An official count shows at least 26,121 people were reported missing in Mexico during the term of President Felipe Calderon, reported the Associated Press in March.
"It is devastating. All those people missing and the government didn't care to do anything about it. Now that there is a new president, Nieto, he has been more open about it and it's great. Hopefully something is being done and they’re not just talking about it to cover their butts." said Carla Martinez, a junior majoring in elementary education, from Utah, who was born in Mexico. Mexico's President now is Enrique Pena Nieto.
Lia Limon, the Interior Department's sub secretary for Human Rights, said the list used data from local prosecutors across Mexico, and includes people reported missing for any reason during the previous administration. It doesn't include information collected after November 2012.
The list has been a subject of controversy in Mexico for weeks. After Limon said last week that some 27,000 were missing, a member of Calderon's administration disputed the figure, saying the only registry of disappeared people contains 5,319 names. Limon said the government would work to compare the official list with others assembled by government agencies and rights groups.
The government will also work to clarify who on the list may have been a victim of crime, and who may have gone missing for reasons like migration to the United States, a family dispute, or a natural disaster.
"We have to be clear that this database doesn't prejudge the reasons that people can't be found. Because many of the people on it could be missing for a variety of reasons that don't have to do with criminal acts," Limon said.
She said some sort of investigation had been opened in 20,915 of the cases, but she offered no details.