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Mothers, Activists Head To Vatican to Plead For Disappeared Loved Ones Before Pope PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alex Garcia   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 03:47

A. Garcia / SFVS

Paula Perez of Pacoima shows a photo of her son Amilcar who disappeared in
Mexico near the border with the United States three years ago.

Paula Perez’ son disappeared in Mexico, near the United States border, three years ago when the 16-year-old Guatemalan youth attempted to cross into the country to reunite with his family.

Maria Gonzalez hasn’t heard from her son since he and a passenger who rode with him disappeared on the Reynosa-Nuevo Laredo road in Tamaulipas, Mexico in 2011.

Mercedez Moreno doesn’t know what happened to her son since he was deported and tried to return to the United States from his native El Salvador in 1991.

Mothers and activists from Hermandad Mexicana Nacional in Panorama City, and COFEM (Coalición de Federaciones Mexicanas en Norteamérica) will take these cases, and hundreds of others of families that have been separated by the broken immigration system, when they head to the Vatican next week in an attempt to plead with Pope Francis to hear their plight, and make their situations known to President Obama when he and the Pontiff meet on March 27th.

“I live a hell since three years ago,” said Gonzalez, a Panorama City resident. The whereabouts of her son, Andres Ascención Gonzalez, are unknown since March of 2011.

“Now we ask the Pope to intercede for us and so many other families who are suffering because we don’t where our sons are,” she said.

Gonzalez’s son was traveling with a companion, and both are missing. She sought help from Mexican and U.S. authorities (her son is a U.S. citizen), but she’s never found anything about him.

“I don’t know if this is related to narco-trafficking,” Gonzalez, said in reference to the fact that narco gangs were ravaging through Tamaulipas, the state where her son disappeared.

“The Pope can help us with all this criminality in Mexico that is taking away our sons. We are asking him to help all suffering mothers,” echoed Pacoima resident Perez, whose son Amilcar was last seen in the town of Altar, Sonora, when he told her they would attempt to cross the border.

“I don’t know if he stayed in Mexico, if he died in the desert, or if he’s detained in some jail,” added Perez. On March 21, a delegation of activists and children will head to Rome and hope to meet with Pope Francis on March 26, a day before the Pontiff meets with President Obama. Gloria Saucedo, president of Hermandad Mexicana Transnacional, said they want to let Pope Francis know about the dire situations immigrants face on their way to the United States, and the suffering broken families both in the United States and abroad.

“We have prayed and we have pleaded, and now we have to demand that the (Catholic) Church firmly defends immigration reform. We want the Pope to have a strong message to President Obama so he can approve immigration reform,”

Saucedo said. Saucedo said they will take dozens of letters written by children, mothers and parents whose loved ones have been deported, as well as those who haven’t heard from family members who disappeared in Mexico on their way to the United States.

That’s what happened to Moreno’s son, Jose Leonidas Moreno, 46. He was heading back to the United States in 1991, after being deported three years earlier, when he disappeared. She’s been looking for him ever since.

“We need help. I have lived with this pain for 23 years and it’s not fair not knowing what happened to him,” she said.