Crime & Justice

Wave of violence against women spurs alarm in Mexican border city

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Aug 11 (EFE).- The sight of mutilated female bodies dumped on the road is setting off alarms in this Mexican border metropolis that was notorious in the early 2000s for hundreds of mostly unsolved murders of women and girls.

Red Mesa de Mujeres, a coalition of groups battling gender violence and discrimination, says that Ciudad Juarez saw 87 “femicides” in the first six months of this year.

Some victims were beheaded or even dismembered after their deaths, leading authorities to attribute those killings to the kind of conflict among criminal organizations that made Juarez the most dangerous major city in the world a decade ago.

Based on that determination, the investigations are being conducted by the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office, rather than by the office of the special prosecutor for crimes against women, Red Mesa de Mujeres coordinator Yadira Cortes told Efe here Thursday.

She said that another factor in the increase in femicides is the flow of migrants through Juarez, which lies just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

For undocumented women deported from the United States, most of them of non-Mexican origin, Juarez is a place full of strangers where they have nobody to protect them, Cortes said.

“It’s important that authorities stop talking and start doing, and let’s see some results,” she said.

Besides the shortcomings of law enforcement, she complained of an inadequate number of psychologists, legal aid lawyers and social workers to assist women in dangerous situations, who often have to wait a month for an appointment.

“Who guarantees she will be alive in a month?,” Cortes asked.

In a recent speech on the gruesome killings in Juarez, Chihuahua Attorney General Roberto Fierro Duarte said that investigations point to a “serious problem of confrontations between organized crime groups.”

Police have dismantled more than a score of criminal cells in the city in the last few weeks, he said.

Mexico as a whole is experiencing more than 10 femicides per day, according to figures from UN Women.

Early this month, residents of Juarez’s Villas de Alcala neighborhood were horrified to encounter plastic bags containing human body parts, while the severed heads of two women were found last week in different parts of the city.

Fifteen dismembered bodies were dumped last weekend, bringing to 28 the number of such killings so far this month.

Chihuahua Gov. Maru Campos came to Juarez on Wednesday to lay the cornerstone of the $200 million Torre Centinela (Sentinel Tower), a 20-story, state-of-the-art law enforcement command center that she vowed will improve public safety in the city. EFE gp/dr

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