Juárez Murder Victims Get A Memorial; Families Still Seek Justice
Pink crosses, photos and names are displayed at a newly dedicated memorial for women murder victims in Ciudad Juárez.
Mónica Ortiz Uribe
November 08, 2011

CIUDAD JUÁREZ, Mexico -- On the 10-year anniversary of the gruesome discovery of the bodies of eight women who were murdered in the Ciudad Juárez, authorities inaugurated a monument where their bodies were found.

Little has changed in the investigation of the murders in this Mexican border town. They remain unsolved like the majority of women's murders that began occurring in 1993. Since then, the bodies of hundreds upon hundreds of women were found dumped throughout the city of Juarez; some were raped and mutilated.

A passerby found the eight bodies in 2001 in a vacant lot used partially as a cotton field. It's located along a highly transited street in Juarez, just a couple blocks from where the new American consulate stands today.

Mexican federal human rights sub-secretary Felipe de Jesus Zamora Castro inaugurated the still unfinished memorial Monday morning amid a small crowd of government officials, activists and a group of families whose daughters have disappeared in the last four years.

Photo by Mónica Ortiz Uribe
Felipe de Jesus Zamora Castro, sub-secretary of human rights for Mexico, speaks at the inauguration of the memorial, which honors women slain in Ciudad Juárez.

“We ask for your forgiveness,” Zamora told the crowd. “It is the obligation of the Mexican government to investigate these crimes.”

Two years ago, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled Mexico failed to adequately investigate the so-called “Cotton Field Murders.” The court ruled Mexican authorities must revive the investigation and dedicate a memorial in the victims' memory.

But none of the victims' mothers – who sued the Mexican government – were present at the inauguration. Instead, a group of activists and family members shouted back at the speakers saying: “Do your job!” and “Your apology does not take away our pain!”

Jose Luis Castillo is the father of a 14-year-old who went missing two years ago. He printed his daughter's photo on green rectangular paper made to look like a $200 Mexican peso.

There are so many fliers with pictures of missing girls, he said he had to do something that would get people's attention. Castillo is part of a group of about 20 families whose daughters recently went missing from downtown Juarez.

“We want the police to investigate. We want them to find our daughters alive,” Castillo said. “We don't want them to later present us with a monument to their death.”

He called the memorial inauguration “a circus.”

The memorial was funded by taxpayer money. Meanwhile, Castillo complains the police lack the adequate resources to investigate the cases of more than 100 missing women.

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