Mexico president's response to historic femicide protests: more of the same

A day after thousands protested against the murder of women and girls, López Obrador said he would ‘reinforce the same strategy’

A day after Mexico’s women collectively shut down the country in an eruption of fury over gender violence, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has insisted that he will not try a new strategy to stop femicides.

Thousands of women went on strike on Monday, in a historic protest against the murder of women and girls – and the failure of successive governments’ efforts to stop a crisis in which around 10 women are murdered every day.

But asked on Tuesday if he would consider a new approach to the problem, López Obrador replied: “No – on the contrary, we are going to reinforce the same strategy of looking at the causes of violence.”

The comments echoed the president’s previous response to Mexico’s spiraling drug war violence, which he has insisted can be reined in with an ill-defined policy of “moral renewal”.

López Obrador, known as Amlo went on to list a litany of possible solutions, including “finding ways to live in a better society … [making sure] that there is no unemployment, that there are good salaries, that family disintegration is avoided, that there are proper salaries, that values are strengthened.”

He did not use the word “femicide” or mention any gender issues or specific security concerns for women.

He did, however, cast himself as the victim of a conspiracy as he accused “conservatives” of “putting on the mask of feminism and saying, ‘we’re going to get rid of the government.’”

People participate in a protest against gender-based violence outside the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, 18 February 2020.
People participate in a protest against gender-based violence outside the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on 18 February 2020. Photograph: Gustavo Graf/Reuters

A string of especially gruesome murders have injected new urgency into Mexican women’s calls for action on femicides.

But Amlo has repeatedly voiced misgivings about the growing women’s protests.

In one press conference, he appeared bothered by a question on femicides – which he said overshadowed his plans to raffle off the presidential aircraft.

One of his cabinet members advised women against striking on the grounds that they might be “tempted to do the dishes” if they stayed at home.

Amlo surged to power on a promise to overturn “neoliberal” policies, but has proved stubbornly unmoved by social issues such as abortion, marriage equality – and women’s rights.

“Amlo sees that these protests are organized by groups other than his – so he just dismisses them,” said Alicia Islas, a doctoral student and public policy instructor at the Autonomous National University of Mexico.


David Agren in Mexico City

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
'Amlo made us public enemy No 1': why feminists are Mexico's voice of opposition
A president who claims to represent the dispossessed faces widespread backlash over his tacit support for a politician accused of rape

Elisabeth Malkin in Mexico City

08, Mar, 2021 @11:00 AM

Article image
Mexico: activists voice anger at Amlo's failure to tackle 'femicide emergency'
Many hoped Mexico’s leftwing president would take decisive action to slow a wave of killing. Instead, they say, things are getting worse

Tom Phillips in Mexico City

05, Mar, 2020 @11:41 AM

Article image
Mexico protests against attacks on women turn violent, as tension with president escalates
Protesters angry that López Obrador has supported politician accused of sexual assault are calling for greater protections for women

David Agren in Mexico City

09, Mar, 2021 @6:11 AM

Article image
Mexico police open fire on femicide protest in Cancún
Four journalists injured in clashes in Caribbean city after protests about murder of 20-year-old woman in latest gender-based killing

Madeleine Wattenbarger in Mexico City

10, Nov, 2020 @6:33 PM

Article image
Mexico opposition targets governor's race that would 'prove president's failure'
Morena party leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador campaigns in Mexico state in hopes of historic victory that could seal Enrique Peña Nieto’s fate

Nina Lakhani in Atlacomulco

26, May, 2017 @10:30 AM

Article image
Femicides rise in Mexico as president cuts budgets of women's shelters
New figures reflect surge in violence against women during pandemic while government implements austerity measures

David Agren in Mexico City

22, Jul, 2020 @10:00 AM

Article image
Mexico president rebuked for careless response to Covid after testing positive
Andrés Manuel López Obrador tests positive day after saying crisis nearing the end and ‘little lights’ at end of tunnel could be seen

David Agren in Mexico City

25, Jan, 2021 @6:47 PM

Article image
'We'll disappear': Thousands of Mexican women strike to protest femicide
Day Without Women protesters aim to shine a light on government inaction as more than ten women are murdered every day

Maya Averbuch in Mexico City

09, Mar, 2020 @6:58 PM

Article image
Mexican women's patience snaps at Amlo's inaction on femicide
Feminists seize human rights office to force President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to tackle grim toll of rape and murder

Madeleine Wattenbarger in Mexico City

16, Sep, 2020 @3:22 PM

Article image
Prosecutors in Mexico seeking arrest warrants for more than 30 scientists
Scientific community is outraged, saying charges of organised crime are an attempt by Mexico’s president to silence them

David Agren

24, Sep, 2021 @3:58 PM