Crime & Justice

Hundreds of Mexican mothers of disappeared urgently demand solutions

By Ines Amarelo

Mexico City, May 10 (EFE).- Hundreds of mothers of disappeared persons in Mexico on Monday demanded urgent solutions to the many ongoing crimes of that kind that took their loved ones from them, noting that, despite it being Mother’s Day, for them “there’s no longer any May 10.”

“We came to demand (a solution), because for us there’s no longer any May 10. I have a disappeared son and they destroyed a whole family,” said Maria de Jesus Gonzalez, whose son disappeared in 2010 when he was abducted from a party along with two other young men in Torreon, in the northern state of Coahuila.

Like her, the families of 86,663 people missing since 2006 are experiencing this iconic date for most Mexicans as a reminder that their children are no longer with them and of the harshness of the monumental crisis of Mexico’s disappeared citizenry.

Of the 86,663 missing people, more than half (44,174) have disappeared since Andres Manual Lopez Obrador became president in December 2018.

The war against drug trafficking launched in Mexico in 2006 by then-President Felipe Calderon still has not ended and the victims are usually young men and women, many of whom have vanished without a trace.

Another of the big unresolved problems in Mexico is people trafficking, which in many cases is linked to drug trafficking.

Maria del Carmen thinks that it could be that her daughter, Pamela Gallardo, disappeared because of some connection to that sordid trade.

“Daughter, wherever you are I’m going to keep looking. For every one of you … They can’t deny them freedom, to make them slaves … of a drug trafficker. If you disappeared my daughter, return her to me,” Maria del Carmen told EFE in a message directed to Pamela and her kidnappers/killers.

Pamela, 23, disappeared on Nov. 5, 2017, in the San Miguel Ajusco neighborhood in Tlalpan, a municipality south of Mexico City. She was attending a music concert with her boyfriend and some friends.

Since then, her family has had no news about her in a country where violence treats women brutally and more than 10 are murdered each day, on average.

That story is repeated in many cases, and so the mothers gathered on Monday and marched from the Angel of Independence monument to the Monument to the Revolution, two emblematic sites in the capital.

Maria de Jesus, meanwhile, expressed her indignation at the words that some direct to the mothers amid their struggle, saying that “they are crazy to spend so many hours on the road in crummy (buses).”

“But the truth is that it will not stop if we don’t speak up. The fight is not only for the ones we’re missing but also for the ones still at home. We have children, we have grandchildren. This fight is for them. What do we want? What do I want? To get some kind of answer before I die,” she said.

However, the ladies agreed that the situation is not changing, despite “the promises of Lopez Obrador,” who since the start of his presidential campaign and during his tenure as president has said he would make the disappeared his top priority.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights office in Mexico, on Monday expressed its solidarity with the mothers of the disappeared in this country, noting “the importance of guaranteeing the right to truth, justice and reparations.”

Relatives of the victims say that not only has no progress been made but that things have “backslid” and that the authorities are not working in the correct direction.

“The slow searches continue, the pretense continues and we’re moving backwards … Although since the first day of this government the talk was that the disappeared would be a priority,” Maria Antonia Melo, the sister of Matusalen Melo, who disappeared in 2009, told EFE.

Several groups who are looking for disappeared people protested against the reform of the General Prosecutor Law (FGR) which, they said, is a move backwards on the right to have access to justice both for the families and for the victims.

“The law … reduces the responsibility of one of the state institutions – the General Prosecutor of the Republic – toward the victims, truth and justice,” the Movement for Our Disappeared in Mexico organization said in a statement.

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