Things That Matter

Mexico’s Murder Rate Is At A Historical High And The Debate About Border Policies Is More Caliente Than Ever

Since former president Felipe Calderon Hinojosa launched a full-fledged military attack on Mexico’s drug cartels back in 2006, the country has been locked in a humanitarian crisis. Clandestine graveyards pop up all around the country and families take matters into their own hands and try to find their loved ones’ remains.

Entire towns live in fear of both the army and the cartel sicarios (hitmen). Young men are lured or kidnapped to become “soldiers” for organized crime, and young women fall prey to human traffickers who exploit their bodies. Some politicians and journalists live in fear of being executed. There are regions, such as particular municipalities in states such as Guerrero and Michoacán, where the authorities have ceased to try to restore the order and self-defense groups have popped up. Things in some regions of the country are, to say the least, dire. 

In 2018, a leftist candidate who had sought the presidency in two previous occasions, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, won the election and promised to stop violence and corruption. Things have been a bit more complicated than that. 

The first half of 2019 has seen the all-time high murder rate in the country’s history: at least 17,608 people have been murdered.

Credit: @Mauricio_35M / Twitter

Let that sink in. This number is just unbelievable: translate the figure into a small town and you will get the magnitude of the problem. Of course, many are blaming the incumbent president. To the murders one has to add the number of sexual assaults, kidnappings and other crimes that put people at risk. 

This figure translates into 97 murders per day!

Credit: @elarmadoguerra / Twitter

As the Associated Press reports, “Since Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador entered office in December 2018, there have been 20,599 murders recorded”. Things definitely cannot change de un dia para otro, but reality has really bitten deep into people’s hopes in the new administration. 

Numbers are actually increasing.

Credit: @AlDiaDallas / Twitter

The Daily Mail breaks down the numbers: “The number of murders grew by 5.3% compared to the same period of 2018, when 16,714 people were killed.

Mexico saw 3,080 killings in June, an increase of over 8% from the same month a year ago, according to official figures. The nation of almost 125 million now sees as many as 100 killings per day nationwide.”

Violence is particularly concentrated in the Northern states, as reported by the AP: “The northeastern state of Nuevo León reported 486 murders from January until June in contrast with 282 during the same period in 2018. In particular, drug cartel turf wars have become increasingly bloody in the northern state of Sonora, where the number of homicides was up by 69% in the first half of 2019. Officials registered 564 killings after 337 were murdered last year. But in Sinaloa, where the cartel of convicted drug lord Joaquín ‘El Chapo’ Guzmán is based, homicides declined by 23% so far this year compared to last.” 

North of the Border conservative anti-immigration voices have seen this as an opportunity to spill their bile.

Credit: @ApostleRichThomas / Twitter

Like this dude, whose logic is just not right: man, people are FLEEING the violence, they are victims, not perpetrators! This type of logic makes us think of how damaging the label of “bad hombres” continues to be.

This is also the stance taken by the highest levels of government, as reported by Daily News Sri Lanka: “However, President Trump has often referred to Mexico ‘one of the most dangerous countries in the world’ and claimed the murder rate in the country has increased. A recent Trump tweet said “The Coyotes and Drug Cartels are in total control of the Mexico side of the Southern Border. They have labs nearby where they make drugs to sell into the U.S. Mexico, one of the most dangerous countries in the world, must eradicate this problem now. Also, stop the MARCH to U.S.”, and could raise questions about it being a ‘safe country’.”

Human rights activists, on the contrary, use this murder rate record to point out how inadequate the #RemainInMexico policy is.

Credit: @HumanRightsFirst / Twitter

Let’s repeat this again for those anti immigration voices: people migrate because they have no other choice in their home countries, not because they want to. They see it as a way of survival rather than as an opportunity to profit from the system. 

The crisis has also emboldened some pro-legalization voices.

Credit: Twitter. @mcgovern

He has got a point: the main problem is that Mexico is the passageway of drugs into the most profitable market in the world, the United States. A new legal framework would certainly reshuffle the status quo of criminal networks. Reality is a bit more complicated.

Others in the United States point out that some cities in the country are as violent as towns South of the Border.

Credit: @ChrisCoons / Twitter

Violence in Mexico is also a good opportunity to talk about communities that live at risk, such as some areas of Detroit – right here in the US.

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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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A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

Culture

A University Is Releasing A Historic Mexican Cookbook Filled With Recipes You’d Want To Try

UTSA

The University of Texas San Antonio is bringing the history of Mexico into our kitchens. The university is releasing cookbooks that are collections of historic Mexican recipes. Right now, the desserts book is out and online for free. Main dishes and appetizers/drinks are coming soon.

You can now taste historic Mexico thanks to the University of Texas San Antonio.

UTSA has had an ongoing project of preserving, collecting, and digitizing cookbooks from throughout Mexico’s history. Some books date back to the 1700s and offer a look into Mexico’s culinary arts and its evolution.

UTSA has been digitizing Mexican cookbooks for years and the work is now being collected for people in the time of Covid.

Millions of us are still at home and projects like these can be very exciting and exactly what you need. The recipes are a way to distract yourself from the current reality.

“The e-pubs allow home cooks to use the recipes as inspiration in their own kitchens,” Dean Hendrix, the dean of UTSA Libraries, said in UTSA Today. “Our hope is that many more people will not only have access to these wonderful recipes but also interact with them and experience the rich culture and history contained in the collection.”

The free downloads are a way for people to get a very in-depth look into Mexican food history.

The first of three volumes of the cookbooks focuses on desserts so you can learn how to make churros, chestnut flan, buñelos, and rice pudding. What better way to spend your quarantine than learning how to make some of these yummy desserts. We all love sweets, right?

If you want to get better with making your favorite desserts, check out this cookbook and make it happen.

There is nothing better than diving into your history and using food as your guide. Food is so intrinsically engrained in our DNAs and identities. We love the foods and sweets from our childhood because they hold a clue as to who we are and where we come from. This historical collection of recipes throughout history is the perfect way to make that happen.

READ: The Laziest Food Hacks In All Of The Land Would Send Your Abuela To The Chancla

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