Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The vanished: Mexico's open wound
In Mexico's raging offensive against the drug cartels, which will be five years old in another 60 days, over 40,000 people have died. Many others have simply vanished. Most of them were ordinary folk. They walked out the front door of home or workplace one day and into the perpetual fog of uncertainty. The burden carried every day by their loved ones left behind undoubtedly exceeds that of those who at least are able to bury their casualties. A grave to visit and a place to shed tears are more merciful companions than unanswered, and unanswerable, questions.
Mexico has a new government department focused on these often invisible victims of war. The Procuraduría Social de Atención a Víctimas del Delito (Províctima), loosely translated as Office of Crime Victims' Advocate, hopes to be able to provide answers to thousands. In inauguratory remarks yesterday, president Felipe Calderón said that concrete information on the disappeared is scarce and anecdotal. "The reports often are made to local authorities, naturally, and we don't really have a good idea on the size and scope of the problem, but I believe the numbers could be quite high." One of the functions of the Office will be to prepare and maintain a National Crime Victims Register. Províctima's new director is Sara Irene Herrerías.
"Each victim is an open wound on society. Our legal and moral obligation is to close that wound," said Calderón.
at 9:48 AM