I was struck by and have re-read several times Miguel Carbonell’s opinion column in last week’s El Universal, a Mexico City daily. In it he criticizes Mexican judicial authorities (and Mexican society in general) for essentially disregarding the rampant kidnapping of migrants passing through on their way to the U.S. border.Carbonell references the National Human Rights Commission’s report, which states that over a six-month period last year, 11,000 migrants, mostly from Central America, were kidnapped. In the best of cases, they are held for ransom. Sometimes they are physically or sexually abused. In the worst, they are murdered.
Carbonell notes that despite “this massive and resounding criminal activity,” authorities have initiated just a handful of criminal cases,” demonstrating that “absolute impunity appears to be the rule, as frequently happens in Mexico.”
“The worst part of all this, perhaps, is the lack of response from Mexican society,” he continues. He makes the comment that if the victims had been Mexicans there certainly would have been public outcry and a demand for action.
“But because those involved are foreigners and poor, no one seems to be concerned,” he writes. “The same respect that the Mexican government wants from the United States in order to protect our countrymen in North American territory cannot be guaranteed in our own country.”