Mexican authorities in the feminicide spiral

A fledgling president, a helpless government, an absent police force: the Mexican authorities are entangled in a spiral of feminicides which kill ten women a day.

Pressure on President Andres Manuel Lopez after the particularly heinous assassination of a seven-year-old girl tortured by her torturers, whose alleged perpetrators were arrested, and a 25-year-old young woman killed and butchered by her husband Obrador (AMLO) continues to climb.

Social media has ignited these days to demand justice, to end the impunity often enjoyed by criminals, and to get the police to do a more efficient job.

Associations that campaign against feminicides have mobilized, however, only throwing a few dozen demonstrators in the street.

Day after day, during its morning press conference, AMLO was questioned by journalists and activists horrified by the latest crimes.

And each time, AMLO cracked a vague answer, without announcing strong measures intended to put an end to a situation that turns into a tragedy.

“We do whatever it takes”

“We are doing everything we can to deal with the problem of feminicides,” he said on Wednesday to journalists who did not try to find out more.

He also said he was looking for “a fairer, more egalitarian and fraternal society”, and wanted to “purify public life” by accusing of this crisis the “neoliberal model” left by his predecessors.

In reality, says Maria Salguero, a statistician who has produced a map counting feminicides in the country for several years, the authorities “understand nothing about the problem of feminicides.” It’s very specific violence that needs urgent action. ”

“The result: (AMLO) also doesn’t understand the importance of tackling the problem quickly,” she adds.

This week, dozens of women protested outside the presidential palace to demand an end to the femicide and violence against women.

“We demand effective public policies to prevent and combat violence against women and girls,” said the feminist collective Dignas Daughters.

In Mexico, ten women, girls and girls are murdered every day, according to data from the INEGI statistics institute.

In 2019, the government counted 1,006 femicide victims, 912 in 2018, and 765 in 2017.

A structural machismo

In order to get out of this spiral, Salguero suggests that AMLO listen to the women in his cabinet: Olga Sánchez Cordero, secretary of the government (interior); Nadine Gasman, director of the National Institute for Women and Candelaria Ochoa, National Commissioner for the Prevention of Violence against Women.

“Gender-based violence has its roots in a deep-rooted structural machism from childhood, school, church, the social environment,” she said.

So, pushed to the limit last week by a journalist-activist Frida Guerrera, AMLO suddenly drew up a ten-point plan calling for “respecting women”.

But its content, published soon after by the government, was immediately villipated and compared to a list of wishful thinking and ineffective.

“This is not what we expected,” Frida Guerrero, well known in Mexico for the visibility she has managed to give to femicides, told AFP.

“There has been no concrete action and what we want is to see results beyond words,” said Erika, 28, an activist with an NGO.

In the heat of criticism, the president has floated an old idea considered necessary by experts: the creation of specialized prosecutors for feminicides, saying that he was “not opposed”.

Visibly moved by the latest murders, Mexican deputies this week approved the principle of a sentence of 65 years in prison, against 60 today, for the perpetrators of feminicides. The measure has yet to be approved by the Senate.

But specialists and activists want to go further.

For Frida Guerrera, there is a glaring lack of knowledge about sexism in the justice system. Salguero campaigned for more resources allocated to women’s organizations and a better policy for preventing violence against women.

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