(Summary of November News on FUUNDEC and Enforced Disappearances, Sources: Excelsior, Noticias MVS, Proceso)
Between 2008 and 2011, 14000 people have disappeared in Mexico according to information from states’ attorney general offices. This information was provided by 23 states governments out of 32 that were requested this information. Just in some cases, the General Attorney’s Office have collaborated with state governments because it is difficult to prove that those forced disappearances are related to federal crimes such as organized crime and drug trafficking. The spokesperson from FUUNDEC, Jorge Verastegui, expressed that the problem of forced disappearances might be more serious because families do not denounce the disappearance of their relatives out of fear. The number of enforced disappearances might reach 25 000 or 30 000 if the latter cases are included. It is in this context where two mothers have begun their hunger strike in front of Gobernación (the Mexican Department of State) to demand for the search of their disappeared children. Their names are Margarita López and Julia Alonso.
Julia Alonso denounced the disappearance of her son five years ago, and government authorities did not even open a file or case for her son. There have been no investigations, o search or interrogations of suspects for her son’s case. Her son disappeared with three friends on January 12, 2008 when they went water skiing in the Reservoir La Boca in Santiago Nuevo León. She later found out that municipal policemen paid by a drug cartel abducted her son on their back to the city of Monterrey Nuevo León. Margarita López is looking for her daughter Yahaira Guadalupe Bahena (19 years old) in the state of Michoacán. With them is Malú García, who continues defending the relatives of the victims of feminicide in Ciudad Juárez. After several attacks, threats and the assassination of one of her relatives, she had to move from Cd. Juárez to Mexico City. When the State Secretary Alejandro Poiré gave them an appointment, he said to the women to focus on priorities because the Calderon Administration only had 16 days left. To this Margarita responded, “we are not asking for too much or for unrealistic things.” For instance, Margarita is asking authorities to get the DNA taken by the FBI from a decapitated body that Mexican authorities claim is Margarita’s daughter. She wants to find out whether or not this DNA matches her daughter’s DNA with the help of Argentine’s Forensic Team. Margarita has received several threats. She was temporarily abducted and her kidnappers gave her a message: To stop looking of for her daughter and stop accusing the army in her statements.
Before these women went on hunger strike, they tried everything. They denounced their relatives’ disappearances, talked to the state governments’ attorney general offices, participated in caravans, exposed their case before the UN and the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and sat with State Ministers, the General Attorney and state governors and discussed their cases with the Mexican President. Despite these meetings, there have been no advances in the investigations.
In Coahuila, the mothers that are part of FUUNDEC also considered going on a hunger strike, but they changed their minds since their health has already deteriorated because of their situation. In the month of November, FUUNDEC met with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General Marisela Morales. Diana Iris García was one of the mothers from FUUNDEC that attended this meeting. Her son Daniel Cantú disappeared in 2007 in Ramos Arizpe Coahuila. After the meeting Diana mentioned that the Secretary of State apologized for not doing more for the families because there was not enough time to solve the cases. He also recognized that most of the advances in the investigations were due to the efforts and actions of the families. In this meeting, the Attorney General also apologized for the lack of action while making assumptions about the death of the disappeared in front of the families in the meeting.
In May, FUUNDEC signed an agreement with the Department of State, the Attorney General and the State of Coahuila, in which government authorities committed themselves to set up a special task force in Coahuila, to address the dangerous situation faced by immigrants, to organize a commission of experts in forensics etc. However, there has been no progress in these commitments