July 29, 2021

A report reveals that Mexico has at least 2,000 clandestine graves

A report reveals that Mexico has at least 2,000 clandestine graves



Mexico registered at least 2,000 clandestine graves between 2006 and 2016 with 2,884 bodies of people murdered and buried by organized crime, revealed today an independent journalistic investigation based on data from state prosecutors.

The report "Where the missing are going", in which a group of Mexican journalists has worked for almost two years, points out that the phenomenon of clandestine graves covers 24 states of the country and one in seven Mexican municipalities.

After making 200 requests for access to information to local prosecutors in the 32 states, journalists were able to confirm the discovery of 1,978 graves by local authorities, while the Attorney General's Office (PGR, national prosecutor's office) reported other 232.

In these sites were found at least 2,884 bodies, 324 skulls and thousands of bone fragments, but only 1,738 individuals were identified.

The count reveals that the states with the largest number of graves are Veracruz (332), Tamaulipas (280), Guerrero (216), Chihuahua (194), Sinaloa (139), Zacatecas (138), Jalisco (137), Nuevo León (114), Sonora (86), Michoacán (76) and San Luis Potosí (65).

The authorities of Baja California, Chiapas, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Puebla, Queretaro and Yucatan said they had not found graves between 2006 and 2016.

However, the investigation maintains that Yucatan is the only state in which there is no evidence that there are graves, while in the rest there have been reports by civil organizations or the press.

The first clandestine grave found in Mexico was, according to the investigation, on September 7, 2006 in the municipality of Angahuan, in the western state of Michoacán.

The phenomenon of the graves has been increasing in parallel with the military war against drug trafficking undertaken by President Felipe Calderón (2006-2012), and since 2012 the discovery of graves has never fallen from 200 annually.

Alejandra Guillén, one of the journalists who created the project, explained at a press conference that she "astonished that very few bodies located in graves were identified."

"We do not know how many people have been exhumed from clandestine graves because in certain parts of the country the bodies are incinerated and the authorities do not know who they are in. That is one of the first challenges," he said.

He also criticized the "disastrous responses" they got from many state authorities, since some said they did not know what a clandestine grave was and others denied the existence of graves that had been reported by the press.

In addition, he noted the great ambiguity in the information, since the northern state of Nuevo Leon is the only one that explicitly recounts the number of people found in pits, while the other states number bone remains.

"We can deduce from this that there is no adequate registration or standardization of criteria," criticized the journalist.

Lucy Diaz, founder of the Solecito Collective, made up of families that are looking for missing persons in Veracruz, said at the ceremony that all the people locked up have "the right to identity" however humble they may be.

"There is nothing more perverse than leaving a person in a clandestine grave because it is the total denial that a human being was in the path of life," he said.

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