By Gabriela Ramírez and Alicia Mendoza
Mexico, April (SEMlac). - The number of cases of political violence against women has grown by over 300 per cent in the last three years.
Santiago Nieto, an attorney specialized in electoral crime, recently indicated that the state of Guerrero alone had seen 38 cases in the 2015 elections.
"There had been only two cases in the 2012 elections," he recalled.
In the 2017 elections, there have so far been acts of political violence in six states (Baja California, Campeche, Coahuila, Jalisco, Veracruz, and Oaxaca), out of a total of 32.
Women endure this type of violence even after they become local governors and MPs.
State of Mexico
There are three women nominated for governors in the state of Mexico: Delfina Gómez (National Regeneration Movement), Josefina Vázquez (National Action Party), and Teresa Castell (an independent candidate).
Acts of political violence were seen right after the process began. Gómez announced that the National Action Party and the Democratic Revolution Party had strongly attacked her on the social networks.
She said she had never had an affair with the former mayor accused of masterminding the event whereby 43 primary school teachers in Ayotzinapa had gone missing.
In 2016, the Attorney's Office for Electoral Crimes (FEPADE) had reported a couple of cases and, a year later, Mónica Fragoso, former candidate to mayor in Toluca, announced she had been expelled from the National Action Party by Genaro Martínez, a local leader, just because she was a woman.
Last October, Yomali Mondragón, an MP representing the Democratic Revolution Party, submitted a bill to the legislature seeking to amend the law on women's right to a violence-free society. However, no progress has been made along these lines.
The election process covers local government bodies, regional councils, and town halls. Mary Thelam, of the Democratic Revolution Party, is the only woman running for governor.
Gabriela León, former president of the Observatory on Women's Political Participation in Coahuila, recently indicated that, while women account for 52 per cent of the electoral roll, many still think that they are not good nominees.
In 2016, the Electoral Institute in Coahuila rejected a proposal to appoint Heidi E. Hernández alderwoman.
FEPADE undertook an investigation in early 2017, shortly after a local council member had been harassed by political party leaders.
The process involves local government bodies, regional councils, and town halls. There is no woman running for governor.
In September 2015, MP coordinator Sonia Ibarra submitted a bill against political crimes.
In 2016, FEPADE investigated some actions aimed at hindering the electoral functions of council members in Nayarit.
Elections cover 212 town halls. Half of nominees are women.
In June 2016, the state Congress adopted a bill incorporating gender-based political violence into the law on women's right to a violence-free society.
There have been no political-violence reports made public so far.
Last March 9, the Senate adopted a bill sanctioning gender-based political violence.
It established that this form of political violence includes pressure, persecution, harassment, coercion, humiliation, discrimination, threats, etc.
Fines range from 50 to 200 dollars and imprisonment, from six months to six years.
Rosa Pérez, municipal president in San Pedro Chenalhó (Chiapas), representing the Green Party of Mexico, won the elections on July 19, 2015 and, on May 25, 2016, the local Congress requested her resignation.
On August 17, 2016, the Electoral Court asked her to get back to her position. There have been, however, no conditions created for such a move.
Felicitas Muñoz, municipal president in Culiacan (Guerrero), representing the Citizen Movement, won the elections on June 7, 2015 and took office on September 31 of that year. In May 2016, three aldermen accused her of misappropriation, but produced no evidence whatsoever.
Her house was hit by bullets, and she has not been able to govern from the town hall because it has been taken over by her assailants.
"These are clear manifestations of political violence that seek to prevent women from fully exercising their political rights," said former senator Martha Tagle.
There have been around 20 cases of political violence duly documented in Oaxaca, especially in San Pedro Atoyac, Santiago Pinotepa, Santiago Lachiguiri, Santo Domingo Zanatepec, Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, Cuicatlán, San Juan Bautista de Soto, San Dionisio del Mar, San Pablo Huixtepec, San José Independencia, Santiago Xanica, San Martín Peras, Valle Nacional, San Andrés Cabecera Nueva, San Juan Cotzocón and, more recently, in San Esteban Atatlahuca.
Samantha Caballero, municipal president in San Juan Bautista del Soto (Oaxaca), representing the Independent Revolution Party, won the elections on June 5, 2016. Several days before she took office, she was harassed, but did not give in.
However, she has not been able to perform her functions as she should for security reasons.
Yareli Cariño, a lawyer born in Pinotepa, was invited to run for governor in 2016. She was soon sexually harassed by a local MP.
Irma Aguilar, municipal president in San Pedro Atoyac, indicated that she has been threatened, insulted, physically attacked, and requested to resign.