Tijuana Joins Protests Against Mexico's Drug War

By Jose Luis Jiménez
May 08, 2011

Photo by Jose Luis Jiménez
Angelica Gomez speaks during a protest against Mexico's drug violence in Tijuana on Sunday.

TIJUANA, Mexico -- Shortly after taking office in 2006, Mexico President Felipe Calderon started battling the country's powerful drug cartels with the army. Since then, an estimated 35,000 have been killed and the violence only seems to be getting worse.

Now it seems he may be losing what little public support he may have had for his campaign.

Tens of thousands of protesters across Mexico called for Calderon to end the drug war. In Tijuana, about 100 people joined the protest at a traffic circle on Tijuana’s Paseo de los Heroes.

Fernando Ocegueda Flores was among them. He wakes up every day thinking he will finally find Fernando, his eldest son.

An armed commando grabbed the college student from the family’s Tijuana home in 2007. He has not been heard from since. Not even a ransom call.

In four years, Flores says he has received no updates on the case. And he is clearly frustrated.

“We are tired. The authorities do nothing," Flores said. "I have for three years tried to push to solve this situation. And then I don’t receive an answer.”

The father was was also representing a group seeking justice for 300 loved ones who have disappeared. One woman says she seeks justice for her son, her daughter-in-law and seven other relatives who are missing.

Other protesters criticized the U.S. involvement in the drug war. Some called for the legalization of drugs as the solution to the violence.

Flores' solution is to ask President Calderon to start a task force of investigators focused on kidnappings. He also wants a DNA database to help solve these cases.

Until then, Flores refuses to speak about Fernando in the past tense.

“My target in my life in this moment is to try to find my son," the father said. Then, I close the book.”