Friday, February 03, 2006
ON TOUR TO DEMAND JUSTICE FOR THE WOMEN OF JUAREZ AND CHIHUAHUA
Mexico Solidarity Network Presents:
International Women's Day Tour to Demand Justice for the Women of Juarez and Chihuahua!
March 1 - 15, 2006
Veronica Leyva, a former maquiladora worker and long-time activist from Ciudad Juarez, will speak on the struggle to end femicides and stop labor injustices in this growing border town just across from El Paso, TX. A representative from the Mexico Solidarity Network will also discuss the larger context in which these crimes occur, and the neoliberal economic policies touted by our government that have helped create this alarming situation along the border.
For more than a decade, the cities of Chihuahua and Juarez have been killing fields for young women, the site of now almost 450 unsolved femicides. Despite the horrific nature of these crimes, authorities at all levels exhibit indifference, and there is strong evidence that some officials may even be involved. Impunity and corruption has permitted these criminals, whoever they are, to continue committing these acts, knowing full well there will be no consequences.
A significant number of victims worked in the maquiladora sector - sweatshops that produce for export, with 90% produced destined for the United States. The maquiladoras employ mainly young women, at poverty level wages. In combination with lax environmental regulations and low tariffs under the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the maquiladoras are amassing tremendous wealth at the community’s expense. Yet despite this crime wave directed against women, maquiladoras offer almost no protection for their workers. High profile government campaigns such as Ponte Vista (Be Aware), a self defense program, and supplying women with whistles are band-aid strategies, carried out mainly for public relations purposes without offering real protection for these women.
Activists fighting gender violence highlight the impact of neoliberal economic policies, drug trafficking, militarization, and the evolving maquiladora sector to draw comparisons with similar struggles in other parts of Mexico, Guatemala, and throughout the world. Despite the efforts of state and federal authorities to keep them quiet, the families of victims continue to make small advances in their struggle for justice. Often families suffer threats and defamation by government officials for making one simple demand: STOP THE FEMICIDE!
This tour will:
Promote solidarity with the families of the femicide victims and their struggle to stop these atrocities.
Discuss the grassroots efforts to pressure the Mexican government into ending the epidemic of gender violence in Juarez and Chihuahua, and punish those who are responsible.
Encourage the creation of a bi-national committee including activists
and community leaders from Mexico and the US to address gender violence.
Discuss how these cases of gender violence do not occur in isolation, but rather within the context of the neoliberal economic model that dehumanizes and devalues women in exchange for higher profit margins.
Increase awareness and support for both House Resolution 466 and Senate Resolution 392, Sense of the Congress Resolutions that would officially condemn the femicides in Ciudad Juarez.
For more information contact us in our Washington, DC office at (202) 544-9355, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.