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  • Families of people who have disappeared want to know the truth (Luces del Siglo)

    Families of people who have disappeared want to know the truth (Luces del Siglo)

Published 22 August 2014

Mariana Benitez, sub-attorney of judicial affairs, said on Thursday that the number of disappeared people in Mexico had increased to 23,000 since 2006 and the beginning of the "war" on drugs launched under President Felipe Calderon´s presidency.

Last June, another source from the Interior Ministry had reported that the number of disappeared reached 16,000 people, correcting a previous figure of 8,000 the same office had reported less than a month before.

According to official figures, during the mandate of former President Felipe Calderon (2006-2012), a total of 12,532 people were recorded as disappeared. Current president Enrique Peña Nieto, in less than two years in office has accounted for 9,790 disappeared so far.

Benitez said the reasons for disappearances were many, including voluntary absence, absence because of domestic problems, illegal arrest, and migration. Organized criminal groups also sometimes clandestinely bury their victims.

The number of disappearances especially started to increase since Calderon launched a military offensive against the drug cartels in the country in 2006.

When Calderon left his position in 2012, his administration reported 26,000 disappearances in the country. However Pena Nieto reviewed the statistics of Calderon´s period and lowered the estimation to 8,000. It was a figure that many human rights organizations contested. Amnesty International, among others, criticized the government for keeping the methodology used recording the numbers obscure.

The issue of numbers is not only important in terms of having a true account of the Mexican policy regarding drug trafficking, but it also affects the families of people who have disappeared, as according to Amnesty International and other NGOs, they have been struggling to know the truth. 

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