Federal forces patrol Chilapa Federal forces patrol Chilapa, where 16 people have disappeared. cnn

Families want to know where missing 16 are

Governor visits Chilapa, residents ask where he's been

Relatives of the 16 people confirmed missing in Chilapa for two weeks gave Guerrero Gov. Rogelio Ortega a 48-hour deadline yesterday to demonstrate concrete progress in the search for their family members.

The governor and his security cabinet held a meeting with Chilapa townspeople, two weeks after at least 300 heavily-armed men calling themselves community police took over the town. The president of the State Human Rights Commission, Ramón Navarrete Magdaleno, was also in attendance.

The governor’s chief proposal at the start of the meeting was to create a follow-up commission to investigate, but residents were direct in their rebuke: “Why wait until now?” they wanted to know. “What were you doing while we were being threatened, beaten, humiliated and, worst of all, while our children were being taken away?”

In response to the governor’s proposal, Chilapa residents offered a blunt deadline: their relatives must be presented alive within 48 hours.

They also questioned the way in which government representatives negotiated with the self-proclaimed community police without requiring them to show credentials, and wondered why the authorities didn’t request the liberation of the 16 or more people detained during the negotiations.

Bernardo Carreto González’ three sons are missing: “This issue needs to be solved right away. How is it possible for unidentified groups to come and take our people away? Today it was my sons, who will it be tomorrow? I shall see this through to the end; I’ve already lost everything.”

Ortega said he was committed to determining whether government representatives were at fault in their negotiations with the armed group but also said “it is undeniable that organized crime has permeated all levels of society.”

He also insisted on a vote of confidence. Wary and hurt, the families accepted the governor’s demand, but reasserted their 48-hour ultimatum.

Last week the governor said “everything is OK in Chilapa.” Yesterday he learned that not everyone feels that way.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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