In Ecuador, dozens gathered Monday in front of the presidential palace to demand justice in the investigations of the latest disappearances, including Maria Jose Ponce (28) and her four-years-old daughter Lirio Sofia, who have been missing since June 23.
In Ecuador there are 4,402 disappeared people; at least 67 percent of them are women between the ages of 11 and 27. Women’s rights groups had an important presence in the protest, where they chanted “We want us alive!,” a continental rallying cry against femicides and violence against women.
“Indifferent government, start working! We want justice! We want truth!,” family members of the disappeared chanted.
Maria Jose’s mother told local media the last time she saw them, they were going on a trip with a friend. “Then she called me to say they was staying two more days, and later I received an email saying she won’t come back to the house,” she explained.
According to Maria Jose’s sister, Alejandra, the writing style in the email did not correspond to the way her sister writes. They believe a man Maria Jose met through social media is behind their disappearance. “We believe that he represents a high risk and we need the help of the authorities in the investigations,” Alejandra said.
However, state prosecutor Edith Arevalo said that “from the elements obtained by the investigation cannot be assumed that there is a possible crime.”
At least 50 people carried pictures of Maria Jose and her daughter. “Because we want to find them alive,” they affirmed. Others demanded information on the disappearance of Michelle MOntenegro, a teacher who went missing on June 5.
Vice president Maria Alejandra Vicuña met with family members of Maria Jose and Lirio Sofia.