Last updated on February 11, 2020
Beginning in 1993, female homicides in Juárez City, Mexico began to increase at an alarming rate. The overwhelming majority of the murders remain unsolved. Families have in some cases pleaded with authorities to no avail. Justice has been transformed into an elusive concept far removed from the reality faced by hundreds of parents that have suffered the loss of their child. Juarez 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., turned the city into one of the most dangerous places on earth. However, in recent years, the murder rate has declined and the city continues to make progress in reinventing itself and its image. But the struggle with its dark past and the deadly trend of femicide continues to haunt not only Juarez but Mexico itself. Teresa Rodriguez, a correspondent for Univision, 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 many parts of Latin America.
Their names are not known worldwide and their families are simple and hardworking. But their murders and the inaction of the Mexican government combined with the complicity of local police, reveal a system in which officials are either unwilling or unable to stop the crisis that has gripped the country. In their faces we see our sisters, nieces and friends. Most of the victims are from poverty stricken areas who work long hours that scarely pay minimum wage. They are faced with long commutes 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 in a growing list of horrific crimes. 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 trend that was once confined to Juarez has now spread to other parts of Mexico including Toluca, a city I visited in December, 2013.
I warn readers that this book is not for those faint at heart. The repetition of violent crime and report thereof will test the resolve of anyone who decideds to read this book. A happy ending is not to be found here. But what the author hopes, is that focus is placed where it needs to be and that Mexico can reverse a chilling and disturbing trend. Some readers may be familiar with Juarez and may have even visited before. Your observations may coincide with what Rodriguez says or may be slightly different. But what is evidently clear is that femicide will not go away on its own and the deaths of the young woman we learn of here should be cause for high concern.
Mexico is a beautiful country, full of history, good food and welcoming people. Yet it is also plagued by a deadly system of violence. 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 Mexican people 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 will continue to do their part in seeing that justice is finally done.