Nobody Knows the Whereabouts of 20 Salvadorans Missing for More Than a Year in Veracruz – by Regina Martínez Pérez (Proceso)

~ This article was originally published by Proceso on August 11, 2011 ~

From 2002 to the date of her violent murder in Xalapa, Veracruz on 27 April 2012, Martínez worked as the investigative news magazine’s Veracruz correspondent.

VERACRUZ, Ver. (apro). – El Salvador’s Consul for this region, Claudia Saldaña Desifuentes, has revealed that the whereabouts of at least 20 Salvadoran immigrants is unknown. The last contact they had with relatives can be documented to a year ago just when they passed through this region.

A long time has passed without news of these people but the diplomat thinks that they cannot be seen as crime victims and instead must be considered as missing people.

She also characterized the measures announced by Mexican authorities to protect migrants as a “fact.” Among those measures is the creation of the Interstate Network for Migrant Assistance in which the Central American consulates, Mexico’s National Migration Institute (INM), state governments and non-governmental organizations participate.

For the Salvadoran diplomat this measure signals an advance in improving the treatment of undocumented migrants, especially those from Central America who have to travel through Veracruz to arrive at their U.S. destination.

Although she also admitted that the situation facing immigrants who pass through Veracruz is “difficult”; and even though evidence of ill treatment or abuse does not always exist (including by public officials) “there’s a list of twenty Salvadoran missing people in the last year.”

In situations like these, she said, Mexico’s federal authorities coordinate with Veracruz authorities and have supported investigative tasks in an attempt to find disappeared Salvadorans.

In this case, she thinks that the beginning of a migrants’ protective network with the function of coordinating work among Mexican authorities and to promote justice for undocumented migrants whose rights are violated “is very positive.”

However, El Salvador’s consul in Veracruz lamented that in spite of the attacks and risks that confront her fellow nationals who pass through Mexico – including death at the hands of organized crime – “the flow of migrants keeps increasing and has not decreased in recent years because of the economic problems we confront as a country.”

Journalist Regina Martínez was murdered in Xalapa, Veracruz on 28 April 2012. The motives behind her murder remain murky. Although one man was prosecuted for her death, months later he was released because he confessed under torture. In the past six months, a judge in Veracruz has ordered that he be returned to prison for Martínez’s murder. This article was first published under the title, “Nadie sabe dónde están 20 salvadoreños desaparecidos hace un año en Veracruz” available at:

 Translator Patrick Timmons is a human rights investigator and journalist. He edits the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP), a quality selection of Spanish-language journalism about Latin America rendered into English. Follow him on Twitter @patricktimmons. The MxJTP has a Facebook page: like it, here.




About Michael Lettieri

Program Officer at the Trans-Border Institute

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