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Central American mothers search for their children in Mexico

December 9, 2013

“Guadalajara is a cemetery,” declared Ana Enamorado, one of many Central American mothers to have made their way to Mexico in search of their children who disappeared while en route to the United States.

“They’ve found these mass graves where they’ve discovered so many bodies, and how many more could be out there that haven’t been found?” Enamorado said. “We’re desperately searching for our children. As the mothers say, ‘we want them whether they’re dead or alive.’”

The caravan of Central American mothers arrived in Jalisco just as the state authorities concluded the excavation of a mass grave containing 17 corpses in the northeastern outskirts of the Guadalajara metropolitan area. That brought the total of bodies found in Jalisco in the last month to 84, with 67 having been found in the town of La Barca since November 9.

Armed with nothing more than photos of their missing loved ones, the Central American mothers have criticized the Mexican government for not providing them with more information on the victims of such massacres, so that they might establish whether their children’s bodies were among those recovered.

“This organization strongly calls on the Mexican authorities to fulfill their obligation to take effective measures to ensure that abuses against migrants are adequately documented and investigated; and to establish the whereabouts of missing persons and the identity of migrants killed in Mexico,” said Jaqueline Galaviz of Amnesty International, as the caravan rolled into Guadalajara on Saturday.

In a bid to identify the latest 17 victims, Jalisco Prosecutor General Carlos Najera has called for relatives of missing persons to give a DNA sample at the Jalisco Institute of Forensic Sciences.

The journey from Central America to the United States is fraught with peril, as desperate migrants face being robbed, raped, kidnapped and even press-ganged into working for Mexican drug cartels or murdered if they refuse. One of the most infamous cases occurred in San Fernando, Tamaulipas in 2010, when 72 undocumented migrants from Central and South America were massacred by Los Zetas.

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