Stop the Murders!

Against the Current, No. 92, May/June 2001

SOS Initiative

[In March the Mexican Labor News and Analysis printed a letter from the SOS Initiative, a women’s group in Juarez. The translation is by Dan La Botz.]


Today March 8, 2001, women inhabitants of Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico send this communication to the International Community desperately seek<->ing help to stop the interminable series of murders and disappearances of poor, young women which has been perpetrated in our community since 1993.

The precise number of bodies found in the environs of the city in the recent period, thrown on major thoroughfares and in plain daylight, is not known. But, according to figures given to the press, the number of victims that have been found varies between 230 and 408, and most of the cases remain unsolved. In addition, the number of women who have disappeared and still not reappeared remains unknown because the authorities have not cleared that up.

We, the inhabitants of this city, only know that the bodies of girls who have been raped and assassinated continue appearing with frequency, and that the reports of the disappearance of women take place daily. The last victim was the worker Lilia Alejandra Garcia, age 17, found on February 24.

The authorities of the three levels of government, local, state and federal have remained indifferent to this problem, referring to it on occasion as “something natural” and inherent in the growth of the city. They have been negligent in the performance of their duty, which has led to a climate of impunity for these crimes, and has demonstrated that they have neither the ability nor the political will to analyze, understand and resolve the problem. The resources destined for the investigation of these cases are absurd: only ten poorly-paid agents, without equipment and even, as the press has reported, without fuel for their vehicles.

We appeal to the international community, such as that which has been present in our country in such difficult situations as the conflict in Chiapas, asking that it focus its attention on this war against the women, and that it know that our country is outstanding not only for its disdain for our ethnic minorities, but also for its disregard for us women. In this war, the 230 women who have been the victims of sexual violence and assassination far outnumber those who have died in the conflict in Chiapas.

In sum, we call out to citizens, social organizations, international human rights organizations and governments around the world, asking you to observe what we the women of Ciudad Juarez confront every day, and we ask you to make a statement that will oblige our authorities to take pertinent, concrete, real and serious measures.

We ask for your help because as women and as a local organization we feel alone and powerless to stop the impunity that these sexual hate crimes have enjoyed. We want our cry of “Enough!” to be heard, so that there really will be not one more killing.

Stop the murders of women in Ciudad Juarez! End the impunity! Not one more victim!

ATC 92, May-June 2001