Things That Matter

Indigenous Environmental Activist Irma Galindo Barrios Has Been Found Ten Days After Going Missing

To be a journalist, an elected official, a business owner, and an activist in Mexico can be very risky. The same could be said for other countries as well. Speaking your mind, making changes, and reporting facts can cost you your life. Many people have died because of the work they do in Mexico. So, anytime anyone goes missing, people go on high-alert because it’s never just a random thing. These matters are very serious and need to be addressed.

On Nov. 10, an environmentalist based in Oaxaca went missing. Her name is Irma Galindo Barrios, and her activism work focuses on the protection of the forest in Oaxaca.

Credit: irmis.barrios / Facebook

Just weeks before, when she went missing, the 36-year-old posted on her Facebook that she felt she was being threatened by the president and commissioner of San Esteban Atatlahuaca, Oaxaca, among others. 

“For days my own neighbors told me that they will come for me,” she wrote on Oct. 27. Galindo Barrios added that she is “only an artisan and ecologist and healer.” She said that local officials were spreading lies about her. 

“It is the same strategy that the commissioner and the president used to get me out of town hall because I did not agree to invest more in alcohol than in cultural activities,” she added, “I live in good view Totoi in case they want to come for me, just let me know beforehand to wait for them.”

On Nov. 8, she made a post on Facebook in which she called out local officials for not protecting the communities from loggers. She went missing two days later. 

Credit: @UnoNoticias / Twitter

Galindo Barrios posted information about the injuries, and reportedly, their subsequent death of two people in the forest of San Esteban Atatlahuca. She wrote that people in the area needed protection. 

According to blogs, Galindo Barrios’s partner has asked officials for protection in the past, but the request has never been granted. 

Just yesterday, Galindo Barrios was apparently found after ten days of her unknown whereabouts. According to reports, she hid in the forest for protection in fear that her life was in danger. 

Credit: @Altavoznoticias / Twitter

Gloria Flores, who works with the National Network of Human Rights Defenders, reports that Galindo Barrios’s house was burned and added that the most terrifying aspect is that Galindo Barrios “denounced the situation” occurring in her native land and nothing has been done about it. Flores added that Galindo Barrios must be able to continue her work as a defender of environmental rights, in order to protect their land and protect others from intimidation or worse. 

While the work of activists in Mexico has always been under threat, reports show that the lives of activists are considerably in danger more now than ever before.

Credit: @Andalalucha / Twitter

According to Amnesty International and Global Witness, at least 41 activists have been killed in the past three years. The trend has been increasing since 2017. Amnesty International reports that 12 murders happened this year alone. Amnesty International’s Americas director Erika Guevara-Rosas said that Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador should call out the atrocities against activists and should do something to protect them.

She called their work incredibly important to the country, and are “brave defenders of the land, territory, and environment face constant danger in Mexico.” She the president must “publicly recognize activists for their invaluable contribution to the protection of natural resources.”

The threat against environmentalists is an extremely serious situation in Mexico. In 2018, indigenous rights activist Julián Carrillo who was also an environmentalist activist like Galindo Barrios was killed in Chihuahua after numerous threats against him and his family.

Credit: @AIMexico / Twitter

“After a year, the Mexican authorities still haven’t tried those responsible for Carrillo’s death. As of now, two people have been detained and are being investigated, but they still haven’t determined responsibility,” Amnesty International said in a press release. They added, “The fight for the rights of the land and against indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources, carried out by defenders of land and territory, deserves all of our solidarity and support, given our fundamental obligation to leave a healthy environment for future generations.” 

Galindo Barrios has yet to make a public statement about what happened to her while she was missing and what she plans to do next.

READ: In Mexico, Feminist Activists Honored Victims of Femicide by Marching During What they Called “Día de Muertas”

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Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

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Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

Last week, Mexican feminist activists took over the National Human Rights Commissions federal building in a move to bring greater awareness to the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide that has racked Mexico for decades.

According to the federal Interior Secretariat, the statistics in Mexico have recently taken a turn for the worse.

Domestic violence against women has became an even more acute problem since the pandemic has forced women to stay insider with their abusers. Emergency distress calls reporting domestic violence have risen by 50%.

The occupation of the Human Rights building is just another chapter in the saga of the “Ni Una Menos” (Not One More Woman) movement, an anti-femicide collective born in Argentina that has steadily been gaining steam in Mexico since 2019.

In recent years, anti-femicide demonstrations have been sparked by various heinous crimes against women or girls that have been largely overlooked by law enforcement officials. 

Photo by Marcos Brindicci/Getty Images

Unfortunately, the government of Mexico has appeared to be apathetic to the wave of femicide that is overwhelming the women of their country.

Recently, when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was asked to address Mexico’s gender violence epidemic, he demurred, stating that he didn’t “want femicide to detract” from the raffle his administration was holding for the sale of the presidential airplane.

As for the feminist activists at the heart of Ni Una Menos and the federal building occupation, the government’s failure to respond to anti-woman violence is the primary fuel for their anger. 

“We’re here so that the whole world will know that in Mexico they kill women and nobody does anything about it,” said Yesenia Zamudio to the LA Times. According to Zamudio, she is still seeking justice for the murder of her 19-year-old daughter four years ago.

The women of Mexico appear to be fed up, grasping at any and all tactics that have the potential to incite change on a grander scale.

Their tactics may seem dramatic to some, but it’s undeniable that they are no longer being ignored. As of now, the radical activists are pulling attention-grabbing stunts like decorating a portrait of Mexican Revolution leader Francisco Madero with lipstick and purple hair.

They’re also making headlines for vandalizing the federal building’s walls and splashing paint on the doors of the presidential palace.

One thing is for sure: something has to change. Otherwise, thousands of innocent women and girls will continue to be raped, abused, and murdered while their perpetrators escape with immunity. 

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

Chip Somodevilla / Gettycc

After weeks of speculation and anticipation, presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he has officially picked his running mate.

In a history-making announcement, Biden revealed that he had tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his VP Pick.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden announced in a tweet.

On Wednesday, Biden held his first campaign event alongside running mate Kamala Harris in Delaware.

During their speeches, the two candidates wore masks and kept their distance in keeping with COVID-19 standards.

Speaking about his VP pick, Biden described Harris as coming from an “America’s story.” Biden described Harris as “a child of immigrants” who “knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the United States of America,” he explained. “And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls that feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today — today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as president and vice presidents.”

In a speech of her own, Harris emphasized the importance of family and urged citizens to vote.  “We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be,” she said. “Joe likes to say that character is on the ballot. And it’s true,” she explained. “I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great. But ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most.”

Harris’s nomination makes her the first Black and first Indian-American woman on either major party’s presidential ticket.

Harris is a former prosecutor from California who challenged Biden in her own presidential bid last year. Her nomination makes her the fourth woman to appear on a major presidential ballot. Before her, Geraldine Ferraro ran as a Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984. In 2008, Republican Sarah Palin ran as a vice presidential nominee, later in 2016, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic presidential nominee.

Biden’s choice was one that has long been in the works. In March of this year, he revealed that he would make a point to have a woman as his running mate and in July he announced that he had narrowed his picks down to four Black women.

Kamala Harris was elected to Congress in 2016.

This has been Harris’ first term as a senator. Before, she served as the California attorney general. During her time as AG, Harris formed a lasting friendship with Biden’s late son Beau who was attorney general at the time in Delaware. Writing about Beau’s death, in her memoir The Truths We Hold, Harris recalled that “there were periods when I was taking the heat when Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day,” she wrote in her memoir. “We had each other’s backs.”

Biden’s son Beau died in 2015 from brain cancer. Harris attended his funeral.

During his announcement, Biden mentioned Harris’ friendship with his son.

“I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,” Biden tweeted. “I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

So far, it seems there are quite a bit of Harris x Biden supporters.

Fans were quick to give their support and applaud her candidacy.

In a tweet acknowledging her nomination, Harris wrote “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Here’s to 2020 y’all. Get ready to make history.

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