Mexican president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa’s militarization of the fight against drug trafficking has increased the level of violence against women, a leading Mexican feminist, María Marcela Lagarde y de los Ríos, told the Spanish wire service EFE on April 29. “Everything that is happening favors violence against women,” she said. Calderón’s strategy “cultivates a very violent culture” and “establishes an ideology of violence, of defeat, of war… That’s a very macho culture, very misogynist, and we women are left defenseless.”
A member of the Chamber of Deputies for the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) from 2003 to 2006 and now a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Lagarde is part of the movement to have femicide (misogynist murders) categorized as a special crime, not simply as murder or a hate crime. (EFE, April 29, via Latin American Herald Tribune)
Ciudad Juárez, near the US border in the northern state of Chihuahua, is one of the places that have suffered the most from femicide and from Calderón’s “drug war,” which has claimed some 35,000 lives since the beginning of 2007. In March this year the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) reported that nationally some 230,000 people had been displaced by drug-related violence. A new report by María del Socorro Velázquez Vargas, a researcher at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez, gives an even higher number.
Using a survey by Juárez’s municipal government and statistics from Chihuahua’s State Investigation Agency and the federal government’s National Statistics and Geography Institute (INEGI), Velázquez Vargas estimates that 273,000 people were displaced during 2008, 2009 and 2010 in Juárez alone—a full 21% of the municipality’s population. (El Diario, Ciudad Juárez, April 17)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, May 1.