• Father of kidnapped Ayotzinapa 43 student speaks at Saint Louis University

    by Carolina Hidalgo, St. Louis Public Radio

    Mario González Contreras doesn’t like speaking at universities.

    The students who fill the lecture halls and seminar rooms are about the same age as his son, César. He notices his son’s features in their faces. Or maybe, he looks for them. And that’s when it hits him the hardest.

    On Sunday evening, González stood behind a lectern at Saint Louis University’s Center for Global Citizenship. About two dozen students listened intently as he talked about his son.

    César González Hernández turned 19 the spring before he left home to study at Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College in Guerrero, Mexico. He was bright and idealistic and eager to serve as a teacher in Mexico’s indigenous and marginalized communities. Communities like his.

    “He was a human being,” González said in Spanish. “With dreams and with flaws. But with more virtues than flaws.”

    The last time González heard from his son was at 5:35 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2014.

    That night, about 100 students from the Ayotzinapa school commandeered a handful of buses to get themselves to the capital. They hoped to attend a march marking the anniversary of a student massacre carried out decades ago by the government.