A number of human rights and women’s organizations have condemned the murder of Marisela Escobedo in Mexico on 16 December 2010. The Washington Times commented and the story has appeared on a number of blogs including this one.
The Global Fund for Women issued a statement strongly condemning the murder. Marisela Escobedo Ortiz (left) was a well-known women’s human rights defender. Gunned down in front of the state government offices in Chihuahua City, she was demanding justice for her murdered daughter Rubí Marisol Frayre Escobedo.
Mexican President Felipe Calderón used Twitter to blame the death of Marisela Escobedo on corruption and impunity, lamely commenting that, “it was deplorable that judges in Chihuahua released the self-confessed murderer of Rubí Frayre.”
The Global Fund for Women has called upon “the authorities of Mexico and the State of Chihuahua to fully investigate the murder of Marisela Escobeda and bring those responsible for this atrocity to justice, as well as to protect the human rights of Marisela’s families and all the women who work to denounce violence against women in the state of Chihuahua.”
Much good it may do. In 2009 Amnesty International summed up Mexico’s current human reights record as follows:
“Serious human rights violations committed by members of the military and police included unlawful killings, excessive use of force, torture and arbitrary detention. Several journalists were killed. Human rights defenders faced threats, fabricated criminal charges and unfair judicial proceedings. People protesting against economic development projects faced harassment. The Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to Mexico City’s law decriminalizing abortion. Reforms to the criminal justice system were initiated. Violence against women remained widespread.”
The situation has not noticeably changed, as a cursory glance at AI’s current Mexico page reveals. And, if you read the works of Mexican writer and historian Francisco Martín Moreno, the history of Mexico is replete with cover-ups.
Another acerbic Mexican critic, political activist, and journalist – Carlos Monsiváis Aceves (who died earlier this year) – writing in the magazine Siempre! in April 1968, put his finger on the problem: Mexico has long been depoliticised by a process of depriving “an entire country of the possibility of making moral choices, of the possibility of expressing its indignation. It means destroying morality as a collective concern and reducing it to the status of an individual problem. It means death of a social morality and the encouragement of a petite bourgeoisie morality based on the need to create taboos, whereas any genuine morality is based on the ability to make free choices.”
There are some signs, 42 years later, that Mexicans have woken up to this fact. Let’s hope that the next Revolution – undoubtedly to be led by women – will have the moral courage to tackle impunity root and branch.