"Neither Dead nor Alive" describes, along with other stories, what is surely the most serious case of mass disappearance in that country, which occurred four years ago in the state of Coahuila, very near the U.S. Texas border.
Since 2006 when Mexico's president Felipe Calderón declared war on drug trafficking, over 23,000 people have disappeared in that country. The shocking events of September 2014¿when 43 students from the Rural Teachers' College of Ayotzinapa, in the state of Guerrero went missing¿stunned the world. Unfortunately, however, that sort of scenario has become all too common in recent Mexican history.
"Neither Dead nor Alive" describes, along with other stories, what is surely the most serious case of mass disappearance in that country, which occurred four years ago in the state of Coahuila, very near the U.S. Texas border. On the 18th of March, 2011, more than 200 armed members of the Zetas cartel entered the village of Allende in the light of day, to take their revenge on two of its members from the village, who had betrayed the drug lords. They swept up family members, acquaintances and co-workers of the traitors and destroyed some 50 homes in this village with no intervention on the part of local authorities. It is estimated that over the course of those days around 300 people disappeared but no one knows the exact number because the events never reached the public eye and investigations into what took place have only been underway for a little over a year. The fear suffered by the victims' families and the authorities' collusion with the drug traffickers has led to a blanket of silence. Family members¿speaking out publicly for the first time in front of a television camera¿are interviewed in the report, revealing a hellish series of events which, according to various witnesses, ended at a ranch outside the village where some human's bodies were burned.
The report also introduces viewers to Letty Hidalgo's battle to find her son Roy, a university student who disappeared four years ago when armed men, dressed as policemen, entered his home and took him away. Since that day Letty, a teacher in Monterrey, has left no stone unturned in her efforts to find out if her son is alive or dead.
Among the groups most affected by kidnappings and disappearances in Mexico are Central American migrants who sneak into the country with the goal of reaching the United States. Along their way they become victims of extortion, kidnappings and murders by both organized crime groups and the police. Precisely because they are attempting to stay under the radar, there are no official statistics reflecting the thousands of murdered and missing people over the past years. The "30 Minuts" team spoke with some of those migrants who describe the challenges of their daily existence and ever-present fears of falling into the hands of organized crime.