The bodies of three activists who went missing last week have been found on the side of a road in Guerrero state, the latest victims in Mexico’s so-called “crisis” of disappearances.
Among the dead was Arturo Hernandez Cardona, the human rights secretary and local leader of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), and a leader of the Emiliano Zapata Peasants’ Union. The other two victims were also members of the PRD, according to Proceso.
The three were among eight social activists who went missing after a protest on May 30 in support of local farmers, reported Animal Politico and the BBC. Guerrero governor Angel Aguirre Rivero said no line of inquiry would be ruled out in investigating their disappearance and murder.
Two bodies had bullet wounds, while the other appeared to have been beaten to death, said the BBC.
Opposition political activist David Molina Francisco told El Universal that he had information indicating that the other five kidnapped activists had managed to escape, although he did not identify the perpetrators.
InSight Crime Analysis
The Guerrero indicent is a troubling reminder of the scale of the problem of disappearances in Mexico, along with a recent case in Mexico City in which 11 people vanished outside a nightclub. Some 26,000 people have been reported missing in the past six years, with human rights defenders, journalists, and teachers among those targeted. While the vast majority of the disappeared remain unaccounted for, bodies found on the side of a roadside — or in a river, or hung from bridges, or discovered in mass graves — are a public reminder of the fate that probably awaited them.
Peña Nieto’s administration has promised action on what US non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch has called “the most severe crisis of enforced disappearance in Latin America for decades,” in a report that documents the widespread involvement of state agents in “disappearing” civilians.
Unsurprisingly, government statistics do not make clear how many of Mexico’s disappearance cases are believed to be related to organized crime. One concern is that many of the disappeared could have been victimized for their political activity, or else, were targeted at random.