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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Activists demand justice, challenge rise in Jaurez’s femicides

Ni una muerta más. Ni una más. Not one more death. Not one more.

This chant can be heard throughout Mexico, protesting the increasing femicide — the murder of women. It was coined by poet and activist, Susana Chavez, a prominent member of Justice for Our Daughters, a group that challenges the murders and the lack of action from the Mexican authorities.

According to the Washington Post, the body of Chavez, 36, was found in the streets of Juarez, Mexico.

The suspects, three teenage boys, confessed they had been drinking and doing drugs when they murdered Chavez after an argument, reports The Washington Post. They suffocated her and cut off her hand to make it look like an execution relating to her protests. Authorities proclaimed Chavez’s murder unrelated to her protests.

For years, Chavez worked to make the city of Juarez safer for women. According to BBC News, she protested not only the numerous murders of women, but the alleged lack of effort authorities put into solving the cases. Since 1993, more than 300 women have been murdered in Juarez.

According to the New America Media, Chavez’s death came just a month after the murder of Marisela Escobedo. Escobedo was protesting her daughter, Rubi Escobedo’s murder and the trial of the suspect, Sergio Barraza, who walked free. Rubi was found burned and dismembered in a trash bin in 2009 in Chihuahua, Mexico, a city just four hours from Juarez. Barraza is the suspect in Marisela’s murder as well, according to New American Media.

In a report from Free Speech Radio, it was noted that femicide was on the rise in Juarez in the 1990’s, however it eventually spread throughout Mexico, most notably to Chihuahua City.

The trial declaring Barraza — who was also Rubi’s ex-boyfriend — not-guilty, illustrates the weakness in the legal systems in Juarez and the cities nearby. The Associated Press reports that in 2009, of the 2600 people murdered in Juarez, just 93 cases were filed and only 19 convictions were made.

“The lack of justice is what is causing the continued murders of women — and of men,” said Norma Ledezma, an activist with the group Justice for Our Daughters, to Free Speech Radio. “History is showing us that in Chihuahua, we continue to have a large number of unsolved murders of women every year.”

The judges on Rubi’s case have found themselves suspended with possible impeachment for allegedly ignoring evidence that could have convicted Barraza, The Canadian Press detailed. The judges defended themselves by stating that the information investigators had on Barraza was obtained illegally and therefore could not be used as evidence during the trial.

“The penal justice system in Chihuahua has collapsed, and now we can’t even demand justice for our dead because we can be killed for doing that,” said Gustavo de la Rosa, an official with the state of Chihuahua’s Human Rights Office, in an interview with New American Media.

“The same killers that were loose 10 years ago could possibly be those who keep killing today,” said Ledezma. “Why? Because there’s no justice. And who’s responsible? Those who are supposed to ensure that justice is served —and haven’t. In other words, the authorities.”

According to Free Speech Radio, Chihuahua reported 446 cases — a record — of murdered women in 2010. Many women are raped and beaten before facing death. These murders have put a considerable barrier on women’s lives.

“It keeps me from going out at night like I used to,” said Ledezma. “It keeps me from speaking openly with the local media like I used to. It limits me by making me sick with stress.”

Despite Chavez’s death and the dangers surrounding their lives, women continue to protest and chant her slogan.

Ni una muerta más. Ni una más. Not one more death. Not one more.

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