“Administrations come and go, and it's always the same. And we will continue searching, searching for them, to the last breath in my body”, said Estela Arana, who has been looking for her son since 2010.

Yolanda Moran attended the Mother’s Day march on Monday in her wheelchair. 

"We mothers have come to remind the authorities that they need to look for them", said 77-year-old Moran. She was carrying a photograph of her son, Dan Fernandez, who went missing in 2008. 

Dressed in white and holding white roses in their hands, thousands of mothers in the Mexican capital came out to protest, asking the authorities to find their children, the victims of violence and impunity that plagues the country.

"We do not live. We survive. Every year we are older, more tired, sicker," said Moran while she marched in Mexico City. 

Grim tragedy

More than 80,000 people have gone missing in Mexico since former President Felipe Calderon launched a brutal military campaign in the war against the powerful drug cartels in 2006. 

Another 300,000 have been murdered over the same period, according to the authorities, who say most of the killings are linked to gang violence.

Homicide and abduction are the reasons behind some of those who have disappeared, while others are victims of human trafficking - from young men threatened to work for drug cartels, to women forced into the sex trade. 

Around a quarter of those missing are female, and the tally includes more than 12,000 children. Most of these are girls.

But the tragedy still continues. The bodies of three siblings aged 24, 29 and 32 were found dead in a suburb of the western city of Guadalajara on Monday.

They had been missing since last Friday night when they were taken from their home by suspected drug cartel members.

Activists say Mexicans have disappeared at the hands of organised crime as well as local and federal government, with the line between the groups often blurred.

Interior Secretary Olga Sanchez met with some of the mothers. Her office released a statement in which she repeated “the government’s desire to find out the location of their relatives.” But such promises have rung hollow in the past.

A person shouts
A person shouts "Where are our children?" during a march in remembrance of those who have disappeared, on Mother's Day in Mexico City, Monday, May 10, 2021 (AP)

Families of victims say prosecutors and police have neglected to take steps in finding those responsible for enforced disappearances. In fact, they are often told to launch their own investigations. Numbers agree with them. In 2019, the Attorney General opened only 351 investigations out of thousands of cases. In the end, only two were prosecuted. 

Human Rights Watch says the Mexican criminal justice system fails to provide justice due to reasons including corruption and complicity of prosecutors and public defenders with criminals and other abusive officials. According to the local NGO Impunity Zero, only 1.3 percent of crimes have been solved in the country. 

Martha Estela Arana is among those who took to the streets. She has spent the last 11 years searching for her son and still does not know whether her son is alive.

“Administrations come and go, and it's always the same. And we will continue searching, searching for them, to the last breath in my body”, Arana said.

54-year-old Marisa Trejo accused the Mexican authorities of "indifference."

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador "made many campaign promises of support and has never really followed up on them," she said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies