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Friday, August 13, 2021

La Bartolina, Tamaulipas: Despite Fear and Covid, Search Groups Enter; They Find Bones, And Women's Shoes

"Sol Prendido" for Borderland Beat

MILENIO accompanied the search groups to the extermination camp located in Tamaulipas, where they denounce that "the authorities do nothing and therefore we have to do it ourselves by our own means”

On Thursday morning, a dozen women looking for their disappeared left Matamoros to the property called La Bartolina, a place recognized by the authorities as an extermination camp. "Yes, one comes with fear because it is their territory and they can consider it an offense that we are moving around here," confesses Delia Quiroa, while with her companions they dig into a point that seemed suspicious to them.

We see that the authorities do nothing and we have to do it ourselves by our own means," says her colleague who asked not to be identified for fear of the cartels when talking to MILENIO. La Bartolina is located in the Huisachal community in Tamaulipas just a few kilometers from the border with Brownsville, United States. 

There the authorities and groups of disappeared people such as "Mothers United by Our Disappeared" have managed to recover 500 kilos of human remains in a span of five years. On Thursday morning, the women risked going to the property, guarded by the National Guard and state police elements to verify the conditions in which the area is, because they distrust the work done by the Attorney General's Office of the Republic. 

Delia Quiroa, who is part of the collectives "10 de marzo" and "Nosotras", says that they have requested information from the Attorney General's Office of the Republic about the progress in identifying the more than 500 kilos of remains that have been found, but have not received a response. 

"They are asked for information about how many graves have been opened, how many remains have been identified, how many have not. The haste that we want this territory to be protected is because we don’t want evidence to be lost. You are realizing that you are alone, abandoned and having to come here every six months, because you imagine this is never going to be solved," claims Delia, while we chat under a tree that is one of the few shadows where one can hide from the sun. 

They have carried out exhaustive searches to find some indication of their missing relatives

For the families they are looking for, every day the sorrow, uncertainty and despair of not knowing if their disappeared person is fine or what was his or hers is repeated. The ravages are experienced every day and in that situation, waiting for the authorities to carry out the next stagecoach on the property in September, sounds like an eternity to them. 

Delia Quiroa went to the La Bartolina death camp despite the third wave of covid-19 and the risk of going into lonely villages in Tamaulipas to search for her brother Roberto, who disappeared after three kidnappings.

"In the first, when the ransom was paid and they released him, he told us that they had brought him here, that they put him in a water drum and put a lid on him, he fell asleep and was drowning," Delia recalls earlier to continue with the reconnaissance tour.

In a period of four hours at a temperature of around 40 degrees, the group of trackers managed to locate a bone that was secured by the state police and several women's shoes.

Making their way through the thorny weeds, the mothers arrived at the area cordoned off by the Prosecutor's Office, where they found that there are no personnel to guarantee that the evidence is not tampered with or destroyed.

“Comrades, you have to respect the area of ​​the yellow tape. Don't touch anything, ”Delia yelled over a loudspeaker.

The area is located next to a lake that gives the site a touch of quiet that is far from looking like a place where hundreds of people have been killed, burned or buried. Unlike other clandestine organized crime cemeteries, there is no smell of death and no one is seen in the area, although days before, fellow journalists wanted to enter La Bartolina on their own initiative and the gangsters ordered them to leave.

Already in the place, some mothers burst into tears and pray looking at the yellow ribbons that impede their passage.

"We appeal to your divine grace, Lord, that you give us the means for us to look for our children, I also ask you, Father, to place us on the path where they are," say some mothers.

Mrs. Rosa, from the collective "Mothers United by Our Disappeared", was one of the mothers who paved the way for the authorities to work on the identification of the human remains abandoned in La Bartolina.

The groups have spent years searching for their loved ones 

This morning she is not among the group of trackers, but she calls them to approach their Public Ministries to confront their genetic data with the "treasures" found. This is how she calls the human remains that she finds on her way, while she looks for her daughter Dulce Yamelli, kidnapped in San Fernando, Tamaulipas.


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