RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Hundreds of mothers of missing persons in Mexico demanded on Monday, May 10, urgent solutions to the alarming figures and recalled that, despite it being Mothers’ Day, for them “there is no more May 10”.
“We come to complain, because for us there is no more May 10. I have a missing son and they destroyed a whole family,” said María de Jesús González, whose son disappeared in 2010 after he and two other young people were taken from a large party in Torreón, in the northern state of Coahuila.
Like her, the families of 86,663 people unaccounted for since 2006 experience this date as a reminder to most Mexicans that their children are gone and of the rawness of the historic crisis of disappearances facing the country.
Of the 86,663, more than half (44,174) have disappeared since Andrés Manuel López Obrador took office as Mexico’s President in December 2018.
The war on drug trafficking launched in Mexico in 2006 by then president, Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), is still not over and the victims are often young men and women who are lost track of.
Another major unresolved problem in the country is human trafficking, which in many cases is related to drug trafficking.
Maria del Carmen thinks that her daughter, Pamela Gallardo, may be missing because of some trafficking-related issue.
“Hijita, wherever you are I will always keep looking for you. To each one of you as a great mom. It did not belong to you to deprive you of your freedom, to be slaves of trafficking, of a narco. If you disappeared my daughter, give her back to me,” Maria del Carmen told Efe in a message to Pamela.
Pamela disappeared on November 5, 2017, at the age of 23, in the San Miguel Ajusco neighborhood in the Tlalpan mayoralty in the south of the Mexican capital. She was attending a music concert with her boyfriend and some friends.
Since then, her family has had no news of her whereabouts, in a country where violence rages against women and more than 10 are murdered every day.
A STORY THAT REPEATS ITSELF
This history repeats itself in many cases, which is why the mothers gathered this Monday and walked from the Angel of Independence to the Monument to the Revolution, two emblematic points of the capital.
María de Jesús, for her part, showed her indignation at the words that some people dedicate to the mothers in their struggle, who say that “they are crazy for so many hours on the road in bad trucks (buses).”
“But the truth is that if we don’t talk, this doesn’t stop. The struggle is not only for those who are not here, but for those we still have at home. We have children, we have grandchildren. What do we want? What do I want? That I can die with some result,” he said.
However, they agreed that the situation is not changing, despite “the promises of López Obrador,” who since he began his campaign and took office as president, in December 2018, established the disappeared as a top priority.
“SETBACKS” IN THE LAW
The Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN-HCHR) expressed on Monday its solidarity with the mothers of the disappeared in the country, while recalling “the importance of guaranteeing the rights to truth, justice and reparation.”
The relatives of the victims claim that not only there is no progress, but there are “setbacks” and that the authorities are not working in the right direction.
“The searches are still slow, the simulation continues and we are going backwards (…) although from day one of government the discourse was that the disappeared are a priority,” Maria Antonia Melo, sister of Methuselah Melo, who disappeared in 2009, told Efe.
Several groups searching for missing persons protested against the reform of the Law of the Prosecutor General’s Office (FGR), which, they said, is a setback in the right of access to justice for both family members and victims.
“The approved law (…) diminishes the responsibility of one of the institutions of the State: the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic, towards the victims, truth and justice”, indicated in a statement the organization Movimiento por Nuestros Desaparecidos en México (Movement for Our Disappeared in Mexico).
Pamela’s mother recalled that next June 6 the biggest elections in the history of Mexico will take place, so many politicians approached the relatives of the victims to offer their support.
“They promise and at the hour they don’t deliver. For them as long as you give a vote… I would give a vote for a mother, I would give a vote for a disappeared daughter”, considered Maria del Carmen.
During the march, the participants shouted slogans such as “May 10th is not a holiday, it is a day of struggle and protest”, “Not one more disappeared” or “Daughter, listen, your mother is in the struggle” and there were very emotional moments when mothers came out to talk about the cases of their relatives who all had a pending end.