"Amlo feminicide!" The message is now written in red letters on the Palace of the Presidency of Mexico. Tired of years of inaction by the state, Mexican feminist associations have decided to hold the president of the Mexican left, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (nicknamed Amlo), in power since December 2018, to account.
The country is experiencing a new wave of protests against femicide, the killing of women. The trigger was the assassination by his partner of Ingrid Escamilla, 25, killed on February 9. The young woman was stabbed by her companion who then butchered her. Images of the young woman's mutilated body were then published by local tabloids, triggering torrents of protest and then a massive demonstration on February 14.
The discovery, Saturday, February 15, in the southeast of the capital, of the body of a 7-year-old girl strengthened the determination of the demonstrators. If the investigation has not yet determined the circumstances of the murder of the girl, the activists make the link between this new assassination and the daily feminicides in Mexico. The mobilization is also visible on social networks with the keywords #Justiciaparatodas (Justice for all) and #Niunamenos (Not one more).
Wearing black clothes and some with their faces covered, the protesters demanded that Mexican President Amlo lift the impunity enjoyed by the criminals and end gender-based violence.
Amlo's strategy questions
The problem of feminicides is not new in Mexico, but it continues to reach sad records. According to the Inegi (the Mexican statistics institute), in 2018, nearly 10 women were murdered every day. Among these murders, 90% go unpunished.
Amlo, the first president of the left in Mexico, carried with him the hopes of change specific to each alternation. Fourteen months after her inauguration, feminist associations are disillusioned.
During his press conference on February 15, the president was arrested on the issue of feminicides by Frida Guerrera. The activist criticized her for talking much more about corruption than about the recurrent murders of women.
"I'm not running away from my responsibilities," wanted to reassure Amlo. Unconvincing for feminist movements that criticize the leader of Morena for his lack of clear strategy on the issue, like this new statement the day after the discovery of the body of the 7-year-old girl.
"We tackle the causes and we believe that we need a fairer, more egalitarian, fraternal society, with values, where individualism is not what prevails but love of neighbor, the presence of love , the absence of hatred, which make it possible to face all the challenges. ", he declared, without announcing concrete measures.
Since the two murders, demonstrations have multiplied in front of the presidential palace. The demonstrators demand that the president take concrete action against this scourge and demand "public apologies" from him after remarks they deem out of touch with reality.
Few clear solutions
The Mexican president refuses for the moment to meet with feminist associations. Amlo prefers to delegate this task to Claudia Sheinbaum, the mayor of Mexico, and Olga Sánchez, her interior minister.
>> See also: In Mexico City, the challenges of the Mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum
The latter said on her Twitter account that "the agenda [of demands] of women was one of the government's priorities". She also promised "sanctions against those responsible for disseminating" images of Ingrid Escamilla's crime.
The agenda of mujeres es una prioridad para el gobierno de # 4T como lo ha expresado el presidente @lopezobrador_ y para lo cual la @SEGOB_mx @inmujeres @CONAPRED y @CEAVmex trabajamos en la estrategia y esta mañana tuvimos una sesión. pic.twitter.com/DCMHYfHBVe- Olga Sánchez Cordero (@M_OlgaSCordero) February 14, 2020
The Ingrid Escamilla case should serve as an "example of what should never be done," added the minister, Thursday, February 13.
The fact remains that the demonstrators demand justice, like the mother of Fatima who, in an interview with the daily locla Milenio asked: "Justice must be done, for mine and for all the other women they took away and who they took life. "
An early response came from the National Assembly. Lawmakers voted to increase the sentence for femicide from 45 to 65 years in prison, up from 40 to 60 years previously. They also sought to tighten the penalties for sexual abuse of minors from 10 to 18 years in prison, against 6 to 13 years previously. The text has yet to pass the Senate test.
However, concrete measures are lacking. Questioned by journalists, the president declared himself favorable to the creation of a prosecution specializing in feminicides.
"I see it very well and everything that is done to achieve peace and tranquility, we see it very well and we will continue to help in all areas", he said, without however explaining anything it would be.
Combating the increase in violence in Mexican society
But beyond this inflection in public policies, several experts on the question of feminicidal violence in Mexico believe that the solution will also come through a change in the mentalities of Mexican society.
"We face more than traditional violence against women. Since 2007, with the emergence of violence linked to drug trafficking, murders have multiplied on the public highway, for both men and women" notes Ana Pecova, director of the organization Equis Justice for Women, in an interview with El Pais.
"As a society, we feed on the morbid, on the joy of seeing broken bodies. These cruel methods come from war," said Patricia Ravelo Blancas, a scholar specializing in feminicides, interviewed by El Pais. "Young people, not just narcos, are fascinated by this kind of method." A cruelty that fatally infuses the rest of society and leads to the explosion of violence.
The anthropologist believes that to get out of this spiral, it is necessary to "change the mental structures which conceive women as objects or sources of pleasure". "You have to generate a culture of inclusion, respect and equality" from school.
Mexico registered 1,006 femicide victims in 2019, according to official figures. A number which could be below reality, the constitution before the law of this specific crime remains incomplete, proof once again, of the weakness of Mexican institutions on the subject.
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