24 SEPTEMBER 2012 – MARIANA OTERO-BRIZ
Relatives have found five versions, wrote to the President and visited SSP (Secretariat of Public Security)
Mexico • On 18 July, Diego Antonio Maldonado, Ana Belen Sanchez and Luis Enrique Castañeda went to Paracho, Michoacán, to offer a course of science and technology for children. They had to return to Mexico City on Sunday 22, but all of them were kidnapped few hours earlier.
Two months after the disappearance their parents have five versions of what happened. Municipal, state and federal authorities give contradictory explanations and inclined to shelve the issue, without an indication of what happened, nor the whereabouts of the activists and their captors.
Diego and Ana Belen recently graduated as psychologists, while Luis Enrique has a degree in communication sciences. The three went to Paracho through the mediation of the KidScience company, contracted by the State Council of Science, Technology and Innovation of Michoacan to offer a course for children along the Cantoya Balloon Festival. None of these organisations wanted to participate in the search or actions to locate the young people.
Two days after youth were kidnapped, parents confirmed the disappearance, because despite calls to the municipality and the Hotel Santa Fe, where they were staying, nobody gave them information.
The hotel administration was closed during that time and did not report to the authorities, so there is many versions what happen at the morning of July 22. The only certainty is that young people were abducted from the hotel by a group of armed people.
From that moment the parents of the three young people have gone to municipal, state, and federal authorities, and all that they have found is a bureaucracy, laziness and five different versions (each authority department has its own) of what happened with their children.
Alicia Guadalupe Nava, Luis Enrique’s mother, said they have sent letters to President Felipe Calderon, statements and requests to the state attorney general, the PGR, the National Human Rights Commission, Provictima, Interior Ministry and even have had two interviews with Genaro Garcia Luna, Secretary of Public Safety, and Luis Cardenas Palomino, Undersecretary of this dependence. All of it hadn’t given any result.
Parents say that Michoacán authorities are responsible for locating young people but have not been able to organise the research on place. They said “even don’t dare to look, it is very difficult in this area.”
Versions of what happened are very different. The mayor of Paracho, Zalapa Nicholas, overpassed the kidnapping because the place “is very quiet.” Another one: young people were caught in their rooms. Another, Ana Belén was molested by men whom Luis Enrique and Diego Antonio beat, disarmed and drove away, but then men returned with a vengeance. For parents it’s just speculations.
So far authorities have not classified the crime. It hasn’t been considered as a kidnapping because no ransom has been requested, nor as a case of organized crime since it would have to prove that there were several individuals who took them.
► The most widespread version of what happened on July 22 that young people were staying in the hotel when somedy abducted them. So far no ransom has been requested.
► Family of Diego Antonio Maldonado, Ana Belen Sanchez and Luis Enrique Castañeda have submitted complaints to PGR, Attorney of Michoacán, CNDH and Interior Ministry.
► The three were hired by the KidScience company, which provided a service to the State Science Council of Michoacán. None of these entities wanted to participate in the search.