25K Missing in Mexican Drug War

Leaked list arrives day before Calderon's exit

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 30, 2012 7:48 AM CST

(Newser) – More than 100,000 murders were recorded in Mexico during Felipe Calderon's presidency—and now, a day before he leaves office, a staggering new figure has emerged. Some 25,000 people have gone missing over the past six years, according to an unreleased list by the country's attorney general. The Microsoft Excel spreadsheet offers missing people's names, ages, jobs, clothing, and other details—phrases like, "His wife went to buy medicine and disappeared."

The secret list points to a government in over its head, notes the Washington Post, which obtained the document from fed-up bureaucrats. Calderon last year vowed to establish a national database that would include a missing-persons list, a promise Mexico's congress tried—but has thus far failed—to enforce. Activists say the government kept things quiet to save face. The Post notes that the leaked list isn't exactly free of errors: It consists of more than abductions, like residents who may have left for the US, and likely includes the names of some who have returned home. It's "a half-baked effort" that's "reflective of an administration that never took the problem of disappearances seriously and is now trying to cover its tracks," says a human rights activist.

A man holds Mexico's flag during a protest against violence in Mexico City, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012.
A man holds Mexico's flag during a protest against violence in Mexico City, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012.   (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)
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