Angelita Almeraz León, leader of the Union and Force for Our Disappeared of Tecate, Baja California, was murdered last Thursday. She had been searching for her brother for more than five years and her colleagues recognized him for her commitment to those who, like her, face the horrors of the disappearance of her loved ones.
One day after his assassination, President López Obrador mentioned that everything indicated his crime was unrelated to his activism, “possibly another reason, but I can’t talk more than that.” Well of course he spoke! And unless the Baja California State Prosecutor’s Office is so effective that it has already concluded the criminal investigation in hours and has informed the President, his assertion seems to want to be cured in health. It is audacity to anticipate that she was not murdered because of her activism. Angelita was in the protection mechanism for human rights defenders of the State of Baja California and had a panic button, which was proven insufficient in the face of the fact.
Since 2022, eight female searchers have been murdered and the crisis of forced disappearance and disappearances committed by individuals is one of the crimes registered in serious violations of human rights, and unfortunately, in Mexico it is increasing. López Obrador will leave the presidency carrying the highest number of involuntarily disappeared people, double that of Calderón and much more than Peña. And worse, with its omissions it is doing everything for the failure of the General Law on Forced Disappearance of Persons, Disappearance Committed by Individuals and the National Persons Search System in force since November 2017. A Law, by its design, the best example of open parliament, where each article was drafted with the families entrusted by the movement, for that purpose and by the Senators, because the Senate was the Chamber of origin, with the will of the past government. Absent will in this government.
The families they search for are in permanent risk, they continue to carry out investigations, searching for the remains in thousands of clandestine graves scattered throughout the country, missing in clandestine crematoriums or dissolved in acid, or missing on the more than eleven thousand kilometers of maritime coastline; also enslaved victims of human trafficking. The search undertaken by the families faces many obstacles, the most dangerous of which are the perpetrators of the disappearance, many of them state agents. Angelita in her investigation alleged that her brother was disappeared by municipal police.
It is worth highlighting that concern about this crisis has not only motivated groups of mothers and searching families and civil organizations defending human rights to demand justice and that Angelita’s activism not be ruled out a priori as one of the motives for her murder.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has indicated that “a prompt, effective and impartial investigation is necessary to clarify the facts and punish those responsible. Diligently fulfilling the obligation to investigate violations against defenders is an important measure of prevention and non-repetition.”
Mexico survives the disappearance of people as if it were facing a state of war. Yes, it is war where impunity enjoys full health.
Human rights defender