Four missing Americans in Mexico were found swiftly, but without an international spotlight thousands of Mexicans are not so lucky.
Four tourists were kidnapped on Friday in the border city of Matamoros when they ran afoul of a drug cartel battle. Two were killed in the shootout and the other two injured, before the cartel hauled them off and moved them around the city while Mexican authorities searched. Tuesday, the four missing Americans, living and dead, were found in a wooden shack east of the city. According to the chief prosecutor, Irving Barrios, they were in the process of being taken to a cartel base called “Bagdad Beach,” across the border from Brownsville, Texas.
According to the DEA, it’s a popular spot to clandestinely dump a body or two. Or four.
According to Mexican authorities the culprits were the local Gulf cartel, a criminal organization with its roots in the American Prohibition. The cartel is known for its violence, its proliferation, and its fingers sunk deep into Mexican political corruption.
More than 112,000 Mexicans are listed as missing today, about 12,000 of them in the vicinity of the Gulf Cartel’s territory. Some of these missing cases are years or even decades old, and relatives report that many of them have never been investigated by local authorities.
“If these people had been Mexicans, they might still be disappeared,” said Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, an associate professor at George Mason University.
Delia Quiroa, whose brother was kidnapped 9 years ago and has never been found, said that the families of the missing “celebrate and give thanks to God that they found these four U.S. citizens,” but said “we wish the government would search for our disappeared with the same zeal and diligence.”
When it comes to missing Mexican citizens, the authorities lack the manpower and equipment to conduct large searches, let alone arrest those responsible. But when it’s four missing Americans, the story is rather different.