Mexicans take search for loved ones in own hands

Mexico's drug war has produced thousands of unexplained disappearances, especially in northern border states where families of the missing search for loved ones with no help from the law.

Victor Rodriguez was 28 years old when he disappeared in the northern state of Coahuila in 2009. Employed by a company that imports cars, Rodriguez was returning from a work trip with his boss and a friend.

"We knew they were leaving May 11 at 1:00 am and were to reach Tijuana the next day, but we have heard nothing from them to this day," said his mother, Adriana Moreno.

His family reported him missing, but the case went nowhere.

"You have to do the investigating. You become the detective. Whatever you can come up with that you can turn over to the authorities is the only thing that will advance a case," Moreno said.

"They aren't going to return your calls, they aren't going to communicate with you. You have to stay on top of it."

Her criticism of police inaction has become a common refrain here.

"They don't do anything, either from fear or collusion or both those things," said Juan Lopez, who advises Forces United for Our Disappeared in Mexico, a group that represents hundreds of families whose loved ones have disappeared.

As Mexico celebrated Mother's Day on Thursday, about 150 members of the organization converged on Mexico City from different parts of the country to protest against the "indolence" of the investigative authorities.

More than 50,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence in Mexico since President Felipe Calderon launched a military-led campaign against the country's powerful drug cartels, according to a toll maintained by the press.

But there is no similar count of the number of people who have disappeared.

In April 2001, the National Human Rights Commission said there were more than 5,000 cases of missing persons since 2006, but Lopez said the numbers could be twice as high.

Gabriela Mejia is looking for her two brothers, Carlos and Ricardo, who were taken away by masked gunmen along with seven other men who were installing antennas for a telephone company.

"We filed all the complaints and they told us we should provide a line of investigation," said Mejia. But since the family was unable to say who might have kidnapped the brothers, the case was shelved.

Lopez emphasized that his group has met several times with Interior Minister Alejandro Poire, Attorney General Marisela Morales and even on a couple of occasions with Calderon.

"They half receive us, half condole with us, but none of the missing are found," he said. "They don't know what to do. They are paralyzed, if you consider that in half the national territory, those who govern are not the government but organized crime."

Lopez warned that some of the disappeared are "youths who are being enlisted against their will by organized crime, in a kind of draft."

Marco Antonio Villanueva clings to that possibility. For the past year, Villanueva has been looking for his father and brother, farmworkers in the state of Guerrero, who went to pick up a vehicle at the US-Mexico border and then on their return vanished without a trace in Coahuila.

Four months ago, authorities in Coahuila rescued 41 people who had been kidnapped by drug traffickers.

"They didn't hold them to extort money but to make them work for the Zetas cartel," Villanueva said, referring to one of the country's most ruthless drug gangs.

"I want to believe that is what happened to my relatives, that they aren't dead and that I'll find them at any moment," he said, adding: "I've stopped asking the authorities because they won't even take my calls anymore."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Get SAF 44 killers before BBL passage’
    ‘Get SAF 44 killers before BBL passage’

    Lawmakers are demanding the arrest of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters involved in the killing of 44 policemen in Mamasapano before the approval of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress. Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, chairman of the 75-member ad hoc committee in the House of Representatives deliberating on the BBL, prodded the Department of Justice (DOJ) to speed up its investigation and file charges against the MILF guerrillas as the Aquino administration …

  • Pinoys dance for Earth Hour
    Pinoys dance for Earth Hour

    The Philippines once again displayed its support Saturday night for the worldwide observance of Earth Hour by hosting a dance party after turning the lights off from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. to save energy and make a statement on various environmental issues. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said widespread participation proved anew that no individual action on climate change is too small and that no collective vision is too big with celebrations in over 7,000 hubs in 170 countries. The WWF said …

  • Phl offers Sabah to win Malaysia’s support for UN case vs China
    Phl offers Sabah to win Malaysia’s support for UN case vs China

    The Philippines has offered to downgrade its claim on Sabah in exchange for Malaysia’s support for its case against China before the United Nations. …

  • Maysak to enter Phl Wednesday
    Maysak to enter Phl Wednesday

    A typhoon with international name Maysak is expected to enter the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) on Wednesday and bring rains over Northern Luzon by weekend, the state weather bureau said yesterday. Aldczar Aurelio, weather forecaster of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), said the typhoon was 2,810 kilometers east of Mindanao as of 10 a.m. yesterday. “This typhoon is still too far to affect any part of the country,” the weather …

  • Nonviolent disciplining of kids pushed

    Child rights advocates called on senators to pass and strongly endorse a law that will institutionalize positive and nonviolent methods of disciplining children.The Child Rights Network (CRN), Plan International Philippines (PIP), Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLPCD), and Lihok Pilipinas Foundation led the call for the enactment of the Positive Discipline Bill.Several Quezon City Council members led by Majority Floor Leader Jesus Manuel Suntay, Victor Ferrer …

  • Method to their madness

    [caption id="attachment_256768" align="alignright" width="212"] Illustration by Rod Cañalita[/caption] EMMANUEL PORTUGAL Country Manager for the Philippines, VMware I look after the garden. I’d like to think that I have a green thumb—no plants have died so far! The ones I like now that I planted a few months ago is the Blue Iris. Like the town in the movie, my Blue Iris shows up in the morning and only appears for one day. …

  • JGFP Summer Tour on today

    The summer tour for local junior golfers kicks off with the holding of the ICTSI-JGFP Baguio Junior Open today and tomorrow at the treacherous Baguio Country Club course in Baguio.Sixty players aged 6 to 17 years old are entered in the 36-hole tourney serving as the opening leg of the summer circuit organized by the Junior Golf Foundation of the Philippines with the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. Foundation as main sponsor. ... …

  • PH now market ready to absorb infra bonds

    The Philippine market is now ready to absorb infrastructure bonds that will be issued by private companies amid a growing pipeline of infra-related projects under the government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program. President Benigno Aquino III last week said the government is still committed to spend more on the country’s infrastructure, with 16 PPP projects currently on the pipeline and nine that have already been awarded. Over the years, some of the country’s biggest infrastructure …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options