The leader of a group of mothers searching for their missing children in Sonora has issued a plea to cartels that operate in the northern border state: “Let us continue looking for our kids.”
In a video message posted to the group’s Twitter account on Sunday, the leader and founder of Madres Buscadoras de Sonora (Searching Mothers of Sonora) appealed to the leaders of Los Salazar – a criminal group affiliated with the Sinaloa Cartel, Rafael Caro Quintero – a notorious drug lord who founded the Guadalajara Cartel and now allegedly leads the Caborca Cartel, and other gang leaders.
“Don’t kill us, don’t abduct us, don’t threaten us and let us continue looking for our kids,” said Cecilia Patricia Flores Armenta, who is searching for her two missing sons.
She said the mothers who belong to her group are not looking for those responsible for the disappearance of their children or justice.
“The only thing we want is to bring them home,” said Flores, who revealed that she has been threatened, displaced from Sonora and is currently receiving government protection through a program designed to keep journalists and human rights defenders out of harm’s way.
“We need to bring them home because whether they’re good or bad people, guilty or innocent, for us [our missing children] are our whole life,” she said.
“… Please, in the name of all the mothers, I ask you and I beg you … not to take from us the possibility of finding our missing loved ones, to help us find them by letting us search for them. … We’re only looking for peace [of mind] – peace that … left with them,” Flores said.
She wasn’t overestimating the dangers faced by people looking for their missing loved ones in Sonora. One woman who had been searching for her husband was abducted from her home in Guaymas and killed last July.
Another woman searching for her son and partner was kidnapped in Hermosillo last October and beaten before she was released. The aggressors told her to give up the search for them, but she ignored them.
The bulk of the responsibility for looking for the nation’s desaparecidos falls with family members, search groups and non-governmental organizations.
After a 12-day visit to Mexico in November, the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances said that an inadequate security strategy, poor investigations into missing person cases and impunity were key factors in the persistence of abductions.