Monday, April 15, 2024

Moms of the missing take to the streets for Mother’s Day march

Mother’s Day wasn’t a day of celebration for Mexico’s madres buscadoras, or searching mothers, who look for the disappeared.

Mothers of missing children and other family members took to the streets across Mexico on Wednesday to protest against authorities that have failed to locate their loved ones.

Durango, Puebla, Guanajuato, Nuevo León, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Veracruz and Oaxaca were among the states where protests were held.

In Mexico City, madres buscadoras who have spent countless days searching for their missing children marched from the Monument to the Mother near the capital’s historic center to the Angel of Independence statue on Reforma Avenue.

“There’s nothing to celebrate; we’re dead in life,” said Rosa Icela Velasco Acosta, whose son disappeared in Mexico City in 2021.

“… We ask the authorities, we ask President López Obrador to return our children to us … Justice must be served,” she told the newspaper El Universal.

MOther's Day protest Chiapas
Women at a protest in Chiapas put up pictures of their missing loved ones. (Isabel Mateos Hinojosa/Cuartoscuro)

One of the chants shouted by mothers in Mexico City was, “They were taken alive, we want them back alive,” a message heard countless times at protests against the disappearance of 43 young male students in Iguala, Guerrero, in 2014.

In Durango, Silvia Ortiz of the Grupo Vida collective of searching mothers said that their protest was against impunity, corruption and the lack of empathy of authorities.

“Today I want them to feel the pain that burns in my soul,” she told the El Financiero newspaper.

Natalia García, who joined a protest outside government offices in Monterrey, Nuevo León, said that she and other mothers of missing children had empty places at their tables this Mother’s Day, and empty spaces in their hearts.

“We have nothing to celebrate. That’s why we’re here … shouting at society, shouting at the media, shouting at our governor, shouting at our attorney general,” she said.

One high-profile missing person case that had a tragic end in the northern border state last year was that of 18-year-old woman Debanhi Escobar, who was found dead two weeks after she disappeared.

MOther's Day protest Mexico City
This woman in Mexico CIty accused the government of doing nothing to help women like her find their missing relatives. (Graciela López Herrera/Cuartoscuro)

Many missing Mexicans are never found, leaving their mothers and other family members with no closure to their ordeals, and in some cases left searching for loved ones for years.

Some madres buscadoras have even been killed themselves, with at least five such murders in 2022.

In Guanajuato, Bibiana Mendoza Negrete, a representative of the collective Hasta Encontrarte (Until I find you), attended a Mother’s Day protest outside the municipal place in Irapuato.

“Are we going to celebrate being murdered? Are we going to celebrate looking for our children? Are we going to celebrate not knowing anything about them?” she asked.

The number of people officially registered as missing in Mexico has grown by more than 4,000 this year and now stands at over 112,000 people. The vast majority of that number disappeared in the past two decades.

With reports from El Universal, El Financiero and Excélsior

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