Things That Matter

More Than 30,000 Bodies Are Filling Up Mexico’s Morgues And Nobody Is Coming To Claim Them, This Is Why

It’s no secret that Mexico has been battling increased violence across the corners of the country. From the drug war that started in 2006 to the narcos fighting it out for territory near the US-Mexico border, violence has hit Mexico hard. In fact, 2019 is on pace to be the nation’s most violent year yet with more than 14,600 homicides in the first half of the year.

All of this violence has left the nation’s morgues full of unidentified and unclaimed bodies.

The problem has become so grave that the National Human Rights Commission issued a report on the thousands of unclaimed bodies.

There are more than 30,000 unclaimed and unidentified bodies as well as an unknown number of skeletal remains in Mexico’s morgues, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) said on Thursday.

There is “a crisis in the area of forensic identification,” the commission said, because morgues lack the resources, staff and equipment to properly examine the bodies they receive.

Federal human rights undersecretary Alejandro Encinas said in February that Mexico is an “enormous hidden grave.” 

The CNDH said that albums of photographs should be compiled when hidden graves are excavated in order to document clothing and other items that could aid in the identification of bodies.

High homicide numbers during the past decade have contributed to the accumulation of the huge number of corpses.

Many were found in hidden graves used by criminal organizations to dispose of the bodies of their victims.

The Guadalajara morgue has left some unidentified bodies to decompose for as long as two years before autopsies were carried out. Others have buried corpses in common graves but some have faced criticism because they didn’t collect tissue samples first.

Overcrowding at morgues has forced authorities in several cities to use refrigerated trailer containers to store unidentified bodies.

Credit: Mexico News Daily

One trailer containing 157 bodies was left on a property on the outskirts of Guadalajara, Jalisco, last year, drawing the ire of local residents who complained of fetid odors. The state’s forensics chief was fired by then governor Jorge Sandoval Díaz over the case.

Adriana Michelle Álvarez Orozco, a 16-year-old who disappeared in Jalisco in November 2017, was left in the Lagos de Moreno morgue in Jalisco for almost two years without being identified.

Family members searched for the girl since her disappearance but had no luck finding her until October 12 when a woman, the mother of one of Álvarez’s friends, recognized her in a photo held by Jalisco authorities. The girl’s mother was notified and finally able to recover her body.

While a recent mass grave was found near the popular tourist destination of Puerto Peñasco.

Credit: Agencia Ministerial Investigación Criminal

A total of 42 bodies and skeletons have been pulled from a burial pit in the Mexican desert near the Gulf of California beach town of Puerto Penasco, known to U.S. tourists as Rocky Point.

The Sonora state prosecutor’s office says the clandestine pit yielded a dozen bodies last week, but digging over the weekend found another 30 sets of remains, almost all complete skeletons. The skeletons still had some clothing on them, and items of clothing suggest two may be women.

The burial pit was originally located by groups of volunteers known as the Searching Mothers of Sonora and the Searchers of Puerto Penasco. The groups are made up of relatives of missing people who investigate reports of burial sites.

The National Search Commission said in January that there are 40,180 missing people in Mexico.

The highest profile missing persons cases is the 2014 disappearance of 43 teaching students in Iguala, Guerrero.

The federal government established a truth commission to conduct a new investigation into the case and has carried out extensive search operations but Encinas said on the fifth anniversary of the students’ disappearance that there had been no “positive findings.”

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Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

Things That Matter

Mexican Politician Accused Of Rape Vows To Block Elections Unless He’s Allowed To Run

It’s an election year in Mexico and that means that things are heating up as candidates fight for the top spot. At the same time, Mexico is experiencing a burgeoning fight for women’s rights that demands accountability and justice. Despite all the marches and protests and civil disobedience by hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, it remains to be seen how much change will happen and when. 

Case in point: Félix Salgado, a candidate for governor of Guerrero who has been accused of rape and sexual assault but maintains the support of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO). Now, after being disqualified from the race because of undisclosed campaign finances, the candidate is vowing to block any elections from taking place unless he is allowed to continue his campaign. 

A disqualified candidate is vowing to block elections unless he’s allowed to run.

Félix Salgado was running to be governor of the Mexican state of Guerrero when he was faced with allegations of rape and sexual assault. The commission that selects party candidates allowed him to remain in the race and he continues to maintain the support of President AMLO – who is of the same political party, Morena. 

However, in late March, election regulators ordered that Salgado be taken off the ballot due to a failure to report campaign spending, according to the AP. Mexico’s electoral court ordered the Federal Electoral Institute (FEI) to reconsider their decision last week. Salgado is already threatening to throw the election process into chaos.

“If we are on the ballot, there will be elections,” Salgado told supporters in Guerrero after leading a caravan of protestors to the FEI’s office in Mexico City on Sunday. “If we are not on the ballot, there will not be any elections,” Salgado said.

The AP notes that Salgado is not making an empty threat. Guerrero is an embattled state overrun with violence and drug gangs and many elections have been previously disrupted. Past governors have been forced out of office before finishing their terms. Salgado was previously filmed getting into a confrontation with police in 2000.

It was just weeks ago that the ruling party allowed Salgado’s candidacy to move forward.

In mid-March, Morena confirmed that Félix Salgado would be its candidate for governor in Guerrero after completing a new selection process in which the former senator was reportedly pitted against four women.

Morena polled citizens in Guerrero last weekend to determine levels of support for five different possible candidates, according to media reports. Among the four women who were included in the process were Acapulco Mayor Adela Román and Senator Nestora Salgado.

Félix Salgado was the clear winner of the survey, even coming out on top when those polled were asked to opine on the potential candidates’ respect for the rights of women. He also prevailed in all other categories including honesty and knowledge of the municipality in which the poll respondents lived.

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Things That Matter

Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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