Everyone enters but some never leave: the alarming "black hole" of Mexico's metro

Graciela came down the subway stairs with her daughter by the hand. It was in Chabacano station, right in the center of Mexico City. A group of six people cornered her. "For this one, they give us 20", remembers to hear them say. They tried to kidnap her. They did not make it. Graciela struggled, fought, managed to break free and ran with her daughter into a car. This 30-year-old Mexican woman may have been the 154th missing person in the Mexico City subway. She was lucky. Another 153 people did not have that fortune.

Mexico CIty metro
Mexico CIty metro

"I think of those people who could not escape and now we remember as another number at the tables of the Ministry of Public Security," Graciela said in an interview with the Madrid newspaper El País. Nobody is able to explain what happens in the subway of Mexico City. And not even the 3,417 video security cameras distributed by the 195 stations of the underground network help solve the serious problem.

Thousands of people pass through the Chabacano station every day since it is a central station and three subway lines cross. According to information from the Attorney General's Office, collected by the aforementioned Spanish media, 153 people were reported missing in the metro network in the last four years. Of them, about 65% of victims reappear, sometimes days or weeks later. But there is a part of those people (35%) who were never seen again. Only last year 43 new investigations were opened

The attempted kidnapping of Graciela and her daughter occurred last Sunday, January 13, when they returned home. The woman preferred not to file a complaint with the Public Ministry, alleging that on another occasion she had problems when she reported an assault. She says that the authorities asked her for all the personal information and the thief's family managed to obtain them. "I had a bad experience," Graciela recalls, after describing how the criminal's relatives showed up at the door of her house and asked her to withdraw the complaint.

"The worst thing is that they tell us that it is a place with a lot of people, that it could not happen there (in the subway))" Graciela shared what happened to her on social networks, and many treated her as a liar.

Graciela knows that what happened was not just a failed assault. "At no time did they try to take out my wallet or cell phone, they wanted to take me and my daughter," she said.

The judicial system and the authorities assure that the biggest problem they face is that most families do not realize the disappearance of people. "We ask the victims to denounce," they say.

And, in spite of having knowledge of several cases, without formalized denunciation, they can not advance with an investigation. Consequently, the Prosecutor's Office justifies, it is not possible to discover whether or not there is an organized crime group.

"Unfortunately, the cameras do not cover all the stations and we can not keep track of what happens," a spokesperson for the Prosecutor's Office told the newspaper.

Between 2007 and April 2018, according to government statistics, 37,435 people disappeared in the country. A number that, he admits, may be higher since only one part is reported. More than 65% of crimes committed in Mexico are never reported, as the population considers that the entire process and formalism are "a waste of time". More than 90% of crimes are never resolved.

Violence in the country is frequent, especially against women. On the other hand, in the subway of Mexico City, there are exclusive wagons for women, with the aim of reducing the number of cases of sexual harassment.

More than five and a half million people use the Mexican public transportation system daily. It is the second busiest in the world, and it is only surpassed by the crowded public service of New Delhi, in India.

The kidnappings, recalls the Mexican magazine "Nexos", went off between 2006 and 2012, during the presidency of Felipe Calderón, when the drug war began.

On average, every day 11 Mexicans disappear. Some never appear again.

The original text of this article was published by the Montevideo Portal at the following address: https://www.montevideo.com.uy/Noticias/Todos-entran-algunos-jamas-salen-el-alarmante-agujero-negro-del-metro-de-Mexico-uc708805