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Mexico: Protests Against Nomination of Arturo Chávez for Attorney General

Human rights activists in Ciudad Juárez are opposing the recent nomination of Arturo Chávez Chávez as the Attorney General of Mexico. He was nominated by the Mexican President Felipe Calderón. Protesters claim that Chávez’s track record regarding human rights work leaves much to be desired and point to the time when he was the Attorney General of the State of Chihuahua in the early 1990s. This was a time when Ciudad Juárez erupted in a violent wave of femicides—mass murder of women. Most of the protesters and activists are the mothers, family members, and friends of the deceased or missing women. They claim that public officials from Chihuahua have been involved in covering up the crimes and have not done much to solve them.

As chief prosecutor for the state of Chihuahua, Chávez has been denounced by Mexican and international human rights organizations, as described by The Rag Blog, which writes about Fear and Loathing in Mexico: A Pandemic of Paranoia. These organizations include the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH), the Inter-American Human Rights Commission (CIDH), members of the European Parliament, and others from the international human rights community.

Concern about the deaths of the women from Juárez has attracted international attention, and feminist activists like Eve Ensler, creator of the Vagina Monologues and actress Sally Field have led marches through the industrial city.

The blog Resistencia Hasta el Fin [es] makes reference to sexist and misogynist comments made by Chávez [es] about the murdered women, such as “If they raped and killed them (the women) it wasn't because they were going to Mass” and “They are at fault for being attacked, for the provocative way that they dress.” It is comments like these that make activists say that Chávez is unqualified for the job for which he is nominated.

The death toll continues to climb and many crimes remain unsolved, leaving the community with little recourse but to take matters into their own hands by forming grassroots non-profit groups to shed light on the issue of the border city femicides. Nuestras Hijas de Regreso a Casa A.C. [es] (May Our Daughters Return Home, Civil Association) is at the forefront of the current protests which have taken the streets in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, bordering the city of El Paso in Texas. They also held protests in Chihuahua's state capital and nation’s capital, Mexico City. Protesters who traveled to Mexico City on September 14, 2009 were unsuccessful in their attempts to speak directly with members of the Senate regarding Chavez’s negligent human rights track record.

Carolina of the blog Zapateando [es] writes about the Mexico City protest and how family members of the murdered women have mobilized against Chávez.

“¡No pasará!” gritaron alrededor de 50 manifestantes frente a la sede del Senado de la República, para exigir que los legisladores voten en contra del nombramiento de Arturo Chávez Chávez como procurador general del país.

“He won’t pass!” shouted about 50 protesters in front of the Senate building to demand the legislators vote against the nomination of Arturo Chávez Chávez as Mexico’s Attorney General.

Chávez met with the Senate on September 21, 2009. Blogger and twitterer Jesús Robles (@roblesmaloof) is a self-described human rights activist and witnessed the Senate hearings. He took pictures and videos of some of the testimony against Chávez from some of the witnesses who were present.

Mothers of some of the murdered women from Ciudad Juárez testifying in the Senate. Photo by Jesús Robles and used with permission.

Mothers of some of the murdered women from Ciudad Juárez testifying in the Senate. Photo by Jesús Robles and used with permission.

He also took this video of protests outside the Senate:

However, the PAN political party has already nodded in his favor regarding the nomination. Ganchoblog writes that Chávez is likely to pass since three Senators who would be vital to derailing his nomination as Attorney General will not stand in his way.

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