Salvatierra very rarely appeared on the news. Until this week, when the authorities reported the discovery of 59 bodies in clandestine graves in this quiet town in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato. Now, groups of relatives of the disappeared fear that the figure is at least 100 bodies.
There are still many points to be explored on the same property, members of groups dedicated to searching for missing persons agreed this Thursday, consulted by Efe.
“It really is a cemetery there in Salvatierra. And I know that more than 100 bodies will be exceeded there, ”Norma Patricia Barrón Núñez, representative of the organization Una luz en mi camino, who participates in the search tasks, told Efe.
This Wednesday, the National Personnel Search Commissioner, Karla Quintana Osuna, reported in a press conference that after eight days of excavations, 59 bodies had been found buried in the property known as Barrio de San Juan.
However, there are still many points to explore, warned José Gutiérrez Cruz, leader of the collective A tu Encuentro.
“Very probably we are talking about a number closer to 100 bodies than the 59 we have right now, for all the points that need to be explored,” he said in an interview for Efe.
SALVATIERRA, AN UNKNOWN VICTIM
Salvatierra is a municipality with just 100,000 inhabitants, located in the south of Guanajuato, currently the most violent region in the country due to the struggle of at least two cartels, that of Jalisco Nueva Generación and that of Santa Rosa de Lima.
The name of this small city generally does not appear when speaking of the violence that surrounds the central state that, despite the circumstances, continues to be one of the main poles of the automotive industry in Mexico.
For this reason, it was even more surprising that the largest discovery of clandestine graves in Guanajuato occurred there and on a site located just about 3 kilometers from the Mayor’s Office building.
Barrón Núñez explained that it was decided, in conjunction with the National Commission for the Search of Persons and its counterpart in Guanajuato, to start searching there for reports that citizens made through social networks.
“People tell us ‘there we hear screams at night, that they are like stinging the ground, we hear many things’, so that is a warning sign from the same society for us to search that property,” he said.
As of October 20, the excavations began and until now, officially, there are 59 bodies found, which, although they hurt, also represent a hope of peace for the relatives who are looking for them, some for years.
“We take it in a painful way, but in some way it is the hope of being able to have peace in our family,” said Barrón Núñez, who is looking for her husband -Juan, 35- and her son -Kevin Damián, 17- , kidnapped in June 2019 in Irapuato, 70 kilometers from Salvatierra.
However, he acknowledges that the pain was even greater when observing that in some graves not only bodies were buried that could be their relatives, but also tools with which they were tortured, such as machetes, boards and shovels.
For this reason, even in the work of this search, a psychologist had to be present to attend to the family members who entered into crisis when they observed such scenes.
Now, the groups dedicated to the difficult and uncertain task of searching for missing persons, whether alive or dead, are asking that the State Prosecutor’s Office expedite the identification of the bodies.
“They presume to us a laboratory that is certified and others, but a laboratory that cannot cope and that sometimes takes up to a year to generate genetic profile tests for missing persons,” said Gutiérrez Cruz.
Therefore, he indicated that it is also necessary to establish an identification table, in which the Prosecutor’s Office provides the necessary information so that the relatives know if the human remains that are unearthed little by little belong to the person they are looking for.
Since 2018 Guanajuato has been the most violent state in the country, as a result of the territorial dispute between two organized crime groups: the Jalisco Nueva Generación Cartel and the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel.
From January to September, 3,438 people have been killed, although authorities maintain that 9 out of 10 victims were linked in some way to organized crime.
According to the most recent official data, Mexico adds 77,171 people who have not been located from 1964 to date.
Additionally, 4,092 clandestine graves have been identified since 2006, with nearly half located in just five states: Veracruz, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Sinaloa, and Zacatecas.