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More than 30 children orphaned in Guanajuato due to criminal violence

Apaseo el Alto, Guanajuato — As part of the collateral damage of violence that exists in the state of Guanajuato, at least 30 children have been orphaned due to the death of one or both of their parents.

Without a shelter or programs with resources, the municipal government of Apaseo el Alto faces this orphan situation. The municipality is also without the protocol for families affected by this level and type of violence.

The mayor of Apaseo el Alto, which is located in the border area with Querétaro, Miguel Ángel Sánchez Escutia, explained that these children are victims of violence and recognizes that there is no resource to help them.

The town is located along one of the Pemex pipelines that runs from Tula to Salamanca, an area known for clandestine fuel theft.

The mayor explained that the stigma of a huachicolero town, a town where people are known to sell stolen fuel, does affect the development of the municipality, but above all, the violence has generated social erosion with an increase in disintegrated families.

According to statistics from the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System, homocides in Apaseo el Alto increased 45 percent last year with a total of 61 executions or violent deaths, and that already this year, the town has recorded 20 violent deaths.

“Through DIF we are implementing strategies to give psychological attention and scholarship opportunities, to empower widowed women where we can. Honestly, the resources do not meet the needs,” he explained.

Sánchez Escutia said that “approximately 30 children have been orphaned for as long as a year here. It is a phenomenon that we must also address in children and adolescents due to the aspects of this wave of violence.”

With an annual operating budget of 122,000 peso, the municipal DIF serves different programs. Municipal director Susana Jiménez Puga recognizes that they do not have programs to attend to these minors since the scholarships and supports are granted according to the DIF Guanajuato plan.

The municipal DIF does not have a shelter for children who lost their parents or for being at street risk, explaining that when required, they are transferred to Celaya, León or San Miguel.

“Of the children who have been orphaned by a situation of violence, we do not have any of them in DIF. First is to look for a family network. It must be suitable in all senses, including in the economic sense.”

She admits that there is no program for these kids, but “If a case of an abandoned child were presented, the Assistant Attorney General immediately intervenes,” she said.