It’s Mother’s Day in Mexico but 40,000 moms whose sons and daughters are missing have nothing to celebrate.
Thousands of mothers of the missing will march in at least 23 cities today to draw attention to their ongoing struggle to locate their children in a country where rates of violence remain stubbornly high, thousands of unidentified bodies lie in morgues and hidden graves are regularly discovered.
It will be the eighth consecutive year that mothers and other family members of missing persons take to the streets to demand that authorities increase their efforts to find their loved ones.
In Mexico City, the National Dignity March will begin at the Monument to the Mother and conclude at the Angel of Independence, located on the capital’s emblematic Paseo de la Reforma boulevard. Simultaneous marches are planned for 22 other Mexican cities.
Among the participants in the Mexico City march will be members of a collective from Coahuila known as United Forces for our Missing.
“. . . We have nothing to celebrate,” said spokesperson María Elena Salazar.
“Even though we have other children, one of them isn’t with us. While we don’t know what happened, we can’t let this date go by unnoticed.”
Salazar called on the federal government to treat all missing persons cases equally and not just focus on “emblematic cases,” such as the disappearance of 43 teaching students in Guerrero in 2014.
“We have a new government and we continue to demand that it help us and listen to us. It shouldn’t seek [to solve only] emblematic cases . . . we all have the same necessity,” she said.
In Veracruz, where crimes including homicides and kidnappings have spiked recently and a secret cemetery was discovered last month, Lucía Díaz, founder of the Solecito Collective, said that mothers of the missing will march today in the port city of Veracruz.
During a previous march, the collective received a macabre gift: a sketch of the location of a mass clandestine grave at Colinas de Santa Fe, a neighborhood on the outskirts of Veracruz city. The remains of 300 people were exhumed from the site.
In contrast to Salazar, Díaz argued that the federal government has shown interest in solving Mexico’s thousands of missing persons cases, pointing out that it allocated 407 million pesos (US $21.3 million) to the National Search Commission.
However, Díaz said that the state’s top prosecutor is not offering the same support to the hundreds of collectives in the state that are made up of family members of the disappeared.
“The attorney general [Jorge Winckler] doesn’t make the slightest effort to hide his repudiation toward us,” she said.
Announcing the federal government’s search commission funding in February, human rights undersecretary Alejandro Encinas described Mexico as an “enormous hidden grave.”
“It’s estimated that there are currently 40,000 disappeared persons, more than 1,100 clandestine graves and around 26,000 unidentified bodies in morgues . . . that gives an account of the magnitude of the humanitarian crisis and the violation of human rights that we are confronting,” he said.
Source: Milenio (sp)