The voices of desolate mothers break and they cry, inconsolable, just by imagining their missing children buried in a clandestine grave. Their hearts shatter whenever they learn that a new mass grave has been discovered, for they harbor hope that their kin could still be alive somewhere, and speak of them in the present tense. They know, however, that the possibility of finding them safe and sound in a violence engulfed state full of anonymous corpses is scarce.
“We have God working full time because we keep asking him for a miracle,” stated Elvira Gómez López, in tears, mother of two sons, Rodrigo and Juan de Dios Gómez López, who went missing in 2013, when they were aged 17 and 19.
Elvira is one of the members of the Missing Persons Search Brigade in the Tierra Blanca region. The news of the most recent finding -a pit with at least 174 skulls in the Alvarado municipality- has left her distraught. “Whenever I venture into the place where the pits where found, I cry without rest and then I pray to God that my children are not there. I ask him to forgive me and my sons and that he gives us a chance to be together again,” she told.
Since the year 2011, at least 601 clandestine mass graves have been found in Veracruz during the administration of former PRI governor Javier Duarte (2010-2016) and PAN governor Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares, according to the Attorney General’s office in Veracruz (FGE).
In these pits, a total of 1,178 victims have been found (518 bodies, 660 skulls) along 85 municipalities, in addition to 53,606 remains of people’s bodies, among which there is still a large number of unidentified men, women, and children, according to the Attorney’s report sent to EL UNIVERSAL through a request for transparency.
The figures issued by the Attorney General showed that 2017 was the year when the most pits were found in the last decade, with a total of 343, from which 295 bodies were unearthed, along with 335 skulls, and 30,600 human bones in 44 municipalities such as Veracruz, Agua Dulce, Pueblo Viejo, Tres Valles, and Alvarado.
The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) counted 228 pits in the state (191 were found from 2007 to 2016 and 37 more in samplings conducted between 2017 and August of the present year).
In 2017, members of the Solecito Group found the largest pit in Latin America to date. Located near the Veracruz port, it contained 295 human bodies.
The rise in violence in the state of Veracruz has been caused by territorial conflicts between the Zetas, the Golfo, and the Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels.