Ofrendas
Camino del Wixárika
San Luis Potosí, 2018

Así, regresas del altiplano, despierto.

El desierto te recibe, una luz macerada en miel te ilumina. Vas a regresar, lo sabes. Los tuyos lo van caminar, como los niños en la cima, los tuyos un día van a regresar. Te da sentido, te ayuda a entender, lo que sabes que has aprendido, lo que te falta por aprender.

Así, escuchas el tambor. Das gracias por todos los que te han cuidado, por los que te han guiado. El señor del temazcal te dice que la medicina está en la tierra, que es un privilegio haber estado en este mundo. Miras el horizonte y el horizonte te trae la mañana. Esta tierra te recibe. Los guardianes retienen la esencia de lo pasado, saben la forma de lo todo futuro, esto te lo dice tu propio corazón. Sigues al cuidador de estas tierras, lo alcanzas en la milpa. Mira, te dice. El maíz brota sin agua, nace de tierra seca. Le dices, el señor del temazcal es un hombre sabio, es una pregunta pero no lo es al salir de tus labios.

En el círculo del temazcal, el copalito te levanta, el humo te cobija, tus lágrimas te refrescan. Es necesario renacer, te lo había dicho el guerrero, has caminado todo lo que has tenido que caminar, pero lo que buscas se encuentra adentro.

Al abuelo fuego, le pides por todos los que están y por todos los que no podrán estar. En la cima, caminas el camino del Wixárika, tocas la roca y lo que sientes es a tu mamá, aquí donde tú nunca has estado, aquí donde el altiplano rasa el horizonte. La brisa del elefante te acaricia, los Señores del Viento te susurran, la abuela árbol te llama. Ya has hecho el trabajo, pensaste que terminaría con tu cuerpo, pero así has aprendido.

Él es Dios, siempre lo has sabido, pero ahora, ahora lo entiendes.

Aho.

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Mother’s Day
Monumento a la Madre
Mexico City, 2017

In the morning, a song percolated through the crowd. It swifted in the air, the words lingered, “Aunque sea en una tumba, quiero verte,” (Even if it’s in a tomb, I want to see you). Gregoria Ortiz Garnica fought back tears and stared at the sun, a photo of her son, Gustavo, in her hands. The boy disappeared in 2007 at the age of 12, on his way home from school, in the city of Pachuca.

“We have dedicated ourselves to this task of finding him,” Ortiz said. “But ten years have passed and we haven’t been able to find out what happened.”

The boy is one of more than 27,000 people to have vanished in Mexico since 2006. On Mother’s Day, the families of the disappeared marched through the streets — down Paseo de la Reforma, to the Ángel de la Independencia monument — a river of photographs of the missing flowing through the heart of the city.

Gustavo Alberto de la Cruz, who has been gone for a decade now, would have turned 22 in 2017. His mother thinks of him every day. She wants him to know that she is looking for him, that she, too, will not stop until she finds him.

“When I think of him,” she said, “I think of him married, with children, and that one day he is going to return.”

Above, a woman stands underneath Monumento a la Madre (Monument to the Mother), a towering statue of a woman embracing her child, on Mother’s Day. The signon her skirt reads “Ni una más” (Not one more).

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Ana Claribel
Amatlan de los Reyes
Veracruz, 2015

Although no official figures exist, it is thought that at least 70,000 migrants and refugees have gone missing in Mexico since 2006. By the summer of 2015, more than 60 million people around the globe had been forced from their homes as a result of persecution, conflict, or violence.

In late 2015, Ana Claribel Mendoza (pictured), from El Salvador, toured parts of Mexico looking for her son, Marvin Alberto, who disappeared in 2013, on his way to the United States. She was one of roughly 40 Central American mothers who visited prisons, shelters, as well as other spots along the migrant route, looking for missing sons and daughters. 

“It is women who suffer the most,” Mendoza said. “When someone leaves, they leave a mother, a grandmother, or a wife, with the kids, and we’re the ones who have to struggle alone. I tell you that this pain turns into anger when we have to look for the ones that have gone missing.” 

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Aniversario
Mausoleo de Salvador Allende
Cementerio General
Santiago, 2013

With marches, plays, exhibits and performances, tens of thousands of Chileans marked the 40th anniversary of the coup that ended the presidency of Salvador Allende and ushered in the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. The day, Sept. 11, 1973, is commemorated every year, in Chile, as the original 9/11, a day of national infamy.

In 2013, the coup was remembered with renewed calls to bring to justice those responsible for Pinochet’s seventeen-year reign. According to government figures, Pinochet imprisoned, tortured, exiled, abducted, or killed nearly 40,000 people.

To this day, the challenge for hundreds of Chileans lies in finding the remains of more than 1,000 people, who were forcibly disappeared during the dictatorship.

Above, a man brings flowers to the Allende’s grave, one autumn morning, just days before the anniversary.

Photography
Federico Barahona
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