Mexican mothers mark their day pining for missing children
CHILAPA DE ALVAREZ (Reuters) – Three years ago, Julieta Guzman kissed her only son on the forehead as he headed over to his girlfriend’s house, just a few blocks away in the town of Chilapa, where drug gangs fighting over heroin production have plunged into a vortex of violence.
The 21-year-old promised to come back later that afternoon to continue celebrating Mother’s Day, but he never returned.
In Mexico, Mother’s Day is celebrated on May 10 and it is a near-national holiday, where many businesses let employees leave at midday and restaurants overflow with families honouring their matriarchs.
“How is it possible that our children were taken away from us? Although time passes, the pain will not disappear, “ she added, before breaking down in tears.
In Mexico City, hundreds of Mexican and Central American mothers will march to demand the government uncover the truth of what happened to their missing relatives, and deliver justice.
At least 157 people are missing in Chilapa and some 34,000 throughout the country.
Ramon Navarrete, president of Guerrero’s human rights commission, said at a conference in Chilapa that the lack of action by authorities to find missing people have pushed many families to seek their loved ones themselves.
The commission is accompanying relatives in Chilapa to launch a new round searches for missing relatives.
Groups of family members, forensic anthropologists and volunteers probed the earth for signs of mass graves in isolated areas around Chilapa.
“It is a very sad task we join them in,” Navarrete said. “It is fair to say that they do not have the support of the government.”