Paul Lachine

The Drug-War Femicides

It is increasingly dangerous to be a woman in Mexico and most of Central America, where women are being murdered with alarming frequency – a byproduct of the "war" on drug trafficking. Unfortunately, none of the initiatives to reduce the rate of femicide proposes steps that would end the war that is fueling the violence.

BARCELONA – The number of women murdered is increasing in most of Central America and Mexico. In some countries, such as Honduras, the increase is four times that of men. Moreover, many of these murders are committed with extreme violence – sexual savagery, torture, and mutilations – by perpetrators (often involved in organized crime) acting with a high degree of impunity.

In countries like Chile, Argentina, and Costa Rica, where overall levels of violence are lower, the murders of women are usually committed with less violence, by partners or ex-partners in the context of “domestic abuse.”

In Latin America, all of these crimes are known as “femicides”: murders of women precisely for being women. Cases associated with domestic violence are treated leniently by courts; in some countries, jealousy or the absence of previous convictions can reduce the punishment. Those committed by strangers, often with intense cruelty – and often linked to organized-crime groups such as the Central American maras – rarely end up in court at all.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles from our archive every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.


By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.