Members of the “Colectivo Solecito," a civil society organization aiding in the search for persons, who have been disappeared in Mexico, have come under increased threats of violence in recent weeks after a criminal group in Veracruz demanded that they pay a protection fee in order carry out there work in eastern Mexico.
Mexico: Over 20,000 Displaced Due to Conflict, Violence in 2017
According to Lucia Diaz Genao, spokeswoman of the group, the threats became more concerning in the past week.
“Last week three criminals came to us in one of the sales points and demanded we pay a protection fee... We're living in total and absolute insecurity. This is Veracruz. There's no rule of law here; there's no government,” Diaz Genao said.
"Colectivo Solecito" sells goods, organizes fairs and markets to raise for DNA tests to identify bodies and bones found in the territory, which is known for its irregular mass graves, in the hope of giving closure to the family and friends of the missing.
The group's members also condemned the lack of action by Veracruz's State Attorney General Jorge Winckler, who they say has impeded their work by failing to hand over full bodies found in an illegal mass grave in Arbolillo, in the municipality of Alvarado.
“You can't know what's going on here, because when the [prosecutor's] declaration spoke about bodies, not body parts... we don't know how the situation was handled, we don't know if the bodies were handled ethically. We don't trust the prosecutor's office, we don't know what happened there, but something happened, and they're not giving us the results of the identification process,” Diaz Genao said.
At least 289 skulls and 17 thousand bone pieces have been found in 150 different illegal mass graves in Veracruz, but so far only about 30 remains have been identified and handed over to their respective families.