In Mexico, Mother’s Day is a sad reminder of the country’s more than 100,000 missing people

(10 May 2024)

Mexico City, Mexico – 10 May 2024
1. A mother crying and marching with her daughter
2. Mothers and relatives of the disappeared marching
3. Various of Pamela Portillo’s daughters marching for their disappeared mother
4. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Yoltzi Martinez, looking for her disappeared sister Yatzil:
"The results of justice and localization (of the disappeared) are only for a few. We who are an ordinary, working, standard class family do not have the same access to justice."
5. Various of relatives marching
6. Yolanda Morán carrying a ‘missing person’ announcement for López Obrador and Gertz Manero
7. SOUNDBITE (Spanish) Yolanda Morán, searching mother:
"(A ‘missing person’ announcement for) The president because of the security that he should provide to the people – because people keep disappearing – and the prosecutor because it is his obligation to investigate and identify and he has not done so. We have more than 54,000 bodies to identify but they say they do not have money for chemicals, for personnel, but they do have money for the propaganda of the candidates of their parties. We are not affiliated to any color (party), we work and we demand responsibility from whoever is in charge of the country."
8. Various of a crying mother carrying a banner with the photograph of his disappeared son
9. Relatives marching for their disappeared loved ones

Mothers and relatives of thousands of people who have disappeared in Mexico over the years marched in protest through downtown Mexico City on Friday to demand answers as the country observed Mother’s Day.

The marchers, angry over what they say is the government’s lack of interest in investigating the disappearances of Mexico’s over 100,000 missing people, chanted slogans like "Where are they, our children, where are they?"

The march comes just days after officials managed to find the bodies of three foreigners less than a week after they went missing in Baja California state.

But many Mexican mothers have been searching for the sons and daughters for years, and even decades.

"We are not having the same fortune as being a politician, being a foreigner, being a privileged person," said Yoltzi Martinez, who’s been looking for her disappeared sister Yatzil for 14 years.

Australian surfers Callum and Jake Robinson and American Jack Carter Rhoad were allegedly killed by car thieves in Baja California, across the border from San Diego, somewhere around April 28 or 29.

The killers dumped their bodies in an extremely remote well miles away, but authorities found them in about four days.

Some of the anger Friday was directed at President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, whose administration has spent far more time looking for people falsely listed as missing — who may have returned home without advising authorities — than in searching for grave sites that relatives say they desperately need for closure.

One mother, Yolanda Morán, 70, vowed never to stop looking for her son Dan Jeremeel who was abducted in the northern state of Coahuila in 2008; a soldier was later found driving his car.

Morán, who marched in a wheelchair, carried a ‘missing person’ announcement for López Obrador, because, she says, he has been totally absent from the issue.

Over 100,000 people have gone missing in Mexico, according to the country’s National Search Commission, which keeps a record that goes back to 1964.

Very few of Mexico’s disappeared have been found to date.

Often, human remains are not identified, leaving families with no closure.

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