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Monday, October 17, 2022 

More news about the battle against femicide in Mexico/Central America

Here's some more news about Mexican families using social media and other similar technology to track graves of victims of violent crime, including femicide:
Mexico has long struggled with a history of kidnapping. As of October 5, there were 105,984 people officially listed as disappeared in Mexico. More than a third have vanished in the past few years, during the current government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, commonly known as AMLO. Many of those missing are thought to have been kidnapped or forcibly recruited by criminal organizations. Most are likely dead, their remains buried in clandestine graves in rural areas, neighborhoods, and farmlands or scattered in the vast unoccupied terrain near the US-Mexico border. Some may be among the more than 52,000 unidentified bodies lying in morgues, common graves, and universities. Around a quarter are women and girls, most likely victims of sexual exploitation, human trafficking, or femicide.

In a departure from previous administrations, AMLO’s government has publicly recognized the scale of the crisis and strengthened search and identification efforts. In March 2019, it inaugurated the National Search System, a mechanism that seeks to coordinate efforts among government agencies in the search for the disappeared. When the system launched, Karla Quintana, the head of the National Search Commission, recognized the work families have been doing on the ground, “virtually alone for years.” She promised: “Never again alone.”
The problem with AMLO, however, is that he's been lenient on cartel mafias, which could be responsible for some of the murders, rapes and other violence that have tragically plagued Mexico over the years. If these cartels aren't dealt with convincingly, the horrors are guaranteed to continue.
But authorities are still hesitant to get involved in the search for the missing. And so the task continues to fall on families. Much of the work they do now happens over social media, where people widely distribute photographs of missing relatives, coordinate search efforts, and raise awareness of the problem. Through WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook, Madres Buscadoras has created a platform to engage citizens and work to accelerate the search for the disappeared. Every day, the group receives information about missing people and the location of possible graves—so many that they do not have the resources to investigate them all.

The work is not without challenges. When Madres Buscadoras began searching for bodies in Chulavista, they were closely watched—and photographed—by local authorities. After the collective met with the governor of Jalisco, local police joined the search the following day. Ultimately, Madres Buscadoras uncovered 221 jumbo trash bags of body parts. By April, the prosecutor’s office said the official tally was up to 44 bodies, with bags still to process.

Families who conduct their own investigations can face opposition and threats both from organized crime and from government officials, who may collude with organized crime groups and may not like the optics of a hunt for missing people in their region. Under the country’s landmark General Law of Forced Disappearance, which was approved in 2017 after pressure from families, authorities must take immediate steps to search for a missing person and investigate the crime, yet this is still not the reality for thousands of families. “Although things have changed a little, it has always been the same situation on the part of the authorities. They shake things off, saying ‘It’s not up to us, it’s up to others,’” says Martín Villalobos, a member of the National Citizen Council, a consultative body of the National Search System.

But other parts of Mexican society are now responding to the plight of the families. “Social networks work very well here. People have been supporting us a lot even though they don’t have disappeared relatives,” says Araceli Hernández, who used to be a member of the main Madres Buscadoras group but recently formed a new collective. “The simple fact of listening to the pain of a mother, an aunt, makes them support us with tools, groceries, water, Gatorades, and tons of information. That makes us hold on tighter.”
I hope these projects avail, but most important of all: how do we prevent women from being murdered and raped? How can any of the violent criminals who've committed these heinous acts be stopped? It's the same question that can be asked when dealing with Islam.

While researching the subject, I also found this article from Mexico City, about a campaign to approve a Law of Memory, dedicated to victims of femicide, and while there are some important issues raised, I was bewildered by the following statement involving Christopher Columbus:
The mayor’s office has said that the Law of Memory will “rethink … and reconstruct identity in the places where grave violations of human rights have been committed by the state.” The press released mentioned Tlaxcoaque Plaza, just a few blocks south of the main square, where police ran a detention and torture center in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s, as well as the Plaza of of the Three Cultures in the neighborhood of Tlatelolco, where army soldiers killed over 300 student protesters just days before the 1968 Olympic Games.

No such crimes of state have occurred in modern history at the roundabout where the activists established their anti-monument, but Yadira González said that the presence of Columbus’ statue there for nearly a century and a half represented enough state violence to warrant it as a site of memory.

“Here was the figure of a man, Columbus, who was a murderer, rapist of women, who robbed the Mexican people and colonized them,” she said, adding that the word “colonized” is often used to justify such violence.
Good grief, why is Columbus being scapegoated, rather than Cortez, the Spanish Inquisition commander who was far more responsible for said violence? Sadly, if the above really is what the woman said, it represents an sad example of PC that's been taking hold in the past decade, where Columbus Day is being shunned, as though the famous sailor who arrived at the Carribean islands, pretty far from Mexico for that matter, was the root cause of all misfortunes that befell the American continent. Totally ignored here is that of recent, ancient remains of skulls from remote times were discovered in a cave near the Guatemalan border, and many of them were female. The whole notion the violence sadly plaguing Mexico today was the entire result of European migrants to the American continent overlooks how in ancient eras, even early empires like the Aztecs were capable of terrible deeds.

Now, it's possible the woman's words were warped and taken out of context by the press company, and Columbus wasn't the issue. But if what's quoted is correct, then it represents a most unfortunate attempt to pin the blame on easy targets, which doesn't help the situation at all in the present. I sincerely hope the terrible crisis of femicide can be stopped in the future. But blaming historical figures who may not have even visited the main central/south American side of the continent is not a good way to deal with the issue.

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