National Search Brigades

II National Search Brigade in Paso del Macho, Veracurz. Photo: Lucía Joselin Muñoz, taken from Brigada Nacional de Búsqueda website

The National Search Brigades are the result of an effort made by relatives of disappeared people in Mexico to find their beloved ones. The goal for organizing these brigades has been to locate clandestine mass graves in different states, and recover human remains in order to identify them. This project emerges as the result of families’ frustration and the lack of authorities’ response to attend their demands. Besides cooping with great pain and mourning, relatives of disappeared people have to deal with authorities’ reluctance for taking seriously their cases. They also suffer from revictimization, lack of legal, psychological and financial support from government’s institutions. For these reasons, families of disappeared started to take action and organized the network Enlaces Nacionales, in which around 40 organizations are taking part nowadays. If you wish to know more about them, why and what do they search, watch the videos by Pie de pagina (English subtitles):

The county of 2,000 mass graves. Alejandra Guillén, Mago Torres and David Eads. Taken from

On April and August 2016, Red de Enlaces Nacionales conducted the First and Second National Brigades in Veracruz, while the Third Brigade took place in February of 2017 in Sinaloa. You can be part of the 4th National Brigade next January 19, 2019 which will take place in Huitzuco, Guerrero.

How does a National Brigade works? Relatives of disappeared people from different states in Mexico gather to work with the community for locating clandestine mass graves, most of the times without authorities support, and under the surveillance and threat of the local organized crime. In some cases, perpetrators have helped them to find mass graves. It is worth noting that spread violence has broken the social fabric, and as Juan Carlos Trujillo states “we are searching for the humans,” meaning their relatives, but also the humanity of the remains, and the humanity of perpetrators. For these reasons it is admirable that relatives commute from different states to help find probably not their beloved ones, but someone who is a son, a daughter, a father, a husband, wife, a brother or sister.

Who may take part in the 4th National Search Brigade?  Students, professionals, journalists, religious communities, NGO’s, etc … Anyone who is willing to collaborate and getting involved in any way, either by supporting with donations, tools, food or first aid kit, making awareness of this severe crisis in your community, or by helping with your expertise in the search field.

What do we need? Tools: professional metal detectors for more than 2 meters, shovels, picks, leather gloves, safety glasses, compass, GPS, communication radios, whistles, dust masks. First-aid kit: aspirins, alcohol, bandages, saline solution, anti-diarrhea, hydrogen peroxid, cotton, mosquito repellent, SPF, sunburn moisturizer. Cleaning: detergent, brooms, buckets, mops. Toiletry: Soap, detergent, shampoo, toothpaste, toilet paper, razors, moisturizer.

How can you help?

Send by Western Union Mario Vergara Hernández or Mayra Vergara Hernández, Address: Justicia 13, Colonia Centro, CP 40130, Huitzuco, Guerrero, México

Deposit to Banco Azteca Mario Vergara Hernández, Debit card: 4027 6641 7077 3117

Bring goods to Enlaces Nacionales Collection Center Centro Pro DH, Serapio Rendón 57-B, Col. San Rafael, Mexico City.

Contact:  or

Cel ph: +5215516379445  Landline: 527271080244

For more information about organizations please contact:

 First National Search Brigade

It was conducted on April 2016 in Amatlán de los Reyes Veracruz by Red Enlaces Nacionales with participation of relatives of disappeared from different states in Mexico. These organizations attended the call for solidarity and assistance to the community in Veracruz without government’s financial support. I must highlight that some families attended this call even though they knew they probably were not going to find their relatives, but found a purpose by helping another family suffering their own pain. The first search resulted in the discover of 15 clandestine mass graves and more than 15,000 remains of disappeared people. These searches were made by the means of families of disappeared without the intervention or financial support of government’s authorities.

Second National Brigade

Conducted on August 2016 in Paso del Macho, Veracruz.

Interview with Juan Carlos Trujillo Herrera, November 2016

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