Jalisco is getting all too used to the numbing reality of people disappearing without a trace, never – perhaps – to be seen or heard of again.
The case of three students abducted from Tonala in March is still very fresh in the public’s mind, as is the 2014 case of 43 students kidnapped in Guerrero, which continues to trouble the psyche of the nation as a whole.
This Sunday, a group composed of 300 mothers, daughters, sisters and wives called “Por amor a ellxs” (the “x” isn’t a misspelling, but rather functions to identify the disappeared as male and female) held a demonstration at Parque Rojo in the centro historico, the main feature of which was a fence covered in names of the 3,000-plus people whose whereabouts are currently unknown in the state of Jalisco. The event served as a kind of anti-Mother’s Day (which occurred this last Thursday); for many mothers, the day is only a reminder of a loved one’s continued absence.
Not only were the women there to share grief and bring their plight to the attention of an easily distracted public, but also to demand action from authorities who they see as negligent in their duties to fully investigate into disappearances.
“We can see that far from correcting past mistakes, the Fiscalia [Attorney General’s Office] would like us to take them at their word,” read a statement by the group.
The statement referred in part to the case of the three students, whose bodies, according to the Fiscalia’s report, were dissolved in acid by drug traffickers, who they also blamed for the young mens’ kidnapping and murder. Thus far, however, they haven’t provided any proof corroborating their findings, according to the victims’ families.
Another grievance the protestors aired Sunday concerned the promised creation of a DNA registry with photographs of bodily remains on the part of governor Jorge Aristoteles Sandoval, former Attorney General Eduardo Almaguer and Luis Octavio Cotero, director of the Jalisco Forensic Science Institute. Said registry has yet to come to fruition.
However, Sandoval has created a special agency to address disappearances, called the Fiscalia Especializada en Personas Desaparecidas. Last month, he named Dr. Jose Raul Rivera Rivera to head up the new agency.
Sandoval extolled the doctor’s qualifications for the job, which, he said, included “ten years spent in the defense of the human rights of women, children and adolescents.”