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Relatives mourn over the coffin of the former governor of Jalisco state who was murdered in December 2020 Relatives mourn over the coffin of the former governor of Jalisco state who was murdered in December 2020  (AFP or licensors)

Mexico marks grim death toll in long-running drug war

The grim and growing toll of disappeared in Mexico’s 15-year-old ongoing drug war has reached 85,000, according to the government.

By James Blears – Mexico City

Billboards on street corners, stretching along the winding passageways of the metro system or clinging to telegraph polls, show the fading photos of thousands of faces, mostly young, of the gone, but never forgotten.

In those photos lies the imprinted, forlorn hope that they might somehow and someday miraculously reappear, but in reality, this happens once in a blue moon.

A Mexican government report just issued portrays a bleak picture, contrasted against the backdrop contrast of quarter of a million slain in the deadly cat and rat war between the Mexican government, its armed forces plus police, pitted against powerful, ruthless and ultra-violent drug cartels.

Their gunmen known as sicarios, use murder, which remains largely uninvestigated, as a terror tool of intimidation.

Cycle of violence

The Deputy Secretary of Human Rights, Alejandro Encinas, confirms the statistic as 85,006. He says that corpses are mostly unearthed in shallow clandestine dumping grounds in the States of Sinaloa, Sonora, Jalisco, Colima and Guanajuato, which bear the brunt of the never-ending cycle of violence.

Families, desperate for final closure invariably do most of the digging themselves, and then it’s up to forensic scientists to confirm their worst fears, via remnants of clothing, but more often dental records of the skeletal remains.

Terrifying silence

But this is literally scratching the surface. Many families, from whom they’ve vanished off the face of the earth, are too terrified to report them missing.

The cartels know full well where the families live, work and gather, so they can and they do come back, to kill again in retribution, in broad daylight or in the depth of the darkest nights. 

09 April 2021, 16:45