The disclosure that more than 250 skulls have been discovered just outside the port district of Veracruz has once more reminded Mexicans of how poorly their government functions in terms of providing security and solving crimes.
The remains were found by a human rights group over many months, acting on a tip from traffickers. A spokesman for a group of mothers searching for missing children said:
“What we have found is abominable and it reveals the state of corruption, violence and impunity that reigns not only in Veracruz, but in all of Mexico,” Ms. Diaz said.
“A reality that speaks of the collusion of authorities with organized crime in Veracruz, for it is impossible to see what we found without the participation of authorities,” she said.
Most of the remains — which in addition to the skulls include some 14,000 bone fragments — are unidentified, and may date back years. Some may belong to Central American migrants who have often been targets of extortion by criminal gangs. The state government says it does not have the resources to carry out DNA testing on the remains.
Veracruz officials have officially recorded some 356 missing persons over the 2014-2016 period alone. Of these, only 17 have been resolved: 9 alive and 8 dead. Some 40% of the missing person reports have not even been investigated, according to Animal Politico. Former governor Javier Duarte is a fugitive and his interim successor Flavino Ríos was just jailed on corruption charges. Doubts abound of the willingness or ability of the current government of Miguel Angel Yunes to solve the crimes, with Veracruz municipal elections in June and a new gubernatorial election in 2018. Writes columnist José Buendía:
NGOs and victims have demanded a truth commission of independent investigators, but [Governor Yunes] seems to be focused on consolidating his power with publicity stunts or by politicizing the bankruptcy of the state treasury…. Meanwhile, the same as past administrations, the policy ‘see nothing, hear nothing’ toward the victims continues, as shown by the first statements of his son, who is the mayor of the municipality where the dumping ground was found, that the remains were those of criminals. Another closed case? Meanwhile he continues on the campaign trail.