Their sons, daughters, husbands or siblings are among the uncounted thousands of people who have vanished amid the raging violence of the Mexican government’s war against drug cartels.
Some of the missing were abducted by traffickers and kidnappers. Others were last seen being taken into custody by military or police troops. Official investigations routinely fall short, and it's often left to anguished relatives to pursue the truth.
The women marched earlier this week from their hometowns, primarily in northern Mexico, and descended on this capital in time for Mother’s Day (link in Spanish). They rallied at Mexico City’s iconic Angel of Independence monument and demanded information on their missing relatives.
“No one hears us, no one listens to us,” one of the women, whose husband and son are missing, told reporters.
The national human rights commission has estimated that about 10,000 people are missing, but everyone agrees the real number could be much larger (link in Spanish). Survivors say that in some ways, a missing loved one takes an even greater toll than a murdered one because of the unending uncertainty.
"There are no words to adequately describe the pain that we mothers feel for the disappearance of a son or daughter, victims of the crime and insecurity that reign," said a Monterrey-based human rights organization dedicated to the missing, one of many supporting the mothers' march (link in Spanish). "It is an agony that does not cease."
-- Tracy Wilkinson
Photo: A woman holds a banner showing a picture of a missing relative during a march on behalf of thousands of missing Mexicans, on Mother's Day, May 10, in Mexico City. Credit: Alexandre Meneghini / Associated Press.