The head of Mexico’s National Search Commission (CNB), Karla Quintana, has resigned unexpectedly amidst concerns that the government’s review of missing persons data is an attempt to manipulate figures ahead of next year’s elections. Quintana, a human rights lawyer, did not provide a reason for her resignation, but stated that it was effective immediately due to the “current circumstances.” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador supported the government’s review, claiming that they are finding and locating many missing individuals. However, critics argue that the review is aimed at reducing the numbers rather than accurately addressing the issue.
During López Obrador’s presidency, total murders in Mexico have surpassed those of previous administrations, and one person has disappeared every hour, according to official data. The issue of missing persons is particularly sensitive as political parties prepare to select their candidates for the 2024 presidential election. Since 2006, over 111,000 people have gone missing in Mexico, mainly after the military was deployed to combat drug cartels. Critics argue that the government’s census of missing persons, which involves door-to-door interviews and cross-referencing databases, does not follow legal procedures and is likely an attempt to lower the numbers falsely.
Human rights organizations have expressed concerns about potential manipulation of the database of missing people to present an artificial decline in the figures before the elections. They emphasize that the tragedy of missing persons is about thousands of families left without truth and justice, rather than numbers or political calculations. The existing database has received criticism for its inaccuracies, including under-reporting and outdated information. It is feared that the government’s actions may exploit the issue of disappearances for electoral purposes. The unresolved cases of missing persons, often involving family members, organized crime groups, or authorities, contribute to the ongoing violence in Mexico.