Mexico City’s attorney general and mayor promised justice and offered a US$107,000 reward for information.
Relatives of a seven-year-old girl murdered in Mexico said Monday the government had failed to protect her despite their pleas for help, while President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador blamed the crime on neo-liberal economics.
Fatima Cecilia Aldrighett went missing on Feb. 11. Her body was discovered over the weekend inside a plastic garbage bag in Mexico City’s Tlahuac neighborhood, only days after another murder of a young woman triggered angry protests.
“Fatima is not with us because the protocols were not followed, because the institutions did not give the attention they should have,” Lopez said, her voice breaking with emotion as she spoke to reporters. “We will not forget her.” Sonia Lopez, Aldrighett’s aunt, said the girl could have been found alive if authorities had listened to the family.
Lopez said precious hours were wasted after Aldrighett was reported missing. She also said social services had not heeded earlier calls to help the girl’s mother, who has health problems, support her daughter.
Asked about the girl’s death, Lopez Obrador said he was sure authorities would catch the perpetrators, but said punishment alone was not the solution.
The bigger challenge, he said, was Mexican society, which he said had “fallen into decline, a progressive degradation that has to do with the neo-liberal model. “There is a deep crisis of loss of values.”
Lopez Obrador is the first openly leftist president following a series of centrist governments who implemented pro-market policies such as economic liberalization since the 1980s.
Family members and parents protested on Monday outside Aldrighett’s home and her school, where she was seen leaving accompanied by an adult woman last week. #JuticiaParaFatima, or Justice for Fatima, was tweeted 179,000 times and her name was a top global trend.
The girl’s grandfather, Guillermo Anton Godinez, standing outside the family’s modest home in a poor neighborhood with tears streaming down his face, said Lopez Obrador could not blame only his predecessors for Mexico’s problems.
The murder of the girl came after women on Friday daubed the words “femicide state” in blood-red on the door of Mexico’s National Palace and demanded justice for 25-year-old Ingrid Escamilla, whose killer skinned her body last week.
Lopez Obrador on Monday asked the protesters not to paint the walls and door of the palace, saying his government was working to end the murder of women.
An average of 10 women a day is killed in Mexico and the year 2019, the first of Lopez Obrador’s government, set an overall homicide record, official data shows. Victims of femicide increased 10 percent in 2019 to over 1,000.