President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) received the 2018 election on a marketing campaign of combating the underlying causes of the social illnesses impacting Mexican society. He vowed to battle violence and narcotics trafficking by eliminating its root trigger, poverty. His plan was summarized by his tagline, “hugs, not bullets.” AMLO has sought to be the voice of the marginalized and to finish the endemic corruption in Mexican politics. In September, throughout his state of the union speech, he claimed that almost all crime was down beneath his administration, together with kidnapping, theft and femicide. His observe file to this point, nevertheless, disproves his claims and leaves a lot to be desired, particularly with regards to violence in opposition to girls.


Combat Home Violence Throughout a International Pandemic

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On August 3, the president celebrated a victory over the arrest of considered one of Mexico’s most needed criminals, Jose Antonio Yepez Ortiz, “El Marro,” the alleged chief of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel. That win was quickly adopted by the extradition from Spain of Emilio Lozoya, ex-chief of the state-owned oil firm, PEMEX, on bribery and cash laundering prices, which in the end implicated ex-presidents and numerous congressmen.

Gender-Based mostly Violence

Whereas Lopez Obrador touted these examples as clear proof of his administration’s success, he, like many populists within the area, believes that he can form public opinion and actuality solely via his personal declarations, regardless of all of the proof on the contrary. Nevertheless, on the heels of those so-called victories, a July authorities report captured a staggering statistic: 17,493 homicides within the first half of 2020, indicating an almost 2% enhance since final 12 months, placing 2020 on observe to be the deadliest 12 months on Mexico’s file. 

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Among the many record-breaking homicides determine lies a a lot higher coverage failure to fight femicide — the homicide of ladies based mostly on their gender. Femicide is up 9.2% in comparison with the primary half of 2019, totaling 489 deaths via June this 12 months in response to the Secretariat of Safety and Civilian Safety (SSPC). Femicide shot up by 36% alone from Could to June. Whereas violence in opposition to girls has lengthy been problematic in Mexico, COVID-19 lockdowns have solely worsened the scenario by forcing many victims into harmful circumstances with their aggressors. 

Finances cuts to federal and state packages as a result of financial recession and diminishing tax revenues will probably make it tougher to reply to home abuse calls and to prosecute femicides. Amid these extraordinary developments, AMLO’s response to this point has been to downplay the power nature of gender-based violence in Mexico. 

Emergency calls present simply how endemic the violence actually is. Via the tip of July, the emergency helpline had obtained 154,610 calls reporting gender violence incidents, up 47% from 2019, in response to the SSCP. AMLO has claimed in a press convention that 90% of those calls are “false.” Whereas specialists agree lots of the calls are “inadmissible” or “unfounded,” on account of poor connections, the victims hanging up and even prank calls, inadmissible calls don’t exceed 77%.

The president is trying to make use of the inadmissibility argument to refute the verified emergency name statistics of his personal authorities. The figures additionally can’t account for the various victims who don’t contact authorities out of concern. In line with an unbiased NGO, 9 out of 10 girls don’t report gender-based violence in Mexico. Fairly than offering compassion and solutions to victims, the president has selfishly claimed that his opponents are utilizing femicide statistics for political assaults.

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Financial Impacts

Past the bodily trauma, home and state abuse in opposition to girls also can have profound results on girls’s financial well-being. In line with a 2018 report by the Nationwide Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico (INEGI), over 19 million girls reported being victims of home abuse, with 64% of incidents resulting in extreme violence. In consequence, every sufferer misplaced a mean of 30 days of paid and 28 days of unpaid work yearly. INEGI estimates that between October 2015 and October 2016, the whole value of misplaced revenue by girls who missed work on account of home violence amounted to 4.4 billion pesos ($184 million).

These losses usually perpetuate girls’s dependence on their aggressors, worsening what already are unequal financial circumstances. In line with the United Nations Growth Program’s (UNDP) Gender Growth Index, girls on common earn $11,254 per 12 months, lower than half of males, who make $24,286. Extra girls depend on casual employment, with 56.6% working within the casual sector (excluding agriculture) in comparison with 48.4% of males. The Mexican Social Safety Institute famous that ladies solely comprise 38% of social safety beneficiaries. This financial and labor inequality has meant that ladies have been disproportionately hit by the COVID-19 lockdowns, rising unemployment and lack of entry to social safety advantages. 

AMLO has did not adequately reply to the problem, and the scenario is prone to worsen until the federal government makes a concerted effort. In August, a reporter confronted the president a couple of June report displaying a minimize of 37.5 million pesos to the Nationwide Fee to Stop and Eradicate Violence In opposition to Girls. After the president’s denial, the federal government launched an announcement saying that no such cuts could be made as a result of combating gender violence was a vital activity.

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Nevertheless, the response nonetheless falls nicely in need of a significant try and stamp out the endemic points within the prison system and inside Mexican machismo tradition at giant. The president’s austerity measures can’t come on the expense of rising femicide charges and violence in opposition to girls all through the nation. Fairly, a July report from the UNDP recommends that the federal government tackle extra debt to spend on defending probably the most weak teams from the socio-economic results of the pandemic.

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As endemic as femicide is in Mexico — it trails solely Brazil’s complete variety of circumstances in Latin America — gender-based violence is a pandemic that’s claiming the lives of numerous victims throughout the hemisphere. In line with the United Nations’ Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean, the international locations with the best charge of femicide per 100,000 girls are: El Salvador (6.8), Honduras (5.1), Bolivia (2.3), Guatemala (2.0) and the Dominican Republic (1.9). Mexico’s charge of femicide is 1.4, which means that along with nationwide measures taken to halt this pandemic, Latin America as a area has a lot work to do to guard the well-being of half of its residents. 

*[Fair Observer is a media partner of the Young Professionals in Foreign Policy.]

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Honest Observer’s editorial coverage.