As we move into the spring of 2022, there are currently about 100,000 missing people in Mexico. The official number has risen from 40,000 since 2019 as more and more families come forward with reports and stories of missing loved ones. A collective of such families called the Milynali Network has formed in an attempt to locate missing persons. Sadly, most of those who are discovered are found dead, and many more remain missing to this day.
Many citizens of Mexico are frustrated with the way the government has handled this crisis. Though the Mexican government has asserted that their primary focus is breaking up cartels in an attempt to reduce violence associated with drug crimes, many people are abducted or killed for the purpose of drug trafficking. Most articles on the subject will assert that the cartels are triumphing over the Mexican government, and that the war on drugs is a losing battle in Mexico.
It’s not the whole story
Stories of cartel violence and human trafficking are strongly associated with Mexican culture. For Americans, those accounts align with racial stereotypes about the country and its citizens. It reinforces ideas that the citizens of Mexico are constantly threatened by crime and gruesome violence. However, the 100,000 people missing in Mexico are just a part of what goes on in the country. For comparison, more than 600,000 people go missing in the United States every year. Yet anyone who lives in the U.S. knows there’s more to our lifestyle than crime.
Mexico is a beautiful country with a vibrant culture and abundant natural resources that make it a strong economic entity. It is also a lovely place to visit, with temperate weather and gorgeous beaches all year long. Yes, there is violence in Mexico, and it is heartbreaking for those who are affected by it. But Mexico is not a monolith, and violence is no more a part of the culture there than it is anywhere else.
Finding the truth
Highlighting the positive aspects of Mexico is not meant to take away from the staggering amount of missing people and the trauma that has been caused at the hands of cartels. But the missing people in Mexico are not any more of a defining cultural feature than the missing people in the United States.
Are you interested in learning more about what Mexico truly has to offer? Consider picking up a book to discover the diverse, rich lifestyles of Mexican people. Busting myths about Mexico is important to ensure we’re not letting our biases get the best of us. Start breaking down your assumptions with a good book.