Things That Matter

An Angry Group Of Anti-Morales Protesters Attacked This Bolivian Mayor Ripping Off Her Clothes And Cutting Her Scalp

The general elections that took place in Bolivia on Oct. 20, 2019, will go down as a historic moment for the South American country that caused a significant shift for the government — and the movement isn’t over. For outsiders, it may seem as if the ramifications of the elections only affected Evo Morales, the ousted president who declared himself the leader once again for a fourth consecutive term. While Bolivian authorities have issued a warrant for his arrest, the former president, who is currently in Argentina, unrest continues to be felt, especially in Vinto, Bolivia. Warning, these images are graphic. 

On Nov. 7, As a result of the fraudulent elections in Bolivia, anti-government protesters kidnapped Patricia Arce, the mayor of Vinto, Bolivia, and committed horrific crimes against her. 

As supporters of Evo Morales and those against his political party took to the streets in protest of the elections, some took their anger even further by attacking Arce. We should note that Arce is a member of Morales’s political party. And, as a result of her political affiliation, anti-government protesters took her by force from her office. 

She recounted the moment protesters accosted her at work. She knew the area was under attack and wanted to get away, but that is when protesters took her and doused her with red paint. They also cut off her hair and tried to rip off her clothes. 

“When they arrived in Quillacollo, Arce was unrecognizable, her hair shorn, and reeking of gasoline and urine,” BuzzFeed reports. “Her assailants forced her to the ground; they ordered her to resign and speak critically of Morales as she looked into the collection of cellphones they had shoved in her face.”

Video footage shows Arce’s captors holding her down, and they made her sign a resignation letter. 

“I’m not going to shut up,” Arce said in a video, the New York Times reports. “And if they want to kill me, may they kill me. For this process of change, I will give my life.”

Police eventually came to her rescue, but even as she recovered at a hospital, she was informed that she couldn’t remain there because her safety was at risk. She had to leave. 

Morales’ challenger Carlos Mesa has instructed his supporters to remain active on the streets. As of now, officials have said that Bolivians will get a new election, and Morales vows to return to Bolivia by next year

Yet still, through all of this chaos, Arce has returned to work despite some reports that she faked the entire assault. 

In late November, Arce — wearing a blonde wig — gave a press conference. She commented on the accusation that she orchestrated her kidnapping and attack on the streets. She said she would have never done that and does not wish that upon anyone. 

“I do not want any person, any woman to happen what happened to me, I think you have to set a precedent,” Arce said, according to Los Tiempos. “It’s shameful to think that someone would do this to herself,” she added. “I may have been orphaned at two, but I was raised with values and principles.”

Arce said she would continue her term, but it remains to be seen if she herself with be prosecuted because of a recent complaint filed against her. BuzzFeed reports that Arce is being accused of “separatism” and “improper use of public goods and services.” But for now, she remains in office even though she’s still recovering from her injuries. 

“To have quit or to have kneeled down would have been a betrayal of all women,” she told the media news site. 

While it remains to be seen what will come of Bolivia’s government, Morales still has strong allies in Bolivia along with Mexico President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Argentina President Alberto Fernández. 

Lopez Obrador said that Bolivia officials need to back off and stop harassing Morales with threats and arrest warrants. 

“The right of asylum must be guaranteed,” Lopez Obrador said, according to the New York Times. But Morales has already vowed to return to Bolivia and lead the country once again. 

READ: Authorities In Bolivia Have Issued An Arrest Warrant For Former Bolivia President Evo Morales

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An ICE Nurse Says That Migrant Women Are Having Hysterectomies Performed Without Their Consent While In Detention Centers

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An ICE Nurse Says That Migrant Women Are Having Hysterectomies Performed Without Their Consent While In Detention Centers

Janis Christie / Getty Images

On Monday, news broke that an ICE detention center in Georgia was performing mass hysterectomies on migrants without their consent. The allegations came from a nurse at the facility along with numerous detained migrants and left many people shocked.

However, the U.S. has a long history of forcing people – especially people of color – into unwanted sterilization, which is a human rights violation and a form of eugenics.

Of course, when it comes to undocumented immigrants, who are regularly referred to as “unwanted” “aliens” by the current president, it’s not so surprising that these practices went unreported for so long. One immigrant in the complaint put it best: “This place is not equipped for humans.”

An ICE nurse and several migrant women allege that a doctor is removing women’s reproductive systems without their consent.

According to the complaint filed Monday by Project South, an Atlanta-based non-profit, a high number of detained immigrant women held at the Irwin County Detention Center (ICDC) in Ocilla, Ga., are receiving hysterectomies, as well as other “dangerously unhealthy practices” at the prison amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

Dawn Wooten, who worked full-time at the detention center until July, when she was demoted to work as needed, said she and other nurses questioned among themselves why one unnamed gynecologist outside the facility was performing so many hysterectomies on detainees referred to him for additional medical treatment. She alleged about one doctor that “everybody he sees has a hysterectomy,” and that he removed the wrong ovary from one young detainee.

“We’ve questioned among ourselves like, goodness he’s taking everybody’s stuff out…That’s his speciality, he’s the uterus collector,” Ms. Wooten said in the complaint.

One detainee, interviewed by Project South, likened the center to “an experimental concentration camp,” adding: “It was like they’re experimenting with our bodies.”

“If it wasn’t for my faith in God, I think I would have gone insane and just break down and probably gone as far as hurting myself,” the woman said. “There are a lot of people here who end up in medical trying to kill themselves because of how crazy it is.”

The same prison has also come under fire for its medical practices amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Credit: Samuel Corum / Getty Images

Project South said the complaint alleges “jarring accounts from detained immigrants and Wooten regarding the deliberate lack of medical care, unsafe work practices, and absence of adequate protection against Covid-19.”

It summarizes the disclosures Dawn Wooten made to the DHS’s watchdog, and quotes unidentified detainees extensively. Covid-19 complaints included staff refusing to test symptomatic detainees, failing to isolate suspected cases, and not encouraging social-distancing practices.

For their part, ICE says to take the reports with skepticism.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement representative released this statement to Law & Crime News in response to the complaint: “U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not comment on matters presented to the Office of the Inspector General, which provides independent oversight and accountability within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. ICE takes all allegations seriously and defers to the OIG regarding any potential investigation and/or results. That said, in general, anonymous, unproven allegations, made without any fact-checkable specifics, should be treated with the appropriate skepticism they deserve.”

Women in ICE custody have long been subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment.

Credit: Getty Stock

Immigrant detention centers have long been accused of subpar medical care. However, the issue has become even worse amid the pandemic. The report filed by Project South describes how migrants are forced to live in unsanitary and unsafe conditions and even thrown into solitary if they advocate for basic human rights. But even before the outbreak, immigrant women’s bodies have always been the target of medical malpractice and cruelty.

ICE has allegedly denied treatment to detained women with cancer, brain tumors, and breast cysts, and it has a history of policing their bodies. The Trump administration has been accused of tracking migrant girls’ periods to prevent them from getting abortions, introduced a policy to deny pregnant women visitor visas, and literally ripped mothers apart from their babies during family separation. Azadeh Shahshahani, the legal and advocacy director for Project South, said women held at ICDC have said they are not given clean underwear which leads to infections and rashes.

She said detained women, who are mostly Black and brown, are in extremely vulnerable situations in which “they have no control over their bodies.” “It’s a very exploitative situation,” Shahshahani said of the hysterectomies. “There does not seem to be informed consent … they had pretty much no say in what exactly took place.”

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More Than 1,200 Women And Girls Have Gone Missing In Peru During The Pandemic And Officials Think They Know Why

Things That Matter

More Than 1,200 Women And Girls Have Gone Missing In Peru During The Pandemic And Officials Think They Know Why

Rodrigo Abd / Getty Images

Apart from combating the Coronavirus, Peru has suffered a heartbreaking increase in the number of missing women and girls. Just as hundreds of thousands of women took to the streets to demand an end to gender-based violence, the Coronavirus hit and those same marches have had to be put on hold.

Now, as millions of women are forced to stay at home under strict lockdown orders, they’re spending more time with potentially abusive partners or family members. Many experts believe this combination of circumstances is leading to an increase in domestic violence as hundreds of women in Peru have been reported missing since the start of the pandemic.

Hundreds of women and girls have gone missing since the start of the lockdown.

In Peru, hundreds of women and girls have gone missing and many are feared dead since lockdown orders were put into place to help contain the spread of Covid-19. According to authorities (including Peru’s women’s ministry), at least 1,2000 women and girls have been reported missing since the start of the pandemic – a much higher figure than during non-Coronavirus months.

“The figures are really quite alarming,” Isabel Ortiz, a top women’s rights official, told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday. “We know the numbers of women and girls who have disappeared, but we don’t have detailed information about how many have been found,” she said. “We don’t have proper and up-to-date records.”

Ortiz is pushing the government to start keeping records so that authorities can track those who go missing – whether they are found alive or dead and whether they are victims of sex trafficking, domestic violence or femicide.

The women’s ministry said the government was working to eradicate violence against women and had increased funding this year for gender-based violence prevention programs.

Like many Latin American countries, Peru has long suffered from reports of domestic violence.

Credit: Cecile Lafranco / Getty Images

The Andean nation home to 33 million people has long had a domestic violence problem, but the home confinement measures because of the pandemic has made the situation worse, said Eliana Revollar, who leads the women’s rights office of the National Ombudsman’s office, an independent body that monitors Peru’s human rights.

Before COVID-19, five women were reported missing in Peru every single day, but since the lockdown, that number has surged to eight a day. Countries worldwide have reported increases in domestic violence under coronavirus lockdowns, prompting the United Nations to call for urgent government action.

According to the UN, Latin America has the world’s highest rates of femicide, defined as the gender-motivated killing of women. Almost 20 million women and girls a year are estimated to endure sexual and physical violence in the region.

Latin America and the Caribbean are known for high rates of femicide and violence against women, driven by a macho culture and social norms that dictate women’s roles, Ortiz said. She added, “Violence against women exists because of the many patriarchal patterns that exist in our society.”

“There are many stereotypes about the role of women that set how their behaviour should be, and when these are not adhered to, violence is used against women,” she said.

Before the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of women throughout Latin America, including Peru, were staging mass street demonstrations demanding that their governments should act against gender-based violence.

Meanwhile, the country is also struggling to contain the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Cecile Lafranco / Getty Images

Despite implementing one of the world’s longest running stay-at-home orders, Peru has become one of the hardest hit countries. As of August 11, Peru has confirmed more than 483,000 cases of Coronavirus and 21,276 people have died.

Hospitals are struggling to cope with the rising number of patients and healthcare workers have protested against a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

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