02 May 2024, 17:30 - 18:30
Blavatnik School of Government and online
Open to the public
This event is free - please register below

Since the ‘war on drugs' was declared in 2007, disappearances related to drug cartel violence has been one of the most critical issues in Mexico. There are currently 114,000 individuals reported missing and the impact on their families is enormous. Lucía de los Angeles Díaz comes from one of these families. She has founded a mothers' collective - Solecito de Veracruz - to search for their loved ones. So far, they have been able to return the remains of over 300 disappeared to their families.

In collaboration with universities and a local government in Mexico, professionals from the Global Security Programme at the Blavatnik School of Government saw an opportunity to help these families through the FOUND project. This project uses technology to locate and analyse search areas using satellite imagery, drones, sensors and multispectral cameras.

Hosted by Ciaran Martin, Professor of Practice in the Management of Public Organisations, Blavatnik School of Government, join Lucía de los Ángeles Díaz, Miguel Moctezuma and Víctor Ávila as they discuss the work of the mothers’ collective Solicito de Veracruz, and the collaboration with the FOUND project.


Lucía (Lucy) de los Angeles Díaz’s son was kidnapped in 2013, and those responsible never returned him to his family. From that moment on, Lucy worked tirelessly in the search for her son and all the missing people in Veracruz, Mexico. She founded a mothers’ collective, Solecito de Vercruz, which now has a membership of more than 300. The collective’s search led them to a farm called Colinas de Santa Fe in Veracruz, where they found 156 graves with a total of 298 bodies so far. The collective intends to continue searching until they can give every last one of those so cruelly and inhumanely buried in clandestine graves their identities back, and send them home to their loved ones.

Víctor Hugo Ávila Barrientos is Commissioner, Jalisco Missing Persons Search Commission. Within the Secretary of Planning and Citizen Participation of the Government of the State of Jalisco, he contributed to the establishment of the State System for the Search of Missing Persons, serving as an advisor. He currently leads the Missing Persons Search Commission. Victor holds a degree in Political Studies and Government from the University of Guadalajara, and a Master in Politics and Public Management from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO).

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