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General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 24 Mar 2017/11 Jaguar
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Mexicolore contributor Patricia Leidl

IN THE NEWS: femicide in Mexico (2)

This is the concluding part of Patricia Leidl’s thought-provoking article on the possible historical roots of femicide in Mexico today. Though written and researched 2-3 years ago, it remains sadly topical...

Pic 1: A maquiladora factory in Mexico
Pic 1: A maquiladora factory in Mexico (Click on image to enlarge)

According to Rodriguez-Gonzalez and many other observers, the unique confluence of social, political and economic changes that took place in Juárez during the early 1990s contributed to what was to become a “killing field of women” - one that would eventually extend throughout Central America and into Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
In Juárez the large-scale drive to employ young women meant many became the primary breadwinners. Suddenly they had money to spend - on their families, on their children, to see a doctor - and more importantly, to enjoy an economic agency hitherto denied to them. Maquiladoras hired young women by the thousands thereby - as Rodriguez states in the Femicide Machine - “unleashing male hatred.”

Pic 2: Mother of one of the missing women of Juarez at her home in a colonia just outside the Centro Historico of Ciudad Juarez. Her daughter is only one among more than a thousand young women who have gone missing since he late 1990s
Pic 2: Mother of one of the missing women of Juarez at her home in a colonia just outside the Centro Historico of Ciudad Juarez. Her daughter is only one among more than a thousand young women who have gone missing since he late 1990s  (Click on image to enlarge)

He also notes that Juárez was also one of the “very first experiments in globalization” where workers were reduced to mere cogs and females in particular, as disposable objects that could simply be tossed aside. The fact that males resented women exercising the must rudimentary form of independence speaks volumes about the degree to which contempt, fear and hatred of women has infected 21st century Mexico.

Metastatic Femicide and Its Security Implications
As stated earlier however, the femicides are no longer confined to Juárez. Since the 1990s the scourge has spread not only throughout Mexico, but throughout Central America. Commentators blame the rise of the narco state, increasing militarization and impunity. When one travels to the crowded neighborhoods that lap up against Mexico City, for example, it is hard to avoid the hundreds of posters of missing women attached to poles, cement block walls, store fronts and painted on the sides of houses. Few families have been untouched by the wave of violence engulfing the country’s women.

Pic 3: Parents of Juarez’s missing women march 360 km to the state capital to protest official neglect
Pic 3: Parents of Juarez’s missing women march 360 km to the state capital to protest official neglect (Click on image to enlarge)

“The justice system is simply not working for women and girls,” says Margarita Guille, Executive Co-ordinator of Inter-American Network of Women’s Shelters. “From 2006 to now we’ve seen increases in triple digits of women throughout central America being killed owing to the introduction of weapons, and the militarization of our streets and roads.”
Dr. Rosa Maria Salazar Rivera, (then) Director of Red Nacional De Refugios, says femicide is of concern because the numbers of murdered women killed with extreme brutality in Central America and Mexico has more than doubled since 2003 - a fact the Global Burden of Armed Violence 2011 report confirms.

Pic 4: Aztec citizens worshipping Huitzilopochtli; Florentine Codex Book 3
Pic 4: Aztec citizens worshipping Huitzilopochtli; Florentine Codex Book 3 (Click on image to enlarge)

Integral to the increasing numbers of disappeared and murdered women is the drugs, arms and human trafficking trades -all of which tend to be dominated by the same large transnational crime networks. For example, Mexican authorities suggest “a possible link between the Ciudad Juarez murders and international money-laundering, prostitution, pornographic and pedophile rings that use modeling agencies, internet cafes, and computer education schools as covers.”
It is no coincidence, then, that the annihilation of the feminine is part and parcel of both narco-culture and militarism in Mexico, the country heir to the Aztec State and its misogynist worldview. Both narco-culture and militarism promulgate the notion that ‘might makes right’ and those who are physically weaker, impoverished or otherwise vulnerable are objects to be plundered at will and with full impunity.

Pic 5: Night time in northern Mexico
Pic 5: Night time in northern Mexico (Click on image to enlarge)

***
Farewell to Juárez
A chill breeze rustles the desiccated limbs of the sagebrush and whispers among the dry grass. But the dead yield no secrets. Somewhere, somebody knows what happened here.
In the distance, a cock crows. Night has come to Mexico - but nobody knows how long it will last.

NOTE: Footnotes including references to sources, included in Patricia’s original article, have been omitted from this version. Please contact us if you require these.

Picture sources:-
• Pic 1: Photo from Wikipedia (Maquiladora)
• Pix 2 & 3: Photos courtesy of Patricia Leidl
• Pic 4: Image from the Florentine Codex (original in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence) scanned from our own copy of the Club Internacional del Libro 3-volume facsimile edition, Madrid, 1994
• Pic 5: Photo courtesy of and © Chris Martin (Christopher Martin Photography - follow link below).

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on Mar 03rd 2016

Read The Guardian feature on femicides in Mexco, 25 Nov 2015

Read The Guardian feature on the conflict in Guatemala, where ‘women were seen as a military objective’...

Christopher Martin Photography

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