According to UN Women, since 2007 the incidence of femicide has steadily increased in the country
Among the entities that have the worst rates for this crime are Baja California Sur, Colima and Chihuahua
According to Animal Político, 2019 has been, so far, the year with the most murders in Mexico, with an average of 10 per day
This November 25 marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. It is precisely within this framework that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) made a series of comments during his morning conference. According to El Financiero, a reporter asked him if he considered that the roots of femicides and homicides are the same. The president said yes and attributed both crimes to the “disintegration of families.”
“Do you consider that the causes of a homicide are the same as those of a femicide?” A reporter asked @lopezobrador_ in the ‘morning’. “In general, yes, because there has been a lot of disintegration in families,” he replied. pic.twitter.com/U7ES0jgMx4
– El Financiero TV (@ElFinancieroTv) November 25, 2020
AMLO also reaffirmed that, to end both femicides and homicides, it is necessary to “fight for a better society where other values are promoted,” according to the newspaper. Not only that, but in her speech she blamed “neoliberal governments” for exacerbating the challenge of violence against women. To reduce the incidence of these crimes, he said, a culture must be promoted where “the material does not predominate, love of neighbor is put forward.”
It is not the first time that AMLO seems to minimize the importance of femicides. In data from La Jornada, several groups that seek to eradicate gender violence in the country have accused the president for his indifference. Not only, these groups point out, the president has not given the same importance to the murder of women as he has given it to other activists. In addition, they accuse the president of disclaiming responsibility for this phenomenon.
Femicide and homicide: An abysmal difference
Contrary to what AMLO says, the roots of these crimes are radically different by simple definition. Even the National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence Against Women (Conavim) makes the differentiation clearly. The institution defines femicide as the “violent death of women for gender reasons.” And it points out that its origin is in the “inequality and the position of subordination, marginality and risk” of women compared to men.
In the specific context of Mexico, equating the roots of femicide with those of homicide is something particularly serious, especially when they come from President AMLO. Since 2016, UNAM studies said that, to prevent the phenomenon, two factors were crucial. First, make the public aware that it is an unacceptable crime in a democracy. Second, and more importantly, that the authorities use the same language to avoid impunity.
And it is that, in Mexico, femicides suffer overwhelming impunity. Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI), quoted by ., points out that about half of these crimes are classified only as intentional homicides. Between 2012 and 2018, of the more than 3,000 femicides that were classified as such, only 739 reached a conviction. Of these, 105 received an acquittal for failures in the process. In other words, impunity of almost 97 percent.
The unforgivable mistake of President AMLO
The last few months seem to suggest that the head of the federal Executive has wanted to establish a different narrative on femicides. As a sample, according to Forbes, in his Second Government Report he pointed out that the incidence of this crime had decreased throughout his administration. However, only between January and July 2020, there were five percent more incidents compared to 2019, and nine percent more than during the 2018 period.
AMLO’s statements are particularly serious in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. In various parts of the world, organizations that defend the rights of women have said that confinement has triggered incidents of violence against that sector of the public. And even if the quarantine was not so strict in the country, this phenomenon was replicated in the Republic. According to Animal Político, several institutions saw an 80 percent higher incident rate.