Photo: Missing Migrants in Mexico
One of the 33 Central American mothers traveling across Mexico in search of children who disappeared en route to the United States was reunited with her missing son at a jail in the southern state of Chiapas.
Honduran Olivia Orellana found her son “after years of searching without a trace,” Marta Sanchez, an activist accompanying the mothers’ caravan, told Efe.
“This mother-and-son encounter was very moving and it definitely gives us hope and strength to continue looking for all the other missing Central American children and families,” the representative of the Mesoamerican Migrants Movement said.
Motozintla prison in the border city of Tapachula was the unlikely scene of Olivia’s reunion with son Osman Lizandro Mejia Orellana, who is nearing the end of a 10-year sentence for homicide.
Orellana found her son “thanks to the help of a policeman who recognized the youth last Saturday from a photo that was displayed in a public square,” Sanchez said.
“The policeman approached and told us where we could find the young man,” the activist said.
Olivia Orellana, whose husband died just a few months after Osman disappeared in Mexico, said she never abandoned hope of seeing her son again.
Expressing confidence in her son’s innocence, Olivia said she will return to Honduras satisfied that she found Osman after eight years.
The women in the caravan - 28 from Honduras, four from Nicaragua and one from El Salvador - arrived in Mexico on Oct. 31 for their third trip across the country this year.
They spent two weeks traveling through nine Mexican states to lobby for the creation of an official mechanism to search for missing migrants.
The women and their supporters described the result of this latest journey as positive, citing commitments from Mexican officials.
“We have hopes that this time they will advance further on what they promise,” the caravan said in a statement.
Human rights groups say at least 800 Central American migrants have gone missing in Mexico in the last few years.
Despite recession in the United States and increasing violence in Mexico, each year around 140,000 Central Americans undertake the dangerous journey across Mexico in pursuit of the “American Dream.”
The trek is a dangerous one, with criminals and corrupt Mexican officials preying on the migrants.
Gangs kidnap, exploit and murder migrants, who are often targeted in extortion schemes. The mothers’ caravan visited San Fernando, a city in the northern border state of Tamaulipas where 72 Latin American migrants were massacred in August 2010 by the Los Zetas drug cartel.