With upwards of 20,000 people having disappeared during the six-year presidency of Felipe Calderón, which ended Dec. 1, human rights observers are slamming the Mexican police and military for its corruption and brutality, reports the Los Angeles Times. Many of those disappeared were taken by Mexico's notorious drug gangs, but the national police, local police, and military have all also been accused of abuses, failing to investigate disappearances, and often blaming the victims. "The result was the most severe crisis of enforced disappearances in Latin America in decades," said the report by Human Rights Watch.
In several cases, the authorities even kidnapped people and turned them over to local drug lords. The naval special forces were documented as taking 20 people around the country in a coordinated campaign in June and July 2011; their whereabouts are still unknown. "At least when your loved one dies, you know where they are, what happened, you can eventually get used to it," said the wife of one man who disappeared. "We do not know what monster we are fighting."