Beginning in 1993, female homicides in Juárez City, Mexico began to increase at an alarming rate. Tragically, the overwhelming majority of the crimes have gone unsolved denying the families of the victims their day in court for justice for the loss of their loved ones. The city was founded in 1659 and sits across the United States border from the town of El Paso, Texas. In 2010, there were on average 8.5 killings per day in Juarez City. Drug cartels and drifters from the U.S. have maintained an iron grip on the city making it one of the most places on earth. In recent years, the murder rate has declined and the city continues to make progress in reinventing itself and its image. However, the struggle with its dark past and deadly trend of femicide that has not fully ceased continues to haunt Juarez. Teresa Rodriguez, a correspondent for Univision, has conducted her own investigation into the murders resultng in this chilling and informative account that reveals the severity of an epidemic that continues to plague Mexico.
Their names are not known worldwide and their families are simple and hardworking. But their murders and the inaction of the Mexican government and complicity of local police reveal a system in which officials are unwilling and unable to stop the crisis that has gripped the country. In their faces we see our sisters, mothers, aunts, nieces and friends. Most of the women are from low income poverty stricken areas who work brutally long hours barely earning a minimum wage. They are often faced with a long commute on deserted stretches of roads that serve as a haven for criminal elements. Some of the women are never seen again becoming yet another statistic is a growing list of violent murders and sexual assaults. Rodriguez’s book is a dark premonition of things that will come if the Mexican government fails to address the crisis. For hundreds of women in Juárez there is no justice and their families are left to grieve without the benefit of closure. Their cries have been ignored and the deadly trend that was once confined to Juarez has now spread to other parts of Mexico including Toluca, a city I visited in December, 2013.
Mexico is a beautiful country, full of history, good food and beautiful people. Yet it is plagued by extreme violence fueled by the drug trade and a disturbing pattern of femicide that has never been confronted. Vice News, the international news organization based in Brooklyn, New York, recently did a story on the rise of the female homicides in Mexico and the struggles the families of the victims face in obtaining justice. The people of Mexico face a long road in reversing the disturbing trend of murders but as more attention is drawn to the crisis, it might result in long overdue action by the Mexican government. And authors such as Teresa Rodriguez continue to do their part in exposing a regrettable, tragic and hauntingly disturbing trend.