AWCheney’s Forum On Immigration

The City of Lost Girls: Femicide In Latin America

One of the videos that I featured on my last post, The Merida Intitiative, was “The City of Lost Girls,” a shocking indictment of not only Mexican law enforcement, but a deadly culture of corruption which is re-created in many forms throughout Mexico, and runs up through the highest levels of government…and tends to prey upon the Mexican citizens, particularly the poor, with impunity. No one, however, is totally immune. Because few people have viewed that particular post, I decided to repeat it here and give the subject greater coverage:

This film was shot in November of 2003 in and around the city of Juarez, Mexico in the Mexican State of Chihuahau, formerly known as El Paso del Norte. The estimated numbers of dead girls/women, most between the ages of 16 to 23 (although an average age of 16 has been cited) has ranged from 380 to 550 since 1993…and there are still an estimated 4000 girls and young women missing in this area (Amnesty International’s estimates are far lower than those of the local citizens). A great deal of attention has focused on the problem in Juarez, given its proximity to El Paso, Texas, as well as the large number of “NAFTA” factories which have located there. As a matter of fact, the draw of these factories for young women seeking work is often attributed as a major reason that this area provides such a fertile hunting ground for the predators who are perpetrating these crimes.

http://www.amnestyusa.org/women/pdf/Juarez_Guatemala_Action_kit.pdf

Excerpt from Amnesty International report from 2006:

“Since 1993, almost 400 women and girls have been murdered and more than 70 remain missing in Ciudad Juárez and Chihuahua, Mexico. All the evidence seems to indicate that these young women are chosen by their killers because they are women who have no power within Chihuahuan society, itself characterized by high crime rates and public insecurity due to the fact that drug trafficking and organized crime operate in the area. The women are often workers from the maquilas, or export factories, set up by the multinational companies that control the economy of Ciudad Juárez as well as waitresses, workers in the informal economy, or students. Many of them live in poverty, often with children to support. They are women who have few options but to travel alone on the long bus journeys that take them from the poor suburbs surrounding Ciudad Juárez to their place of work or study.”

The greatest difficulty in attempting to determine the TRUE numbers of dead and missing girls is a direct result of the corruption of the state authorities in Juarez and Chihuahua, who are believed by most to actually be complicit in not only the cover-up, but the crimes themselves.

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August 23, 2008 10:14 pm Posted by | Latin America | , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

The Merida Initiative

The Merida Initiative, as is the case with most of the negotiations between Mexico and the United States, is again one of those deals which was struck behind closed doors between President Bush and President Calderon, so it is unlikely that a great many of you are familiar with it, or have even heard of it. Even its first year funding was tacked onto a funding bill for the war in Iraq in order to expedite, and essentially sneak through, its implementation. This lack of transparency has been the case with this Initiative from the beginning:

An excellent source for information on various aspects of the Initiative is to be found at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars website, Merida Initiative Portal:

http://www.wilsoncenter.org/index.cfm?topic_id=5949&fuseaction=topics.item&news_id=407349

For instance, according to the overview of the Initiative…

“Congress is currently considering a proposal to provide $1.4 billion in equipment, software, and technical assistance to Mexico over three years as well as a smaller but still unspecified amount to Central America over the same period. The first year of the initiative is part of the Iraq Supplemental, while the second and third years will be discussed as part of the regular FY09 and FY10 appropriations process.

The Merida Initiative is actually more than an assistance package—rather it is one element in a broader strategy of growing cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico to address a shared threat presented by organized crime involved in drug trafficking. The U.S. and Mexican governments have increased joint efforts significantly in recent years in order to protect communities on both sides of the border. Moreover, both countries recognize the need to engage Central America in broader regional efforts.”

…which confirms those “rumors” mentioned by Glenn Beck of CNN in the previous video.

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August 18, 2008 6:04 am Posted by | Mexico | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments