Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Feminicides bloodied Mexico with no solution in sight

ECATEPEC, Mexico ( Associated Press) — One November afternoon, Monica Citlalli Díaz walked from her home in a crowded city on the outskirts of the Mexican capital to the school where she teaches English. He didn’t turn up for work.

His absence immediately alerted his family and associates, who pasted the walls of the town of Ecatepec with flyers bearing his picture.

After four days of no trace of 30-year-old Díaz, his relatives blocked the road in front of the school to demand action from the authorities. His body was found two days later in the bushes by the side of the road.

Women in Mexico are dying at an appalling rate: From January to November there were 131 femicides and 241 homicides in the state of Mexico alone – which surrounds the capital – and last year there were more than 1,000 homicide frauds across the country – a Latin America is second only to Brazil.

Experts and human rights advocates argue that gender-based violence can be attributed to a system riddled with deep-rooted cultural masculinity and systemic inequality, as well as problems: police that won’t report missing women, investigate disturbances, and prosecutors and judges who stigmatize women.

There are many matters which receive the least attention. But protests from Díaz’s family put pressure on the authorities and made headlines.

Three days after her disappearance, the president of the nation’s Supreme Court, Arturo Zaldivar, called for a national protocol to deal with feminism and said that all murders of women should be investigated in the same way. The next day, at his daily press conference, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said he agreed with the resolution.

Some states have attempted to address the problem by creating prosecutors for sex crimes. For its part, the federal government has declared more than two dozen alerts for gender-based violence since 2015 at the request of civil society groups. These alerts oblige local, state and federal officials to take coordinated emergency measures and guarantee safety, prevention and access to justice. But the officials themselves have admitted that the benefits of alerts and other measures have been limited.

Maisel Olvera, Díaz’s older sister, said, “I saw femicide cases on television and it always said ‘poor women, poor families, poor children’.” “The horrible way he violated her body, the brutal way he hurt her, the way he abandoned her.”

When pictures of the last victim began circulating, his phone vibrated. The face was not visible, but Olvera recognized his sister’s pants, her shoes, and her hands. “They tossed it to me like a garbage bag.”

Following the murders of hundreds of women and girls in the northern state of Chihuahua, which borders the United States, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the lower house of the Mexican Congress established a special committee to study feminism. Commission, which in 2006 issued a The report which concluded that it was nearly impossible to obtain accurate data as some states did not even provide gender breakup of victims.

As a result of the commission’s work, the General Law on Women’s Access to a Life Free from Violence was approved in 2007, which created the Gender Violence Alert. In 2010, legislators added femicide – defined as the violent death of a woman for sexual reasons – to the federal penal code, and the following year the state of Mexico established its own prosecutor’s office for sexual crimes.

Despite the efforts, the number of murders of women in the country more than doubled last year compared to 2015, according to federal data.

Zero Impunity, a non-governmental organization that studies the high rate of impunity in Mexico’s justice system, reported this month that the national femicide rate in 2021 was 1.55 per 100,000 women, up 125% from six years earlier. is more. Some officials attribute this to greater awareness of the issue and a desire to classify more cases, but Zero Impunity also found that only 27% of violent deaths of women in 2021 were classified as feminism. Was.

Gender-based violence “remains a reality and there is no clear indication that the incidence is diminishing,” says a recent report by the Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean For this depends on the Economic Commission. (ECLAC).

María de la Luz Estrada, coordinator of the National Citizen Femicide Observatory of Mexico, attributed responsibility to errors in the investigation, which ranged from inadequate protection of crime scenes to corruption between local and state police, which in some cases led to the arrest of perpetrators. collusion with. “The problem is the total breakdown of a collapsed justice system,” Estrada said.

Dilcia Garcia, who directs the prosecutor’s office to focus on crimes related to gender violence in the state of Mexico, affirms that the problem is part of the social structure. “Violence against women is too complex to address and too complex to eradicate… Socio-cultural patterns, which are learned behaviours, are causing and, on many occasions, even perpetrating violence against women. also demand.”

The day after Díaz’s family closed the road in Ecatepec, Garcia sat down with them. He told them that he was committed to finding her but raised the possibility that she was not alive. It was herself who later called Olvera to tell him that her sister’s body had been found.

The case of Diana Velazquez has become a symbol of laxity in the investigation of feminism in Mexico.

Velazquez, a 24-year-old candy salesman, was murdered in 2017 in Chimalhuacan, east of Mexico City. She had stepped out of her house one morning to make a phone call, and her body was later found dumped in front of a slaughterhouse. Of chickens She was beaten, raped and strangled.

Among other errors in the investigation of her death, Velazquez was initially identified as a man by the authorities, which took several days for her family to locate her in the morgue and when they finally did, they found her dead. It turns out that the body was in a courtyard, so that the degree of decomposition is advanced.

In addition, during the investigation, her clothing was lost, which may have been essential in the collection of genetic material to identify her killer.

After three years without progress in the process, Diana’s mother, Lydia Florencio Guerrero, staged a sit-in in front of the presidential palace in July 2020 to demand justice. A few days after that protest, the prosecutor’s office announced that a motorcycle taxi driver had been arrested for the murder, which, according to officials, helped in the process after tracking calls from the young woman’s mobile phone and testimony from the detainee’s companion. who had Velazquez’s telephone number and, while denouncing him for domestic violence, assured him that he had confessed to the crime.

Bandi was sentenced to 93 years in prison for femicide in January and managed to reduce his sentence by almost 30 years after appealing, a decision that is subject to review following an appeal filed by the woman’s family.

Because the investigation was so flawed, and a second suspect was never arrested, Florencio Guerrero remains suspicious. “This whole justice system is still far from bringing us the truth,” the mother complained, adding that prosecutors, police officers and experts “are still doing a bad job and the relevant authorities don’t approve them.”

Díaz’s family hopes for a different outcome and the process doesn’t take long.

The young woman had a job she loved and was devoted to her 11-year-old daughter, Keela. The teacher already had her struggles: She became a mother at 19 and left the girl’s father after incidents of domestic violence. According to her sister, on one occasion her mother pelted her son-in-law with a stone to stop him from attacking her daughter. After separating from Keela’s father, Díaz returned to live with her parents in a simple household.

This year she met Jesús Alexis Álvarez Ortiz, a 27-year-old athlete who worked in a gym at a hotel in Mexico City. Olvera admitted that he was possessive, saying that when they started dating him his sister had lost so much weight that her eyes were yellow. Sometimes he did not reach home till midnight or the next morning.

Still, Diaz never quit. He would leave every morning at 6 and return home in the afternoon to have lunch with Keila and rest before returning for another session of classes in the evening.

On the afternoon of November 3, when she went missing, her father received a strange message on his phone. “Hey, a friend will let me stay at her house in Hidalgo for a few months,” she said. He didn’t mention his job or Keela.

His family started calling him, but could not reach him. That night the lover shows up at her house asking about her. Alvarez Ortiz seemed nervous, stammered and began saying that the teacher used drugs, that she was depressed and that a stranger had called her at night threateningly, Olvera recalled.

The youth had gone to lodge a missing report with the family but after two days he stopped picking up calls and his mother lodged a missing complaint.

According to authorities, after leaving his home that afternoon, Díaz took a taxi to a shopping center and then took another taxi to Alvarez Ortiz’s home. Video from road safety cameras showed the teacher entering the house, which she never left. Hours later a van came and left. Authorities believe he was carrying Diaz’s body.

A search of the home found Díaz’s bloodstained clothing. Three days after the body was discovered, police arrested Alvarez Ortiz.

Postmortem has revealed that the girl died due to severe head injury.

Alvarez Ortiz is jailed for the enforced disappearance. Díaz’s family hopes that at an upcoming hearing, which is set for March, prosecutors will add a charge of femicide after prosecutors have completed gathering all the evidence against her and completing protocol for charging her.

The Associated Press tried to contact Alvarez Ortiz’s attorneys to obtain a response but was not immediately available.

Olvera said, “If the authorities don’t give me a favorable response, I’m going to block the street in the street.” “I’m going to stay until they listen to me and justice is done.”


Associated Press Photographer Eduardo Verdugo contributed to this story.

Nation World News Desk
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