BOGOTA – Thousands of people throughout Latin America are rallying in protest against machismo violence, gathering at national landmarks from the historic Obelisk of Buenos Aires in Argentina to Mexico City’s Independence Square, and taking to the streets of cities from La Alameda in Santiago and Sao Paulo.
The trigger for the protest was murder on Oct 8 of 16-year-old Lucia Perez, who was drugged, raped and impaled in the coastal Argentine city of Mar de Plata. The femicide consequently roused the anger of communities region wide.
The global demonstration was called for in recent days by the collective Argentine advocacy group “Ni Una Menos” (Not One Less), which boosted its voice to protest against femicide using social media networks.
With the name “Black Wednesday,” Buenos Aires was the epicenter of the mobilization, in which thousands of people dressed in mourning clothes demanded “Not one less, we want to live” – a slogan that calls to put an end to violence against women, which takes the lives of more than 200 women in Argentina annually.
Neighboring Southern Cone countries also joined their voices in the collective outrage circulating through every Argentine city and town.
In Montevideo, Uruguay, hundreds of people marched through the city center in the rain under the slogan “We are mobilized with rage, anger and pain.”
According to the Uruguayan National Women’s Institute, the country recorded 21,985 reports of domestic violence this year.
In Chile, tens of thousands of women dressed in black also marched on the main avenue of the capital, demanding tougher penalties against gender-based violence.
Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and former president Sebastian Pinera joined their voices together with institutions such as the Carabineers of Chile and the National Prosecuting Authority of Chile, to spread public awareness messages about femicide, which has taken the lives of 39 women in Chile this year, according to unofficial data.
In the largest city of South America, Sao Paulo in Brazil, a group of women also showed their solidarity for the ill-fated young Argentine girl and against the latent machismo that still persists in social relations between both genders.
Citizens in Asuncion (Paraguay), La Paz (Bolivia) and Lima (Peru) carried candles in a vigil in support of the protest. Central American communities similarly participated, with the cities of Managua (Nicaragua), Panama City, Mexico City and Guadalajara witnessing street rallies to demand women’s rights.
According to the Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America as well as the Caribbean, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (CEPAL), at least 1,678 women were murdered in acts of femicide in the region in 2014.
Twenty countries in Latin America and the Caribbean currently have laws on violence against women, but only eight of them allocate resources from the national budget towards combating the problem.