Families from Mexico and Central America weave solidarity networks to strengthen the search for their loved ones.

On August 27 and 28, the First Regional Conference was held in Guatemala and brought together 45 relatives of disappeared persons.



Guatemala City. In the framework of the International Day of Missing Persons, commemorated on August 30, the committee coordinated the First Regional Conference of Relatives of Disappeared Persons as part of the activities to accompany families in the region. In this space, 45 people representing 24 associations from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico exchanged reflections, experiences and lessons learned in the search processes to contribute to the strengthening of a solidarity network that transcends borders.

As part of the conference activities, the families agreed on a statement to highlight their needs and feelings. “We live in permanent limbo aski,ng ourselves again and again: where are they, will they be alive, will they be dead? Physically absent, but always present in our mind and heart,” they said at a press conference.

Armed conflict, migration, armed violence… the context and circumstances of disappearances in each country in the region may be different. Still, the families share the same need: to know what happened to them and where their loved ones are. For the first time, relatives from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, me met with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) organization xchange experiences and strengthen their search processes.

“We want to look at the disappearance of the relatives from different points of view. We get closer, walk together and try to ,understand,” said Olivier Dubois, head of the ICRC’s regional delegation.

To read the full press release in Spanish:


Mexico says disappearance of 43 students was a ‘crime of the state’

The authorities said for the first time that the state had been a key player in the likely massacre of students from a teachers’ college in 2014.

Oscar Lopez / The New York Times

Aug. 18, 2022 Updated Aug. 20, 2022

MEXICO CITY — The disappearance of 43 Mexican students in 2014 was a “crime of the state” involving every layer of government, an official inquiry reported on Thursday, in the most profound admission to date of government responsibility for one of the most notorious atrocities in Mexico’s modern history.

“At all times the federal, state and municipal authorities had knowledge of the students’ movements,” a government truth commission said in its preliminary findings. “Their actions, omissions and participation allowed for the disappearance and execution of the students, as well as the murder of six other people.”

The violent abduction and disappearance of the students, young men from a teachers’ college in the rural town of Ayotzinapa, and a subsequent cover-up that the commission confirmed extended to some of the highest national offices, have long been sources of national outrage, underscoring the cartel-fueled carnage and insidious state corruption that continue to wrack the country.Getting to the bottom of the students’ disappearance was a central campaign promise of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who created the truth commission to investigate the likely massacre and cover-up as one of his first actions in office.

To read the full article:

Activist Juana Garrido said that the murals remark where disappearances occur in Mexico City and represent a way of protesting.

Karla Mora | El Sol de México July 21, 2022

In November 2019, in the Lindavista area, Ángel Ramírez, Jesús Reyes and Leonel Báez disappeared. Yesterday, a few meters from where they were last seen, at the intersection of Calzada Misterios and Euzkaro Street, groups and relatives painted a mural to evidence this and dozens of other disappearances that occurred in the capital of the country. This is the eighth mural created by the collective “Hasta Encontrarlos CDMX” under the initiative “Muralism and art for our disappeared,” they go to the nearest places where the disappearances occurred to inform the population of the searches and to remind authorities about these cases.

Juana Garrido, one of the activists and sister of Viviana Elizabeth, who disappeared on November 30, 2018, in the Benito Juárez mayor’s office, explained that the murals remark where disappearances occur in Mexico City as a way to protest the lack of action by the authorities.

“We have to show what is happening in the city. It is also an awareness project for the community; we explain to people what the mural is about and who our disappeared are; this raises a lot of awareness. It is relevant for the community to know what is happening around the corner from their home,” she said.

The other murals to remember the disappeared are located in the mayor’s offices of Benito Juárez, Tlalpan, Iztapalapa, Iztacalco and Gustavo A. Madero.

María de Lourdes Romero Díaz and Áurea Rubí Reyes Escobar are looking for Leonel Báez Martínez and Jesús Reyes Escobar, respectively, both disappeared in Lindavista. They remember that, when they began the search, the authorities told them not to worry, that they had surely gone to “Acapulco Port for a vacation.”

They also claim they have been revictimized, a situation they share with dozens of families.


Photo: Roberto Hernández EL SOL DE MÉXICO

Mexico: Families of the disappeared “close” prosecutor’s office

INFOBAE August 6, 2022

Mexico City (AP). Relatives of the disappeared in Mexico blocked the headquarters of the Attorney General’s Office on Saturday afternoon and placed posters with the slogan “Closed.” They demand the creation of the National Forensic Data Bank that would help name the bodies distributed in graves and morgues in the country.

Shouting “Identification Now,” dozens of relatives reminded the authorities that, as established by law, such a database should already be working, yet it does not even exist.

According to federal government figures, Mexico has more than 100,000 disappeared, 98% of them since 2006, when the frontal war against the cartels began. In addition, with 52,000 unidentified deaths in the country, it is experiencing an urgent forensic crisis, and the solution is still pending.

According to the statement read by the relatives on Saturday, the federal prosecutor’s office is “failing in its obligation to concentrate the country’s forensic information, since it only has the genetic information of 15,000 bodies.” There is either no information, or it is scattered by the prosecutors’ offices from the 32 entities.

During the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the National Search Commission was launched, and a temporary and independent entity was created with the support of the United Nations, which is expected to expedite the pending work. Crossing information is essential; for this, we need cooperation that does not exist between entities, as the federal government recognized.

However, the United Nations reported that one of the country’s main problems is that disappearances continue because of impunity.


Forced disappearances continue

El Sol de México / Alfredo Maza / July 27, 2022.

In the administration of President López Obrador, new cases of forced disappearances committed by security forces have emerged. According to a report published by the U.S. Congressional Research Service (CRS), disappearances were not resolved before this period.

According to the document “Mexico: attention to disappeared and unlocated persons,” only from January to June 2021, the National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) received nine complaints of forced disappearance, while human rights defenders say that these cases are often underestimated.

In Mexico, according to the report, human rights organizations say victims “are even handed over to organized crime groups, who often hold them for ransom, extort them or use them for forced labor.”

The document also states that until now, Mexican authorities “did little to address the issue of enforced disappearances.” In 2017, Peña Nieto’s government passed a law on enforced disappearances “but did not ensure its implementation.”

In López Obrador’s administration, the CRS acknowledges that steps have been taken to address enforced disappearances. The document points out that amid the “forensic crisis,” the government has sought international help, receiving support from experts from the US, Argentina, and Austria, among others. In addition, it recognizes the creation of an Extraordinary Forensic Information Mechanism.

The document submits that “there are still significant gaps” and a series of obstacles that have prevented addressing disappearances, including inadequate funds and personnel in commissions and forensic laboratories; mishandling of corpses and case information; low political will, and insufficient access to DNA analysis.

The National Search Commission (CNB) counted more than one thousand 749 clandestine graves between December 2018 and July 2022 and identified one thousand 153 of the three thousand 25 bodies exhumed from these graves. Still, the Commission has only received small annual budget increases since 2020, which has caused “problems to searching for the disappeared people.”


Collective of mothers and families looking for the disappeared in Tamaulipas / Photo: El Sol de Tampico.