplorable, distressing event.
In the first few hours after the events of the 19th, the Nuevo León State Attorney General’s Office informed us that the deceased were two criminals who had been killed in a confrontation with the military. Based on this information, we issued a statement to the community. A few hours later, the institution received evidence that the victims were students from our community. We immediately focused on accompanying and supporting their families in the difficult events that followed, sparing no effort and providing them with psychological and logistical support.
On March 20, once the identity of our students had been confirmed, the then rector of the Tec, Dr. Rafael Rangel Sostmann, apologized publicly for having repeated the initial version given by the authorities during the first hours of the previous day.
The next day, March 21, we published a notice in the principal local newspapers, relating the events and clarifying that the Institution had reported the information shared by the authorities, which was later found to be false.
On Tuesday 23, we held a memorial ceremony with the presence of the deceased students’ families and the attendance of more than 2,500 people.
In the following days, the Tec, through communiqués, notices, interviews and press conferences, protested against the violence and clamored for the vindication of the students’ dignity and memory, condemning the versions that the deceased were criminals and demanding the full truth and that justice be done.
A few weeks later, the Tec promoted the march “Movement for Change”, held on April 11 with the participation of over 2,000 people. Seeking positive action and to contribute to the pressing need to put an end to the climate of insecurity prevailing in the country and, in particular, the city of Monterrey, the Institution presented the “Pronouncement and Proposals to Improve Security in Mexico”, the outcome of a community-wide consultation process, which included five specific claims and proposals.
On April 22, Dr. Rangel went before the Senate of the Republic to present a proposal for the National Security Law in which any members of the armed forces who violate human rights should be tried in civil rather than military courts.
On May 3, posthumous awards for Jorge and Javier were given to their families, and a plaque was placed to represent their legacy and history.
Since then, we have remained in contact with their families and attended follow-up meetings with diverse authorities. In addition, every year the Tec community has paid tribute to Jorge and Javier, with the participation of faculty, students and directors, insisting on clearing their names, the truth being made known and justice being done.
On the nineth anniversary of our students’ death, March 19, 2019, Olga María Sánchez Cordero Dávila, Minister of the Interior, took part in a solemn act at Campus Monterrey, offering a public apology to the parents of the deceased students and to the institution for the actions of the members of the Mexican Army, and the errors and omissions of the authorities in the criminal justice process.
The institution is confident that the authorities will clarify this case in full and take it to its ultimate conclusion. This is what we continue to ask for today.
We will carry on accompanying the families of our students, Jorge and Javier, whose memory will endure in the hearts of each and every member of our community, inspiring us to continue to fight for justice and peace in Mexico. They will be remembered exactly as they were:
“Excellent students, extraordinary students, who, apart from having been awarded scholarships for academic excellence, displayed an exemplary academic performance and an intensive participation in student life.”