Ciudad Juárez Mayor José Reyes Ferriz announced Jan. 31 that the city is calling on artists across Mexico to submit proposals for a monument to memorialize the city’s murdered women. The monument will likely focus on the eight victims whose bodies were found in 2001 in a cotton field across from the Association of Maquiladoras. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the Mexican government earlier this year to erect a monument to dignify the memory of the victims. (Las Cruces Sun-News, Jan. 31)
The announcement comes with the passing of Esther Chávez, 76, the city’s foremost campaigner for justice in the 20-year wave of femicide. Shocked by the lack of police attention to the relentless killings, she founded the March 8 Organization, marking international women’s day, to bring together all those protesting the violence and impunity. In 1999 she opened the Casa Amiga shelter and rape crisis center, which now helps thousands of women each year.
In recent years Juárez has become known as “the most violent city in the world,” its murder rate far outstripping that of Baghdad. Over the last two years more than 4,000 of the city’s 1.5 million people have been killed, with the body count by the end of last year running at an average of more than seven a day. (Edmonton Journal, Jan. 31)
See our last post on the struggle in Ciudad Juárez