Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Embroidery Movement Keeps the "Disappeared" in Public Eye

Borderland Beat
Relatives of people who have gone missing in Mexico are camped out in front of the country’s Interior Ministry on hunger strike. Shannon Young reports.

The women began their hunger strike on Tuesday as part of a last-ditch effort to pressure the federal government to take action on the issue of disappearances before the current administration leaves office.

The cold early Monday became the seventh consecutive day of the hunger strike undertaken by a group of women fighting against impunity in Mexico where kidnapped family members are killed and have not received justice.

But the hunger strike isn’t the only effort to keep the issue of drug war victims in the public eye and on the government’s agenda ahead of the change of power.

Borderland Beat - Calderon's IndifferenceCalderon's Unnamed Leave a Mark

Mexico’s drug war has produced a series of hard-to-fathom statistics. More than 60 thousand people have been killed in the past 6 years. Thousands of others have gone missing. And now – an extensive investigation by the newspaper Milenio reveals tens of thousands of unidentified bodies found on the streets or elsewhere were buried in mass graves dug by the government over the past 6 years.

Embroidery Movement-Keep the "Disappeared" in Public Eye
As part of its investigation, Milenio sent out more than 470 public information requests to government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels. It found the unidentified, unclaimed bodies of more than 24 thousand people have been buried in formal mass graves in Mexico over the last six years.

While that’s a staggering figure, it’s far below the real number of John and Jane Does buried nationwide. Six of Mexico’s 31 states did not provide data in response to Milenio’s requests.
Mexico has thousands of cases of missing and disappeared persons and victims’ relatives have become increasingly vocal about what they say is the government’s lack of political will to deal with the issue.
The Movement of Embroidery for Peace in Mexico announced that on Saturday, December 1, 2012, the last day of Felipe Calderón's term, it will mount exhibits of hundreds of handkerchiefs embroidered with the names of those killed, missing and threatened throughout the administration. These exhibits will be mounted not only in various Mexican cities but abroad. In a statement, the activists said that these pieces of cloth embroidered by bereaved families are "the true memorial to victims of the war against organized crime" and are the symbol with which they want to bid farewell to the Calderón presidency.

"They are a symbol and a practical means of preserving the memory of the violence that has occurred since President Felipe Calderón took office; [Calderón] leaves the country mired in an arbitrary and sinister war against drug trafficking--[a war] with serious strategic and operational flaws."

The Movement also warned that "the most painful consequence has been the repeated failure to protect victims of this battle" between federal forces and organized crime. 

With the display of embroidered handkerchiefs, they announced, they will ask the incoming government to investigate each disappearance and kidnapping, under international standards, that may lead to recovery of victims still alive.
They also proposed that the next federal administration publish and hence bring into effect the General Victims Act proposed by the Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity led by the poet Javier Sicilia.

Moreover, they will demand from Enrique Peña Nieto a "public and transparent" correction of the strategy for fighting organized crime and monitoring of the allegations in the trial against Calderón in The Hague for alleged human rights violations and war crimes.

The initiative of embroidering names of the dead with red thread on white handkerchiefs emerged in Mexico City [one handkerchief, one victim]. Later, others in Nuevo León began to embroider with green thread [for the disappeared; green represents hope for their return alive
Since then, various groups of citizens committed to peace in Mexico have formed embroidery groups in public plazas--activities in which foreigners have joined in solidarity.

The statement was signed by groups of embroiderers from the cities of Guadalajara, Mexico City, Toluca, Puebla, Aguascalientes, Mexicali, Tijuana, Chihuahua, Colima, Torreón, Saltillo, Xalapa and Oaxaca. And from Michoacán, Nayarit, Morelos and Nuevo León; and solidarity groups from Spain, Japan, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Peru, United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, France, England and Cyprus. 
It is estimated that during this administration about 80,000 people have been killed, 30,000 have disappeared, and more than 130,000 have been forcibly displaced by the violence. 


  1. These poor family members will never have closure thanks to an inept and corrupt Mexican government. From the top down it is ruined and will never be fixed.

  2. This is one of those stories that look like fluff but it knocks you out with so much information covering so much sadness. My God! My heart just bleeds

  3. Government complicit with criminals or so incompetent they just gave up because keeping track of the missing was too confusing and forensics too expensive and complicated.Whst a travesty.

  4. This story is infuriating! It makes me want to kick some flabby, Mexican government butt and then sit down and cry into every beautiful hankerchief

  5. I feel so demoralized by the corruption and impunity and mad at ? I feel so bad about our gob. They don't care.

  6. Wow! And I thought this was about sewing. Sew, I almost didn't read it. It is a maze of links, and photos. So much information. Might have taken forever to assemble. Thank you , are getting so good.

  7. Yep...and she almost did not put it up. But it is not Vato its Havana's Vato has the previous one that Havana has linked to.

  8. I'm saddened by the fact that the families cannot properly grieve - it's too bad that Mexico is ~ 90% Catholic and they do not believe in Shamans/Mediums that can assist with contacting the dead (if they were indeed murdered). I reside in the Long Beach, CA area and there is a large Khmer/Thai/Viet community and 100% are faithful Buddhist. There are quite a few adepts/mediums/monks who can just take a look at a photo and they can tell whether the person is dead or not and whether they are suffering in the "between" before departing to the heavens or waiting to be reborn. In a way it brings closure to the families as they will offer prayers and food (don't laugh) to the departed. I've brought quite a few Mexican friends to see these Khmer adepts to contact their dead relatives with great success.

    I cannot imagined losing a family member that is missing, murdered or buried somewhere in some mass grave . . .

    1. Amazing you say this because that is the exact reason this is happening in Mexico, we all moved away from our culture and customs which includes shamanism, to try and be like other countries (you can guess which one mostly) due to pressure from outsiders and ourselves...from shame of being called a "third world country" when Mexico has been world power before, we are the descendants of the Aztec, Maya, chichimeca, Tarahumara, Yaki, Tarascos and many other peoples who were connected to the cosmos, gods and existence of the universe...and we allowed ourselves to be defeated TWICE, once by outsiders and we were conquered physically, second by ourselves by forgetting our culture trying to be like the rest and we were conquered mentally and we're killing each other...the people of the sun, quetzalcoatl's chosen...for the big SUV's with rims, wearing ed hardy and flinging money around by doing it the easy way...que verguenza dan pinches vende patrias...including me.

  9. I thought it said Vato-anyway it is moving how so many poor as in unfortunate people can only embroider and go on hunger strikes and still the goverenment doesn't do anything for their people

  10. Too bad EPN won't care. His heart is narco black.

  11. Terribly sad. Pretty hopeless in Mexico! No one cares. Not even Mexicans.

  12. Disclaimer: I'm not that good. My friends make me look good. Chivis is the best.--un vato

  13. mexican goverment dng care about the poor ppl.and if they dnt get anything out of this everything there doing is helpless,as cruel as it sounds is the truth.mexican should start taking justice by there hands.if the government dnt do anything to help, help your self god bless mexico and it's ppl.enough is enough

  14. Mantequilla tu casa es aqui!

  15. Genocide in Mexico and we are whining about the fiscal cliff here in the USA.

  16. @11:32 pm
    "groups of embroiderers from the cities of Guadalajara, Mexico City, Toluca, Puebla, Aguascalientes, Mexicali, Tijuana, Chihuahua, Colima, Torreón, Saltillo, Xalapa and Oaxaca. And from Michoacán, Nayarit, Morelos and Nuevo León; and solidarity groups from Spain, Japan, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Argentina, Chile, Peru, United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, France, England and Cyprus."

    @10:56 pm
    Not to be argumentative Sr. Vato but you're a high quality act that we are fortunate to have and agreed Chivis is the best

  17. The many women missing will never be solved. The many women that have died in the Juarez area go unsolved too. There police force is involved in this and are the ones doing all the killing. So sad for the families.

  18. Something to say for putting together such a pretty multi-faceted post , but it just doesn't hide the sadness that the handkerchiefs and crosses signify. It is well done, Borderland Beat. Thank you

  19. here we go again with the plaudits?

  20. We can all help in these matters if we band together and be as one.But i know of only one such thing that helps more than others"MEXICOS SECRET WEAPON"where are you in our time of need?In fact the whole world needs"the secret weapon"to help all of us in out time of need?Please come to our aid"Secret One"

  21. @11.40 Muy bien, es plausible para mi,por
    el trabajo que implica.Es fácil ser rudo cuando escribes anónimamente y no es buena educación.

  22. @ 1:15 PM
    Más educados que usted?Pass levels in English,History,Grammar,but ok i am imbécil.
    Do you really wish to call people uneducated?
    Please try and keep an intelligent perspective on this blog,you are cut and pasting from news sources.
    I have no problem with that,and am grateful for the effort and translations,really,,,but the plaudits?That is your opinion,and this i mine,is that ok?By the way,your comment doesn't make sense?
    "its plausible to me,by implication"(sic)?
    Anyway,enough of this mierda.


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