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  • Forensic workers bury unclaimed bodies in a mass grave at San Rafael cemetery in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico Oct. 8, 2018.

    Forensic workers bury unclaimed bodies in a mass grave at San Rafael cemetery in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico Oct. 8, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 March 2019

In an unprecedented act, the Veracruz governor apologizes to the families of five murdered kids of 'Tierra Blanca'. Parents demand end to impunity.

The governor of Veracruz publicly apologized to the families of five victims killed by the state in 2016, but continue to demand justice.

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In an unprecedented event, Governor Cuitlahuac Garcia Jimenez said that authorities failed the victims and their families in the face of an atrocity that deserves justice.

"We recognize that the State failed them and didn’t have the capacity to provide safety to the young people. Everyone should know that Veracruz state security forces arbitrarily detained and disappeared the children leaving you immense pain," the elected official said during a Monday night ceremony at the Memory and Tolerance Museum in Mexico City

"We publicly acknowledge the responsibility of the state and offer an apology," said the leader to the families sitting in the auditorium’s front row.

The Veracruz government will apologize for the five murders of 'Tierra Blanca' Mar. 4. 

On Jan. 11, 2016, Jose Alfredo Gonzalez Diaz (16), Mario Arturo Orozco Sanchez (25), Susana Tapia Garibo (27), Jose Benitez de la O (24) and Bernardo Benitez Arroniz (25) were detained in the Veracruz city of Tierra Blanca by state police officers. According to La Reforma the police handed over the now-deceased young people to members of the New Generation Jalisco cartel who tortured and murdered them.

The ‘Tierra Blanca’ murders happened while Javier Duarte was in office. Last September,the former Veracruz governor was sentenced to nine years in prison on money laundering charges.

Parents of the victims demanded justice in the case that’s now more than three years old.

Bernardo Benitez, father of the victim with the same name, told the audience, "If there were justice, our children would alive today," adding, "I do not believe in the justice of the Mexican State."

According to the Miguel Agustin Pro Juarez Human Rights (Centro PRODH) there are 21 suspects in the case, but they are still enjoying impunity. The organization says the Veracruz state prosecutors office should also be investigated for collusion.

"We ask you to repair this deep pain. There are thousands of families in this circumstance," said Benitez.

As a result of former President Felipe Calderon's "War on Drugs" started in 2006, between 2007 and April 2018 alone the Mexican government registered 37,435 people missing. Over 250,000 have been murdered during that same period of time in the country, the majority of which are unpunished.

National Attorney General Alejandro Gertz said he’s determined to close the case, and it that it would "stain his hands" if he doesn’t.

Carmen Garibo, mother of Susana Garibo said Monday night: "For us as mothers, looking for justice is not nonsense, it is an act of love, an act of love for our children, for my Susana." She added, "today we are here for our children, but we want to remember so many mothers in our state who have not given up and want justice."

Governor Cuitlahuac Garcia promised to find justice for the families. "We are aware that their demand for justice is the main demand and that’s our main concern."

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