Mexico is facing a crisis of disappearances, with more than 100,000 people missing since 2006, according to official data. Many of the victims are presumed to have been kidnapped or killed by drug cartels, which often bury their bodies in clandestine graves or dump them in remote areas. The Mexican government has been criticized for its lack of action and support for the families of the missing, who often have to conduct their own investigations and searches.
One of the most active groups of searchers is the mothers of the disappeared, who have formed volunteer teams known as “Colectivos” to look for their children or their remains. These mothers risk their lives and face threats and violence from the cartels, as well as indifference and corruption from the authorities. At least five mothers have been killed in Mexico since the start of 2021 while searching for their children.
The mothers use various methods to locate possible burial sites, such as tips from informants, metal rods to detect the smell of decomposition, and trained dogs. They also organize marches and protests to demand justice and accountability from the government. They say they will not give up until they find their children, dead or alive.
And on Friday, July 21st, representatives of these Collectives of searchers asked Andrés Manuel López Obrador, president of Mexico, for the same treatment he gave to Estela de Carlotto, president and founder of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo in Argentina, who was there on Friday morning.
“Mr. President, good morning. It’s good that you make room for Estela de Carlotto in the morning conference, her fight has inspired all of Latin America” one of the Colectivo de Madres Buscadoras representatives declared.
“Now, what is happening in Mexico today and has been happening for 15 years is the same or more serious than what happened in Argentina, since we are talking about more than 100,000 missing people and more than 50,000 remains and unidentified bodies in the face of this crisis. The authorities have not responded either at the federal or state level,” one of the women explained.
These mothers looking for their missing relatives also clarified that they are not part of any type of opposition: “This is something that Lopez Obrador has pointed out on different occasions, that we are part of his political adversaries, which is totally false”, we just want to know what happened to our sons and daughters, if they dead or alive, we want justice”, the Colectivo representative concluded.
San Miguel Times