May 27, 2019
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Mother's Day filled with sorrow for Mexican women whose kids are missing

Zoilo Carrillo.

Mexico City, May 10 (efe-epa).- "Este dia no es de fiesta, es de lucha y de protesta" (This day is not for celebrating, it's for struggle and protest) was the chant of thousands of women who took to the streets here Friday to mark Mother's Day with a reminder that many Mexican mothers have lost hope of ever finding their missing children.

"They are mothers who, facing the state's indolence, have converted their love and (their children's) absence into a social struggle," the executive director of Amnesty International in Mexico, Tania Reneaum, told EFE during a march of some 5,000 people in the capital.

The number of unsolved missing-persons cases in Mexico stands at roughly 40,000, while the country's morgues hold some 26,000 unidentified bodies and 1,300 clandestine graves have been discovered, many of them through the efforts of families searching for loved ones.

Processions and demonstrations similar to the one in Mexico City were planned for score of other cities across the country.

The event in the capital attracted celebrities such as actor Diego Luna, whose organization, "El dia despues" (The Day After), is active in assisting the families of the missing.

The administration of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office Dec 1., has taken a number of steps to address the crisis, announcing in March the revival of the National Missing Persons Search System.

But the mothers taking part in the Mexico City match were generally unimpressed by the approach of the new government.

Maria del Carmen Reina has spent the last five years without her son Humberto, who was 25 when he disappeared during a journey on the Monte Morelos-Monterrey highway.

"There's nothing, it's the same, it's a fraud," she told EFE. "The authorities haven't done anything. The investigations have been done by us, the family."

Fighting back tears, she described the experience of the past five years as "a nightmare."

Mirna Dolores Perez echoed Maria's comments, telling EFE, "you lose all hope."

Perez said that she has been getting psychological counseling since her then-31-year-old son went missing in 2013.

Authorities, she said, "say they are investigating, but they don't do anything."

"It's very ugly, the day-to-day. This is a martyrdom, many people pull away from you. I don't wish this on anyone," Mirna said.

Amnesty International's Reneaum, who has spent a lot of time with the mothers of the missing, says that the new government "faces a challenge."

"It has installed the National Missing Persons Search System. But we need it to have money, to have technical resources - anthropologists, attorneys, forensic pathologists, historians - who understand the phenomenon in its entirety," she said.

Earlier Friday, Lopez Obrador said during his daily morning press conference that the deputy secretary for human rights, Alejandro Encinas, will provide a report next week on what the government is doing to find the missing people.

zch/dr

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