She is credited with making the phrase “Ni una muerta mas,” (not one more dead woman) but 36 year old Susanna Chavez, an activist and poet who struggled for justice for the countless dead and disappeared women of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico became una mas when her body was found on Dia de los Reyes, January 6. She had been strangled and her left hand had been cut off.
What has happened since her body was found and identified follows the pattern of what some have called cover-ups to outright indifference regarding the death and disappearances in the Juarez region. Mexican officials say that Sanchez’s murder was not related to her activism or drug violence. Rather, Mexican officials seem to be engaging in some victim blaming.
Mexican police have been quoted as calling what happened “unfortunate” , saying that Chavez was partying and drinking with three 17 year old young men. Some accounts have her killed after she told the young men she was a police officer. Other accounts say she refused to have sex with one of the young men.
Many of the deaths in Juarez have been of working class and poor women travelling to and from work in the maquiladoras. Other women killed have included sex workers. All of the women are not women whose lives/labor are thought of as valuable by law enforcement. Rather the women are seen as disposable, parts of a larger system of cheap labor that are sexualized and can be replaces easily because of poverty in the area. The murder of Susana Chavez feels like it is already being thrown under the same dirty carpet. The questions no doubt will ask what she was doing and why she was doing it, not what is it about Ciudad Juarez that makes it ok to kill and mutilate a women for any reason.