WINNER OneShotAwardPhotonGrant 2017: 500€
ELCHE / SPAIN
The State of Veracruz, Mexico, was a peaceful area until recently. Today he is immersed in a spiral of violence due to disputes between the Jalisco Cartel and the Zetas. These groups struggle to control narco business: drug trafficking, kidnapping, or migrant routes to the United States. The former governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte, fled justice in October 2016 after being accused of corruption and collaboration with organized crime. In the midst of this chaos the cases of disappeared people have increased to become a humanitarian crisis. Due to the passivity and collaboration of the authorities with the narco, mothers with missing children have had to learn to search the ground looking for mass graves.
Without previous experience, these mothers are doing a better job than the police themselves. Their worst suspicions were confirmed when they began to excavate in the area of ’Hills of Santa Fe’, to the north of the Port of Veracruz, and they found the first bodies. The most recent data counts more than 250 skulls found. Even with more than half of the land to be excavated, the area is already referred to as Mexico’s largest clandestine cemetery. Many mothers talk about having mental problems after disappearances. Problems like seeing their children in other people or in illusions. For these people one of the most difficult things is not having had the opportunity to give the last goodbye.
The disappearance forces families to live in a state of distress as it is impossible to determine if their relatives are still alive or dead. After the disappearance some bodies appear in the margins of the roads of Veracruz. Others disappear forever by tying mothers to an endless quest. Living in the hope of finding their children alive and at the same time anxious to find a body that confirms death so we can cry and rest from the search.