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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The President Of Mexico Has Tested Positive For Covid-19 After A Year Of Downplaying The Virus

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The President Of Mexico Has Tested Positive For Covid-19 After A Year Of Downplaying The Virus

Hector Villas / Getty Images

Since the very beginning of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has largely downplayed the severity of the crisis. Despite record-setting deaths across Mexico, the president continued to hold large rallies, rarely uses face masks and continues to be very hands on with his supporters. Many of his detractors grouped him in with Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jaír Bolsonaro in his poor response to the pandemic.

Mexico’s President AMLO has tested positive for Covid-19 and is experiencing light symptoms.

In a tweet on Sunday evening, AMLO revealed that he had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. From his official Twitter account, he said his symptoms were mild and that he was receiving medical treatment.

“I regret to inform you that I have contracted Covid-19. The symptoms are mild, but I am already receiving medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic. We will move forward,” Lopez Obrador wrote.

Despite his diagnosis, the president plans to continue business as usual. He plans to continue with his duties from the Palacio Nacional, which include conducting a planned phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the topic of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine Monday. He added on Twitter, that “I will be conducting all public affairs from the National Palace. For example, tomorrow I will take a call from President Vladimir Putin, because irrespective of friendly relationships, there is a possibility that they will send us the Sputnik V vaccine.”

AMLO has taken a very hands off approach to his country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

AMLO, 67-years-old, has rarely been seen wearing a mask and continued to travel extensively across the country aboard commercial flights – putting both his health and those around him at risk.

He has also resisted locking down the economy, noting the devastating effect it would have on so many Mexicans who live day to day. And because of that, Mexico has one of the highest death rates in the world. Early in the pandemic, asked how he was protecting Mexico, AMLO removed two religious amulets from his wallet and proudly showed them off.

“The protective shield is the ‘Get thee behind me, Satan,’” AMLO said, reading off the inscription on the amulet, “Stop, enemy, for the Heart of Jesus is with me.”

In November, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, urged Mexico’s leaders be serious about the coronavirus and set examples for its citizens, saying that “Mexico is in bad shape” with the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Mexico continues to experience the worst effects yet of the global health crisis.

Credit: Ismael Rosas / Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Thanks to a lack of national leadership, Mexico is one of the 17 countries that has reported more than one million cases of Covid-19. Since early October, newly confirmed cases and deaths have been reaching record levels, with recent daily numbers some of the highest since the beginning the pandemic.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Mexico has recorded at least 1,752,347 Covid-19 cases and 149,084 people have died from the virus in the country.

In hardest-hit Mexico City, nearly 30 public hospitals report they have reached 100% percent capacity, and many others are approaching that mark. The city’s Mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, has urged residents to not go out unless absolutely necessary. In December, Mexico City and the state of Mexico were placed into “red level,” the highest measure on the country’s stoplight alert system for Covid-19 restrictions. The tighter measures included the closure of indoor dining, with only essential sectors like transport, energy, health and construction remaining open.

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Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

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Mexico’s AMLO Wants To Launch New Social Media Network For Mexicans After Twitter Banned Trump

Hector Vivas / Getty Images

Love him or hate him, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has long called himself the voice of the people – and many Mexicans agree with him. That’s why his latest announcement against social media companies has many so worried.

In the wake of Twitter and Facebook’s (along with many other social media platforms) announcement that they would be restricting or banning Donald Trump from their platforms, the Mexican president expressed his contempt for the decisions. And his intention to create a Mexican social network that won’t be held to the standards from Silicon Valley.

Mexico’s AMLO moves to create a social media network for Mexicans outside of Silicon Valley’s control.

A week after his United States counterpart was kicked off Facebook and Twitter, President López Obrador floated the idea of creating a national social media network to avoid the possibility of Mexicans being censored.

Speaking at his daily news conference, AMLO instructed the National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) and other government departments to look at the possibility of creating a state-owned social media site that would guarantee freedom of speech in Mexico.

“We care about freedom a lot, it’s an issue that’s going to be addressed by us,” he told reporters. He also added that Facebook and Twitter have become “global institutions of censorship,” sounding a lot like the alt-right terrorists that stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“To guarantee freedom, for freedom, so there’s no censorship in Mexico. We want a country without censorship. Mexico must be a country of freedom. This is a commitment we have,” he told reporters.

AMLO deeply criticized the moves by Twitter and Facebook to ban Trump from their platforms.

Credit: Hector Vivas / Getty Images

AMLO – like Trump – is an avid user of social media to connect with his constituents. He’s also been known to spread falsehoods and boast about his achievements on the platforms – sound familiar?

So, it came as little surprise when he tore into social media companies for ‘censoring’ Donald Trump, saying that they have turned into “global institutions of censorship” and are carrying out a “holy inquisition.”

Nobody has the right to silence citizens even if their views are unpopular, López Obrador said. Even if the words used by Trump provoked a violent attack against his own government.

“Since they took these decisions [to suspend Trump], the Statue of Liberty has been turning green with anger because it doesn’t want to become an empty symbol,” he quipped.

So what could a Mexican social media network be called?

The president’s proposal to create a national social media network triggered chatter about what such a site would or should be called. One Twitter user suggested Facemex or Twitmex, apparently taking his inspiration from the state oil company Pemex.

The newspaper Milenio came up with three alternative names and logos for uniquely Mexican sites, suggesting that a Mexican version of Facebook could be called Facebookóatl (inspired by the Aztec feathered-serpent god Quetzalcóatl), Twitter could become Twitterlopochtli (a riff on the name of Aztec war, sun and human deity Huitzilopochtli) and Instagram could become Instagratlán (tlán, which in the Náhuatl language means place near an abundance of something – deer, for example, in the case of Mazatlán – is a common suffix in Mexican place names.)

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