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The head of Mexico’s missing persons search agency has resigned abruptly amid a government review that some activists fear is aimed at artificially reducing the number of missing persons ahead of next year’s elections.
Karla Quintana, a Harvard-educated human rights lawyer who has run the CNB since 2019, did not give a reason for her resignation but said Wednesday night that her resignation was effective immediately “because The current situation“.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Thursday that Quintana’s era was over and said government scrutiny of the data was working.
“Right now, we’re looking, and we’ve found a lot, and we’re very happy about that,” he said. “But counterfeiters, hypocrites, corrupt conservatives don’t have arguments anymore. It annoys them.”
López Obrador came to power promising to tackle the root causes of rampant insecurity and violence in Mexico, but his murder total during his presidency surpassed that of previous administrations. While homicides have fallen recently, one person has gone missing every hour during his presidency, government data show.
With less than two weeks to go, both the ruling and opposition parties are gearing up to pick their candidates for the 2024 presidential election, a particularly sensitive topic.
Some 111,049 people are missing in Mexico, mostly since former President Felipe Calderon sent troops to fight drug cartels in 2006. Shortly thereafter, homicides began to spike.
The Mexican government is conducting a census of missing persons by going door-to-door, talking to families and cross-referencing databases. Some experts said the drill did not follow legal process, and critics feared it was aimed at reducing numbers rather than obtaining accurate information.
Following Quintana’s resignation, the human rights nonprofit Centro de Derechos Humanos Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez said in a post on X (officially Twitter) that it was concerned that the missing persons database was being manipulated to show “fictitious Decline” .
“This tragedy is not about numbers, budgets, officials, one administration or another… . . . It involves thousands of families without truth and justice,” they wrote.
Jacobo Dayán, a teacher at the Iberoamerican University, wrote earlier that the missing persons database has been criticized for inaccuracies such as underreporting and outdated cases. moon.
“We are facing a situation where disappearances are exploited for electoral purposes,” he wrote.
People go missing at the hands of family members, organized crime groups and authorities, and the resulting cases are rarely solved. Images of a group of bereaved mothers shoveling across the country with shovels have become emblematic of the violence.
One of the most notorious cases involved the disappearance of 43 trainee teachers in the state of Guerrero in 2014. An international team of experts investigating the incident ended its work in July, saying they had been repeatedly duped by the military.
Additional reporting by Carla Ruiz