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

Monday, June 16, 2014

Neither Living nor Dead

Borderland Beat  Aristegui CNN
 In the book Neither Living nor Dead, about forced disappearances “we see that this horrible practice is, in reality, a means of terrorizing the public”, asserted Federico Mastrogiovanni, the author of the work.

 “I came across a subject I wasn’t expecting. The central theme is the attempt to understand… I was working with the subject of migration and it turned out that there were many disappearances. I came into contact with this subject in a real way.”

For that reason ; “I decided to write this book because the topic was too big. What we see in recent years is the treatment of forced disappearances as an apparent coincidence. They go unnoticed, as if they were individual and unrelated events, when in reality we have this happening on such a large scale, and we go back to the origins of this strategy with roots in Nazi Germany...”, said the journalist in an interview with Carmen Aristegui on CNN.

The book shows ; “distinct cases, in different places within the country, but they have the common thread of being cases of victims in which it has been demonstrated that there was an intervention by the State”.

Like the case of Alan;  “a very painful case. Alan disappeared in Cuernavaca [capital of state of Morelos] on December 24, 2001, in a working-class neighborhood, an armed commando group took him to Chilpancingo [capital of state of Guerrero]. They captured him two times. The first time, he escaped to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Chilpancingo where he called his parents. They came and when they arrived, Alan was no longer there. Six months later they found his body in Chilpancingo, where there are elements of many disappearances. Alan was disappeared by a commando group that included Chilpancingo police officers, and later he disappeared from the Public Prosecutor’s Office which is where you would expect him to be protected”, the journalist relayed.

Neither Living nor Dead, is the sentence with which Argentine dictator (Jorge Rafael)

 “Videla defined the missing in 1979. His cynicism was such that he didn’t treat these people as important, defining the condition of these people and the perception of their relatives”, said Mastrogiovanni.

He commented that during the years of the dirty war [in Argentina] there was a “clearer framework and you could better identify the victims of disappearances. In the present context [in Mexico] it is more difficult to speak about a military junta making decisions. There are many national and transnational actors and interests for whom it is useful to create a climate of terror in the country to be able to have control over certain regions, enabling them, in this case, to exploit natural resources. That is the main theme”.

The State factors in  “the entity that should protect the people, and in the best-case scenario, by failing to act, it allows this to continue happening, and does not follow through with the appropriate responses”, claimed Mastrogiovanni.

In regards to intervention by the authorities,  “as international treaties explain, and as those treaties define forced disappearances, the intervention of an authority can be a failure to act; it isn’t necessary for a member of the police or military to physically make a person disappear. It can be the presence or absence of the State, a Public Prosecutor, an official. Any element of the State at any level is enough to talk about forced disappearances”, the author determined.

The journalist said that  “according to individuals I have interviewed, many of these are forced disappearances because the State should be protecting the people, and instead of doing so, in many cases they don’t act or intervene.”

There are many instances of immigrants disappearing.  “The number of missing immigrants we have is even more confusing than the number of Mexican citizens who are missing. The subject of disappearances has to do with the treatment of people, with forced labor, with rescue. It has to do with groups of organized crime, in many cases, but I don’t focus on the drug part, which in my opinion isn’t the main problem”, he noted.

 “Drugs are one of those topics, like natural resources, the treatment of people, and prostitution, which are widespread but don’t really get at the main idea I’m covering. But if we consider the increase of forced disappearances in states like Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, where the Burgos Basin is, and other states where there are mineral resources like iron, gold, silver, and water, that is where we find great increases in the number of forced disappearances, and it makes sense because everywhere there has been a forced disappearance, the practice has been carried out in order to bring terror and to be able to control the territory through terror, so it makes sense that it would be useful for this”, Mastrogiovanni pointed out.

He emphasized,  “this is a universal theme. Any one of us who is in a situation like we are going through in Mexico, or other countries have lived through, should feel the need to ask for help from the government, which should be protecting us all.”

He added , “it’s enough to see the consequences of forced disappearance. In an area where the incidence of forced disappearances is very high, the society is paralyzed with fear, making it easier to control. People cannot band together when there is such fear.”

Although there are no precise statistics, “we’re looking at figures in the range of 27k (disappearances), the highest in 2013. No one knows because there isn’t a general registry for forced disappearances at the national level”, he said.

The topic of forced disappearances as defined by international treaties Mexico has signed,  “implies that it is an ongoing offense, and so every day the crime will continue to be committed until they find the missing persons or their bodies. In reality it doesn’t matter which presidential term we’re talking about because it can be the last term, the one before, or the disappearances of the ‘70s, but as it is an ongoing crime that continues to be committed, the numbers are very high”, the journalist affirmed.
Mastrogiovanni commented ;  “the organizations of victims’ families have told me that the authorities rely on them, and sometimes those organizations have to carry out the investigations themselves”.

Economic Migrants
Note from Chivís:
Official lists of missing persons in Mexico does not include the group with the largest number of missing, that of the economic migrant.  It is estimated that 8-10k migrants disappear each year while travelling on their journey to the United States.

During the end of the Calderon administration, the administration estimated 27,000 people were missing and most likely deceased.  

 No Data Found
And there is this:
President Enrique Peña Nieto and his aides are increasingly embroiled in the issue of persons who disappeared during Felipe Calderón's presidential administration. At first they denied knowing how many there were; then, unexpectedly, the Secretariat of Government Relations [SEGOB] issued a list of more than 27,000 [names]. But when social activists and victims' relatives looked at the registry of the disappeared, they discovered that many of their [relatives] were not listed.

During the previous administration, Margarita López dared not face the national registry of missing and disappeared persons posted on the Internet by the Secretariat of Government Relations. She was afraid because she had spoken with other mothers and fathers who had sought their children among the 26,121 names, but had found nothing.

She soon realized that her daughter, Yahaira Guadalupe Bahena López, [below in wedding gown] who physically disappeared on April 13, 2011, was also missing from the official list.

"It's outrageous, to know that even with all that I have done and  raised my voice, and the many times that I have made a report, my child is not on that list of the disappeared," says the woman who at the end of Calderón's term went on a hunger strike with Julia Alonso outside the Secretariat of Government Affairs, in order to demand a search for their children.

A couple of weeks ago, she filled out a new form for the Secretary of Government Affairs, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong.

"The number that they are managing is laughable in comparison with all those [actually disappeared]. The confirmed known are not many. Fearful [relatives] have not gone to report, or they don't have money for so much paperwork because they [officials] constantly ask us to fill out forms. It is difficult for us to start from the beginning," said Margarita to Proceso.

If you enter the name of Yahaira Guadalupe Bahena López into the system of the National Register of Missing and Disappeared Persons, the response appears: "No data found".

Jornada and Proceso Translated by Chris Brown


  1. Can imagine the horror, and heartbreak of this happening to a family member. Not knowing for certain. Hoping it was fast, and as painless as possible, knowing it probably wasn't.
    To think that those that should be protecting, defending us are the ones involved. Horrific, just horrific.

  2. The difference between mexico and USA is the constitution. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Such language has created considerable debate regarding the Amendment's intended scope. On the one hand, some believe that the Amendment's phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" creates an individual constitutional right for citizens of the United States. In words any pendejo out there can understand. Buy a rifle and when the bad guys come shoot back...

  3. So sad !!!! May the missing rest in peace!!!! It's time people in power did the right thing and end the corruption!!!! One day we will all meet our maker!!!!

  4. Since the buffoons who run government can't be trusted why isn't there a separate group that organizes a separate list of all the missing!!!

  5. google: Se Busca GENARO GARCIA LUNA...
    as AFI under vicente fox and SSP chief under calderon fecal, for twelve years of the worst crisis of murders and disappearances, garcia luna was the main extortionist of narcos, criminals and sicarios, driving up crime rates at the national level, promoting his private security firms and if you did not pay for security, you would pay for the ransom, and all the police chiefs all over mexico know about this, they are no pendejos, they know, they are accomplices of garcia luna and carlos slim helu, the big rat that has been privatizing mexico after destabilizing it from behind the courtains, since before his brother worked for the DFS, the springboard to big drug dealing to finance the privatization of the mexican state, from
    lebanese drug traffickers in el paso in the seventies to big lebanese car thieves from ohio to big lebanese US congressmen/car thieves combos from califa, to big lebanese money laundering banks from US to CANADA, and this is only a small part, the really big boys didn't even knew anything about slim till it was too late, pendejos like videla, pinochet and others like them needed to be "officially" the big dogs and carry on their coup d'etates to get to the money, slim did not get into politics, he bought politicians, and he bought them frequently and cheap...

  6. Man, this is fucked, I just dont see where the dots connect. I can understand why someone would go missing if they were rich or lost a large load, ok, I dont agree with it but that seems to be the reality, but why so many migrants, what do they have to do with anything otner than try to get to america to try and work..I just dont understand how mexico wants to be an international player but never addresses any of these issues..

  7. mexican politicians kiss ass all over the world to get away with murder when it comes down to abusing the mexican people, with their US trained military gorillas and their second hand US provided weaponry...why is mario marin's son doing in the uropas with millions of dollars, chalets and luxury cars? enjoying the fruits of his daddys deals in pedophylia/tourism and the selling down the river of his governed peoples, with the full approval of the US approved mexican government...


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