MEXICO CITY – Journalist Humberto Padgett said in an interview with Efe that 1,997 women were murdered during Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2005-2011 term as governor of Mexico state, a figure that officials have tried to gloss over by promoting an image of a president who is adored by women.
Padgett contends in his new book, titled “Las muertas del estado. Feminicidios durante la administracion mexiquense de Enrique Peña Nieto,” that Mexico state, which surrounds the Federal District and forms part of the Mexico City metropolitan area, is the region experiencing the highest level of violence against women and registering the fewest reported cases.
Peña Nieto “acknowledged that he won the governorship of Mexico state in 2005 thanks to the women” and said the same thing after winning the presidency in 2012, Padgett told Efe.
“What we found at various times is the obstinate concealment of the figures on the real state of their safety during his administration,” the author said.
Many non-governmental organizations warned the man who is now Mexico’s president about the situation, the number of victims and the brutality of the slayings, Padgett said.
Strangulation was the most common method used to kill women and the murderers were usually relatives or members of the victims’ community, Padgett said.
An analysis of statistics covering the 1990-2011 period found that Mexico state, which was governed by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) for more than 80 years, topped the list for violent deaths of women in both absolute and relative terms, the journalist said.
Killings of women have sometimes surpassed, in percentage terms, the female homicide rate in Chihuahua state, which is home to Ciudad Juarez, a border city that has made the news for registering a large number of murders and disappearances of women, Padgett said.
Unlike Chihuahua, the situation in Mexico state “has become invisible” because of the lack of change in party control over the governorship and an absence of public pressure for “a right as fundamental” as the safety of women, the journalist said.
Peña Nieto did nothing to deal with this “enormous problem” and passed it on to his successor, Eruviel Avila, Padgett, who has won two Mexican National Journalism Prizes, a King of Spain Journalism Prize and an Ortega y Gasset Prize, said.