After Sixteen Years, Clementina Murcia Finds Her Son

Story: Israel Hernandez
Translation: Maya Averbuch

Después de más de 16 años de búsqueda, Clementina Murcia ha podido abrazarse con su hijo Mauro Orlando Funes Murcia y conocer a María Guadalupe Sánchez Parada, su nieta de 15 años. Foto: Consuelo Pagaza

Después de más de 16 años de búsqueda, Clementina Murcia ha podido abrazarse con su hijo Mauro Orlando Funes Murcia y conocer a María Guadalupe Sánchez Parada, su nieta de 15 años. Foto: Consuelo Pagaza

Guadalajara, Jalisco – Clementina Murcia Hernandez finished half her mission during the Caravan of Central American Mothers. On December 10, after sixteen years of searching for her son, Mauro Orlando Funes Murcia, she finally held him in her arms. She also had the chance to meet María Guadalupe Sánchez Parada, her 15-year-old granddaughter.

Clementina has been fighting for justice in the case of her missing sons, who emigrated from Honduras, for over a decade. She was the second mother to be reunited during this annual search of Central American mothers throughout Mexico. But the other half of her case remains open-ended, because she’s still hoping to find her other son, Jorge Orlando Funes Murcia.

Coming from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Clementina has not had an easy time in Mexico. She walked dozens of kilometers, yelling the names of her sons in more than thirty plazas over the course of five years, until she received news of her son.

“I became so emotional that I forgot about my diabetes. I’m never going to stop hugging him,” said Murcia Hernández before boarding the bus to the prison complex at Puente Grande. Two hours later, she would be in front of her Mauro Orlando.

A Double Migration

Though at first she seems easy-going, Clementina Murcia was filled with anxiety, and for a good reason. Sixteen hears have passed since she last heard news younger son.  At the end of 2001, the 22-year-old headed to the Unites States, embarking on the same journey as his brother, Jorge Orlando, in 1987. His brother’s location remains unknown.

At the time, Mauro Orlando passed through Tuxtla Gutiérrez, where he met Claudia Ivette Parada Rincón Guadalupe. In the next couple of years, they would have a daughter, María Guadalupse, leading Mauro to root himself in Mexico and seek work in Chiapas. His training as a mechanic specialized in diesel vehicles allowed him to travel frequently to Guadalajara, to where he was finally transferred.

He wanted to contact his family in Honduras, but he could not figure out how. His wife, Claudie Ivettera, suggested contacting the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement to tell them that one of the faces in the mothers’ photographs was her husband’s.

“One day, I saw a news report in which there was a woman carrying a photograph of my husband. I asked him if it was actually him and if all this had to do with his mother. At first, he didn’t want to tell me if it was true, but later he explained everything,” said Parada Rincón.

The Reunion

After accompanying all the mothers to the pre-sentencing prison at Puente Grande, Clementina entered the shelter FM4 in Jalisco and headed toward the dormitories. In a few minutes, her life would be transformed, and she knew it.

At 7 p.m., the main gathering space in the shelter was already filled with the caravan’s mothers and migrants who had sought shelter there while in transit through Mexico. The directors of the space had placed a hundred chairs in a circle, and left a space in the middle.

Mauro Orlando Funes was in the entrance waiting far a sign. In his arms, he carried an enormous bouquet of flowers, and he started to cry even before being the reunion started. At the same moment, at the bottom floor of the shelter, Clementina waited in a bedroom. Marta Sánchez Soler, the coordinator of the Mesoamerican Migrant Movement, accompanied Mauro Orlando down the passageway and to the established meeting point at the center of the room. She decided the moment had arrived.

“Where’s Murcia? Where’d she go?” asked Sánchez Soler. Clementina started to come down the stairs, and the attendees burst into applause that swelled until they heard Funes Murcia weeping.

Standing before everyone, the wound that Clementina had had in her heart for the past sixteed years closed. She remained on foot, hugging her son, for more than five minutes. “I forgive you for everything, Mauro. I’ve missed you. I hope my sister finds their children just like I have,” said Murcia Hernández.

“Faith is what keeps the search going. Mothers always dream of reaching this moment, and today it happened to me. I am going to enjoy the few days I have with him like I never have before. We have so much to talk about, “ she said. Her stay in Guadalajara will be brief, because on December 17 she will travel to Tenosique, Tabasco, to return home with the caravan.

Back in Honduras, she will rest briefly, and then return to the search. If she found Mauro Orlando, she is convinced that, sooner or later, she will also find Jorge Orlando.  

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