Irma Casas: violence in Ciudad Juarez is worse than ever

Irma Casas,

Special to Latinocalifornia

Irma Casas, of the women’s shelter Casa Amiga in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, spoke to the general public and members of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, about the violence against women, children and femicides in the border city at an event held at the Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center on Wednesday, March 20.

The current year 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of the public denouncing of the femicides that have brought infamy to the Mexican city.

Casas said that violence is commonplace in Ciudad Juarez, reportedly considered one of the most violent cities in the planet–and until recently called the «murder capital of the world.» Ironically, she said, Juarez is located next to El Paso, Texas, which has been reportedly dubbed one of the safest cities in the U.S.

Casas said that Mexico’s so-called drug war has turned into a war against its own citizens.

Journalists have also been killed in the midst of the violence in that city in recent years.

About 70 journalists and media workers have been killed in Mexico since 2000 and approximately another dozen have gone missing since 2003, according to the group Reporters Without Borders. «Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in Latin America for press freedom and one of the deadliest places in the world for journalists,» has said the group in press statements.

By talking to the media and the American public about the reality she sees in Juarez, Casas hopes to put pressure on the Mexican government to bring about justice and an end to the culture of impunity and corruption that prevails in Ciudad Juarez. She said that murders are rarely investigated and only 1 percent are prosecuted.

Casa Amiga, or friendly home, is a shelter for women who are victims of abuse. It has also expanded services to abused children and families victims of violence, including those whose daughters and sons have been killed and disappeared.

The shelter relies on grants and public support to provide services.

For more information about Casa Amiga, visit www.casa-amiga.org.mx.

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