Feminists occupy CNDH in Mexico

After two years of heightened resistance against macho violence in Mexico, the mothers of victims of feminicides and forced disappearances took the bold step of occupying the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH in Spanish) in Mexico City.

The mothers had met with CNDH Director Rosario Piedra Ibarra in their quest for justice, but according to a story in Desinformémonos, the meeting was held in vain. Before stating their intention to call for takeovers of CNDH headquarters in states throughout the country, they announced that “The head of this commission hasn’t paid us the least bit of attention.” Feminist groups and collectives immediately arrived to occupy the offices located at República de Cuba 60 in the downtown area, where they set up a collection center for food, clothing, water and school supplies.

Radio Zapatista and Voices in Movement report that “Overtaking the facilities was done by women of all ages, children, and some male relatives of the older women. When they arrived, they could not believe what they found in the cupboards of the CNDH: fine cuts of meat, ice cream buckets, cans of mushrooms from Zamora, imported sugar, and high-end vegetables and fruit. The family members (who are also victims), have not eaten food like this in years because their expenses go towards transportation and other extra costs in the search for justice. Economically, they have spent all their savings but more importantly they are emotionally worn out.…”

Among the women seeking justice is “Flor, a street artist who supports the feminist collective, and every night delights their eyes with her fire show and juggling. The women at the shelter do not want money and are not part of a political party. Their daughters were killed, raped and disappeared. They want justice. Justice that has been denied to them for years.”

One of the groups involved in the takeover is the Black Block, which has taken a stand on the roof of the building. A member of the group, Anda Lucha, informs us that when eleven women are killed every day and protests fall on deaf ears, people tend to take more extreme measures. On September 4, 2020, the mothers, sisters and friends of the victims of gender violence took over the CNDH in Mexico City to protest against the apathy surrounding their kidnappings, murders, abuses and disappearances.  For almost two weeks they have held forth at the space now known as the Occupied Refuge Shelter “Not One Less.” Dozens of women from all over Mexico have arrived with a wide variety of demands.

CNDH takeovers, along with marches and other forms of protest, have taken place in more than ten states in the country, including Sonora,  Chihuahua, Nayarit, Jalisco (Guadalajara), Yucatán, Michoacán, Veracruz, Aguascalientes, Puebla, Guerrero (Acapulco and Chilpancingo) Chiapas, and Oaxaca  with rebellious art splashed on the walls of the occupied buildings. The criminalization of the struggle in most commercial news media and the police repression have been heavy.

In Ecatepec, Mexican State, for example, women were beaten, sprayed with fire extinguishers, threatened and arrested. According to a statement sent out by Manada Periférica, police agents arrested 17 persons, including 6 under-aged children. Some of the women shouted out that the cops had their badges covered up and that they were taking them away in unmarked cars.  According to an article published in It’s Going Down,

“The women confirm that the seizure of the building of the Human Rights Commission of Mexico State, is a ‘response to the lack of attention, commitment and justice from the State for victims’ to continued femicide and patriarchal violence. Later in the day, in response to the State repression early in the morning, a group of women returned to the human rights building that was evicted, setting it on fire.”

A group of women, girls and grandmothers from the indigenous NaSavi, Me ?pháá, Nahua, Ñamnkué, Mestiza and Afro-Mexican communities on behalf of (CIPOG-EZ) from the state of Guerrero visited the occupied #NotOneLess space in the former CNDH to express their solitary and denounce  the feminicides that occur in their communities. Their statement:

We want to say to women who are struggling all over the world and to those who decided a few days ago to take over this building that supposedly represents the defense of Human Rights in this country that we as indigenous peoples have a great respect for your struggle, and we also know what it means to be ignored as we suffer, what it means to be killed and displaced without anyone caring, as if we weren’t people, as if we weren’t worth a thing. If we live or die, it doesn’t matter. Nobody sees it, nobody hears about it. They can walk right over us and keep right on going. Our poverty, our misery, our death represents, at the most, a disturbance for so-called capitalist progress.  

Comrades, you are a great example that life does matter, and that it is necessary to do whatever has to be done to defend it. You are an example that, even though most people say just the opposite, it is and always will be our duty to condemn injustice and struggle for life.” #zapatistas #indigena

On September 15, when the president of Mexico and high officials in other states habitually give el Grito, to celebrate the Independence of Mexico, this year there were several “anti-gritas”, or shout outs of “Not one more. Not one more. Not one more woman killed,”  accompanied by music.

Desinformémonos reports that at the Occupied Shelter “Not One Less”  in Mexico City, the mothers of victims of macho violence and disappearances, and the feminist collectives that accompany them joined in singing the  “Song without Fear” by Vivir Quintana.