The “war on drugs” gets plenty of attention here in the U.S. from the government and law enforcement agencies. A related drug war that receives far less attention is occurring south of the border. Mexico’s drug wars are estimated to be responsible for thousands of deaths, and it affects both those who were involved in the drug trade and those who were just caught up in this national tragedy. Now, the Mexican drug wars have led to the saddest search ever.
Imagine your child disappearing one night, and the police doing almost nothing to investigate the disappearance for many years. Worse still, imagine needing to conduct the search for the remains of a missing child on your own because the authorities are too inept, incompetent, or corrupt. A group of mothers in Veracruz are dealing with this very situation, and each day they join together and search for human remains that might be one of their children.
The mothers have been searching every day for the past two months in the hopes of learning what happened to their children. Over that time period, the mothers have discovered about 100 graves on a plot of land not far from the city. The group of Veracruz mothers now numbers about 50.
The Veracruz mothers have uncovered the graves of nearly 100 people so far, while authorities have removed the remains from about 40 of these graves. In all, estimates are that there may be about 400 bodies buried in this one site. This would make it the largest known clandestine grave site in Mexico.
According to the Mexican government, there are about 28,000 missing people. The problem was brought under a glaring spotlight two years ago when 43 students were kidnapped and presumably killed on one night. Groups of relatives have since formed in several states to search for clandestine graves that may contain a loved one who has disappeared.
The mothers have become fierce advocates for the missing, devoting their time to searching for graves while also demanding accountability from reluctant government officials. The Veracruz mothers demand a monthly meeting with the state prosecutor. One mother recounted to reporters how it took police five years to even retrieve her son’s cell phone records after he went missing one night. It is this kind of failure by authorities that has compelled the mothers to conduct their own searches, both for their own peace of mind and to provide some dignity to those who are victims of Mexico’s drug wars.