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Record year for enforced disappearances in Mexico
by Osvaldo Rocha
2015-01-07 11:32:03
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The world has been overshadowed by various circumstances and events in 2014, and Mexico has not lagged behind, the country reached the end of the year with a number of serious problems that remain unresolved despite the huge demonstrations and the international pressure. Social inequality, political corruption, violence and impunity grow year after year, and the current government seems overwhelmed by its own inability to deal with the situation.

mexico01_400The nonsensically costly propaganda program and the hasty adoption of multiple reforms have failed to save Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration. Social media has evidenced an unprecedented popular rejection toward him since his presidential campaign, but he has now the lowest popularity that a president has had in 20 years and it can certainly fall even lower.

In 1994, the Zapatista movement and the economic crisis also led the country into the spotlight under the administration of President Ernesto Zedillo. Twenty years later, the spark that has triggered massive demonstrations is the disappearance of 43 students in the Mexican state of Guerrero at the hands of the local authorities. However, disappearances in the whole country are counted in several thousands.

As Human Rights Watch stated in its report for Mexico in 2014, President Enrique Peña Nieto recognized at the beginning of his term (December 2012) that the "war on drugs" initiated by his predecessor, Felipe Calderon, had led to serious abuses by members of the security forces. In early 2013, the government said more than 26,000 people had been reported missing or lost since 2007 and enacted comprehensive legislation to ensure the rights of victims.

Despite it all, the government has achieved little progress in the prosecution of numerous killings, enforced disappearances and torture committed by soldiers and police in the context of actions against organized crime, even under President Peña Nieto. The military justice system, which does not operate objectively, remains the area where soldiers accused of human rights violations are judged, and thus ensures their impunity.

Figures from the National Data Registry of Lost or Missing Persons (Registro Nacional de Datos de Personas Extraviadas o Desaparecidas, RNPED, in Spanish) revealed that, from January to October 2014, the number of missing people was 5,098, leaving aside those who were not reported to the authorities, such as immigrants, homeless people and isolated communities. From this data we can calculate a daily average of almost 17 disappearances, the highest in record, which confirms a crisis that seems to have finally awakened the Mexican society to the true nature of its nightmare.

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