Mexico’s Missing People

The war against drug cartels has been at the hearth of Mexico’s contemporary history. In recent years, specially under Felipe Calderon, the number of murders, kidnaps and disappearances, rose to unprecedented levels, terrorizing the mexican population. Women and journalists seem to be the main targets, but the violence is mostly generalized. The problem comes also from the fact that many authorities collaborate with these disappearances, having deals with the cartels. This highly complicates the process of finding missing people.

Nevertheless, under the Peña Nieto government there seem to be some efforts to resolve this afflicting matter. Contrary to its predecessor, the new government acknowledges that just under Calderón there were at least 27,000 disappearances, and has been trying to build up a database to account for those who disappeared and who continue to disappear daily. Moreover, it has created a special prosecutor to pursue the people who are responsible for these crimes. However, as Human Rights Watch points out, the government has to try harder to complete the list of names, despite the difficulty of this task, and to engage in real efforts to find the people, instead of just “registering” them as missing.

An interesting blog, known as “El Blog del Narco”, created in 2010, tries to tackle the misinformation that the media and the government convey, by having recourse to the civil society. Indeed, it relies on people to send them informations about murders, violent sequestrations or disappearances. The images displayed and the stories that are told, are for the most of them brutal and gruesome. But it is interesting to think that the society has had the ability of mobilizing itself when the authorities close their eyes or at least, are not able to respond to a problem that affects the core and every layer of the society. Nevertheless, the risks this encompasses are not negligible.

In the beginning of the month of November 2013, a conference was held by the International Commission of Missing Persons at The Hague to discuss the problem of missing people around the world. As it was pointed out several times, missing people is a traumatic event for a society and more efforts have to be done not only in Mexico, but at the international level so that these people can be found. Indeed, the endeavour of the relatives of these disappeared people is not enough, and all governments ought to bear a greater responsibility.

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