Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Activist: Mexico’s War on Drugs Leads to Violence Against Women

By Emilia Perez
Marcela Lagarde, a Mexican academic who is considered one of Latin America’s leading feminist activists, said in an interview with Efe that the war on drugs being waged by President Felipe Calderon has led to more violence against women in Mexico.

“Everything that is happening favors violence against women,” Lagarde told Efe Thursday in Madrid, adding that the Mexican leader’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,” Lagarde said.

The activist, who has been calling for the inclusion of femicide in Mexico’s Criminal Code, has published numerous articles about gender identity, feminism, human development and deomocracy.

The “political environment in Mexico has intensified in the past few years” just as “the violence and crimes against women had gained visibility,” Lagarde, a former congresswoman and currently a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, said.

Activists had been denouncing violence against women and the impunity of the killers before the Calderon administration declared war and put “the army in the streets” of Mexico “without going through Congress,” a conflict that “has cost the lives of 40,000 people in four years,” Lagarde said.

“Now, it’s intensifying, but it had been. It was and it was very clear,” the former congresswoman, who taught a course on violence against women at the Autonomous University of Madrid, said.

Lagarde said she and other female lawmakers worked for enactment of the General Law for Women’s Access to a Violence Free Life, which “is a very important law and a legal benchmark” both in Mexico and Latin America.

Violence against women is “a much bigger problem” than that affecting Ciudad Juarez because the violence in the border city has internationalized the problem, Lagarde said.

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico’s murder capital, first gained notoriety in the early 1990s when young women began to disappear in the area.

In most of the slayings, the victims were young women from poor families who came to the border city from all over Mexico to work in the many assembly plants, known as “maquiladoras,” built there to take advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Investigators have not determined who is behind the killings, although there has been speculation that serial killers, organized crime groups, people traffickers, drug smugglers and child pornographers, among others, may be involved.

Over 500 women have been killed in Juarez since 1993, with the majority of the cases going unsolved.

“Ciudad Juarez does not have the highest level of femicides in the country,” Lagarde said, adding that Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, has that dubious distinction.

“Violence against women is a serious structural problem, and the development conditions in Mexico and political conditions of the country’s government do not point to a commitment by the federal government, in all the country, to the rights of women,” Lagarde said.

Another milestone in the fight to end violence against women in Mexico was the November 2009 finding by the Inter-American Human Rights Court that the government was failing to prevent and duly investigate violence against women in Juarez, a gritty metropolis just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.

“It is the first time that an international court found a state guilty of crimes against women,” the activist said, adding that the Mexican government “is very cynical and has not followed the recommendations made by the tribunal. It does not comply with anything.”

The women’s rights activist, however, still holds out hope for change in Mexico.

“We’ll have to take more cases to the international courts, stage more protests, convince the people that violence against women is an issue, an issue for the citizenry, that we cannot think it’s normal and will take care of itself on its own some day,” Lagarde said.


  1. "very misogynist, and we women are left defenseless,"

    I'm sorry, this is SO politically incorrect. But, I've always had the most respect for those women who stand up and DEFEND THEMSELVES!! One of the first things I saw when I first entered Israel, was a young IDF soldier, in uniform and under arms, patrolling the streets of the harbor. I do not believe that I've ever even seen a female police officer in Mexico.

    Lady, stop whining, and get out there and make a difference. It's obvious by now that no one in Mexico is going to defend anyone. Organize, arm, and defend the women yourself. Get young women to join the military, join the police forces, join militias, and to ACT, rather than whimper while being victimized.

  2. Here we go "war on drugs being waged by Felipe Calderon has led to more violence on women" THE MESSAGE IS TIME AND AGAIN CALDERON GOES NEW PRESIDENT FORGET REFORM ALL IS GOOD. This message rings out of almost every article I read time and again,I can not help but think the Media in Mexico is either left wing tainted to the point of loonacy,or that the criminal element is influencing these openions to get relief in the next series of elections. Calderons war? Maby, but where are the Mexican people,would THEY not be the beneficiarys of a reformed functioning state.

  3. The idea that Calderon is a reformer is about as stupid as thinking that Dubya's thugocracy was a regime promoting US reform. In short, its just palin STUPID!

    'Calderons war? Maby, but where are the Mexican people,would THEY not be the beneficiarys of a reformed functioning state.'

    YES- My misspelling was deliberate and plain intentional.

  4. "Activist: Mexico’s War on Drugs Leads to Violence Against Women"

    Translation: "Stop enforcing the laws and the muderous thugs who routinely traffick women might be nice to us"

    LOL! You mexicans are fools if you beleive this for one second.

  5. Sounds like someone is in the pockets of the Narco's.

  6. Almost exclusively men are killed, often savagely tortured. And the main concern is that killing of men leads to violence against women?

    Is this world a mad house? Yes. Mrs. Clinton held a speech recently saying that women are the main victims of war, because their fathers, brothers and sons are killed.

    Killed, mutilated, crippled men are not victims. Their women relatives are the victims. Of course, their male relatives are not victims.

    When do men wake up and demand protection for men?

  7. Wait, so 500 women have died since 1993, yet over 3000 people were murdered in the same town last year ALONE and somehow this is pushed as violence toward WOMEN?

    Come ON.

  8. This is what leads to violence against women:

  9. 500 women since 1993, 3000 men last year alone. I think they should scrap the crusade against femicide and start one against masucide.

  10. Let's be honest about this. The violence in Mexico keeps on changing its targets and forms, does it not? For a while, most of it was mainly political violence, then the wave of murders of women occurred in Ciudad Juarez and also Chihuahua City. Now it is mostly drug war related.

    Though it all, has been the overall corruption of police and military forces that the general population has always had to tolerate since it was such a dominant problem in Mexico, and one that overwhelmed most defenseless ordinary Mexican citizens.

    Let's be honest here! Most of you in the US who follow the crime wave around the Mexican 'drug war' stuff never gave much a damn when it was mainly political and anti-woman violence was happening big time, so you act now as if none of that was really precursor to what's happening now. Or that this other type of violence has not been even really out there happening at all. You are wrong though.

    Many in the US cheer on the violence of Calderon's borrowed from the US 'drug war', yet forget how he became Lord of Mexico who helped cover up and foment the killings of women in Chihuahua where PAN political forces dominated, and also helped fester the political murders and disappearances along with the PRI, who allied witht eh PAN in much of their shared politics.

    Calderon of the PAN is a reactionary and has not helped improve the political climate of constant lawless violence in Mexico but has made it even worse. That's just the plain truth of the matter. The political violence has always been there, as has violence and trafficking of women and laborers, as now has become more noticeable still the drug stuff. Both sexes from the poorer classes suffer most in the adult population as well as do the poorest kids.

  11. Marcela Lagarde. Look at her. Jews are even in Mexico now trying to get Mexican Women to hate Mexican Men. I figured South America was one place they couldn't get their vile discussing hands on. They're truly like a plague on the planet.


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