A year after issuing a plea to the Gulf Cartel to allow them to search for their loved ones’ remains in an “extermination camp” near the border city of Matamoros, mothers of missing people in Tamaulipas have thanked the crime group for taking heed.
In August 2021, the Tamaulipas Union of Collectives of Searching Mothers (UCMBT) sought a “truce” from the criminal organization, which is based in the northern border state, to allow them to enter a property in an area called La Bartolina, located about 25 kilometers east of Matamoros.
“We’re not looking for culprits, we’re looking for our children, fathers, mothers, siblings and [other] relatives,” the group said in a statement directed to the leader of the Gulf Cartel faction known as the Cyclones of Matamoros.
A year later, a spokeswoman for the UCMBT said that the faction had granted its request and allowed mothers to search for their missing loved ones.
“We’d like to thank the Cyclones of Matamoros for respecting our lives and [right to] free movement, allowing us to continue searching for our loved ones,” Delia Quiroa said in a video message.
In a written statement, the UCMBT said the criminal faction’s cooperation allowed two families to locate the remains of missing loved ones in La Bartolina.
In her message, Quiroa also thanked the leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, for joining the union’s “call for peace.”
Oseguera is the “first and only” criminal leader to speak publicly in favor of peace, Quiroa said.
The CJNG leader – a wanted man in both Mexico and the United States – has advocated limiting armed conflicts to between criminal groups. The cartel recently instructed its rivals to leave priests, doctors, nurses and teachers alone.
“I’m communicating with all the cartels to invite you to make the war [just] between us and not interfere with those we shouldn’t interfere with,” a masked and armed man said in a video posted to social media. There was some speculation that it was Oseguera who read the message, but that wasn’t confirmed.
In its statement, the UCMBT expressed admiration for El Mencho’s pronouncements in favor of peace and “leaving citizens to live a normal life.”
The group said it hoped that leaders of other cartels would follow Oseguera’s advice, “mainly for the sake of eradicating the disappearance of people in Mexico,” where more than 100,000 are classified as missing.
In her video message, Quiroa thanked President López Obrador for allowing the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances to visit Mexico, but urged the government to follow its recommendations.
In its statement, the UCMBT called for the dismissal of Deputy Interior Minister Alejandro Encinas, who has been at the forefront of the government’s efforts to locate missing people and respond to the country’s forensic crisis.
“Encinas can’t continue in the position simply because he hasn’t produced results,” the group said before also calling for the dismissal of three other federal officials including National Search Commission chief Karla Quintana.