Anne Marie Mackler, FNS Co-Editor
Jose Antonio Parra Molina, a criminologist from Spain, visited Juárez in July to study the numerous cases of murdered women that has baffled and enraged the border community for several years. According to a report produced by the Commission of Human Rights of México, as of May 15, there were 123 cases of murdered women between the ages of 14 and 25 in Juárez since 1993. Parra Molina was not hired to solve these cases, but to look at the files and to analyze this series of crimes, the majority of which remain unsolved. According to El Diario, he offered his explanations and recommendations to the government and the community at a press conference on August 1. His analysis was met with great criticism as reported by Esther Chávez Cano, a representative for non-governmental organizations (ONGs).
Molina was not hired to solve this series of crimes, but to analyze what he calls a “phenomenon” that has occurred in Juárez. He finds this situation “alarming” and a “social shock.” The conclusions he has reached in order to explain this “phenomenon” of up to 140 murdered women, are listed below.
- There exists a lack of family values in this community; there is not enough parental respect, which leads to a lack of respect for women when they are in public.
- Foreigners, particularly Americans, wait for women to leave work at the maquiladoras (factories) and offer them non-existant job as models where they could make a lot of money.
- There is a market for fresh human organs, and most victims were perfectly healthy.
- When a man doesn’t have a stable sexual relationship, he is lead to aggressiveness, which translates into problematic behavior. Women are then used as sexual objects to satisfy men’s desires.
- Gangs use murder as part of the competition for leadership, particularly when gang leaders are in jail, as is the case with some gangs in Juárez.
- Women put themselves at risk by hitchhiking.
- As a result of the influence of the United States, women are joining the workforce at an earlier age and therefore discovering independence. This means young women could become more promiscuous. Some of these independent women have maintained sexual relationships with more than one person. This behavior leads to danger.
- There is an increase of gang activity because of the proximity to cities such as Los Angeles and Dallas.
- The authorities do not have enough control over gang activities.
- There is too little support and not enough confidence in the authorities.
- There are often gambling activities that involve the abuse of women.
- Men that are abusing a woman when they are drunk may use too much force and end up killing the woman.
- Because of a man’s natural instincts, during sexual relations, a man may get carried away and use too much force and accidentally kill the woman.
- Domestic violence may be an explanation for some of the murders.
- American murderers may come to México to commit crimes because there is no death penalty in México.
In addition to these possible explanations, Molina offered at a press conference in Juárez, he also suggests some preventative measures. He says that the maquiladoras should provide outside lighting at the facilities and shuttles for women who don’t have transportation. He doesn’t blame the maquiladoras, or the victims, however, he believes preventative measures must be adopted or we’ll have even bigger problems.
He believes that the young women workers from the maquiladoras are at greatest risk. He compared their walking home alone from work to “putting candy in the doorway of a school.”
He acknowledges that ONG’s have helped him get closer to victims’ families, but they have also erred by doing independent investigations. Their attitude threatens the official inquiries, and they should be more precautious. He notes that “We are at a disadvantage: the criminals know who we are, but we do not know who they are.”
The Non Governmental Organizations (ONG’s), however, responded to Molina’s analysis negatively. On August 2, El Diario reported that Esther Chávez Cano, spokesperson for the ONG, said his study was a “huge disappointment.”
She believes the criminologist didn’t discover anything new, in fact the ONG reached and acted on the same conclusions previously themselves. “We were lead to believe that this researcher would help us solve the crimes. But according to what I’ve read and heard, his work is pathetic.” Cano finds Molina as patronizing as she has found the police in the analyses that blame the victims for their own murders. She believes his comments were unprofessional and not scientific, particularly his reference to social problems.
However, she does agree with one point made by Molina: the need for a special prosecuting task force. “In fact, we have requested this in the past.”
Source: El Diario, El Norte de Ciudad Juárez, El Paso Times