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Senin, 05 April 2021

Mexico is mourning the death of Victoria Salazar in police custody. Here's why we should remember her name - ABC News

Just after Victoria Esperanza Salazar was laid to rest in Mexico on Sunday, dozens of women from across the country took to the streets in protest demanding justice for her death.

Her name might not ring a bell, nor might the details, but hers is a familiar story and one we've heard too many times.

Salazar's tragic death echoes the case of George Floyd, an African American man who died in May as a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck, sparking global protests against police brutality.

A wall of the Quintana Roo state offices sprayed with graffiti that reads in Spanish "Justice for Victoria,"
Young women bring flowers to the perimeter wall sprayed with graffiti that reads in Spanish "Justice for Victoria," during a protest in Mexico City.(

AP: Eduardo Verdugo

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But when Floyd was killed, the whole world was outraged. Fast-forward a year, Salazar was also killed in custody with a police officer filmed jamming her knee into Salazar's neck. 

While her death has sparked outrage in Mexico, why hasn't the rest of the world paid attention?

Who was Victoria Salazar?

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Salazar, 36, was a mum of two from El Salvador who was living in Mexico as a humanitarian refugee.

She had reportedly left the country to escape the country's ongoing violence from street gangs. 

She lived with her two daughters, 15 and 16, in the resort town of Tulum, where she worked as a cleaner in hotels.

Described by friends as a "good girl" she was also the victim of domestic abuse by her partner, who has been arrested, according to Mexican authorities.

Authorities did not specify whether the abuse allegedly suffered was sexual or physical but said one of the woman's two daughters also had been abused by the partner. 

How was Victoria Salazar killed?

Salazar's death was eerily similar to Floyd's. On March 27 she was killed in Mexican police custody in Tulum after police responded to an emergency call for help at a convenience store.

She was later detained after offering resistance, according to police.

An autopsy revealed her neck had been broken.

A video published by news site Noticaribe showed Salazar writhing and crying out as she lay face down on a road with a policewoman kneeling on her back while three male officers stood by.

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Friends and family of Victoria Salazar call for justice.

In the viral video, Salazar could be heard screaming before officers carry her limp body still handcuffed onto the back of a police pick-up truck. 

The attorney-general's office of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo charged the one female and three male police officers who had detained Salazar with femicide, or the killing of a woman because of her gender.

"The events occurred last Saturday, March 27 … when the victim was detained by the police officers and, after being subjected to excessive and disproportionate force, likely prompting the death of the foreign woman," the attorney-general's office said.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Salazar had been subject to "brutal treatment and murdered" after her detention.

Her death sparked protests in Mexico

A woman paints graffiti during a protest in support of Victoria Salazar.
Her death has sparked outrage on social media and calls by El Salvador's President for the officers to be punished.(

Rueters: Raquel Cunha

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On Sunday, she was laid to rest in a sombre ceremony with family and friends which also attracted country-wide protests.

Dozens of Salazar's friends and relatives, many wearing floral arrangements, walked through the La Generosa cemetery in colonial Sonsonate, 65 kilometres west of the capital, San Salvador, to her final resting place.

"We want justice! We hope this is resolved because everyone saw how my sister was murdered. The police did not act right," Carlos Salazar, the victim's brother, told reporters during the funeral.

Rosibel Emerita Arriaza, the mother of Victoria Esperanza Salazar talks to media.
Rosibel Emerita Arriaza, the mother of Victoria Esperanza Salazar.(

AP: Salvador Melendez

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Her mother Rosibel Emerita Arriaza in El Salvador is also demanding justice for her daughter.

On March 29, Victoria's mother told Amnesty International: "They held my daughter down too forcefully. They tortured her, to put it bluntly. You can hear her screaming. I think her final screams came when they snapped her neck and broke several of her ribs. I believe that no human being deserves to die like this."

"As a mother I know I won't get my daughter back, I'll only be left with the memories I have of her. All I ask for is genuine justice, for them to investigate exactly what happened in this abuse of authority by these four people … that they face the full weight of the law," she said. 

Her death has sparked outrage on social media and calls by El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele for the officers to be punished.

All four officers in the Salazar case have been arrested and will remain behind bars for the duration of the trial, according to the attorney-general's office.

Why didn't this spark global outrage?

While police brutality is an issue that's been bubbling at the surface in the US, in Mexico, police corruption and lack of media attention on the topic have seen these issues swept under the rug. 

But incidents of violence against women are nothing new for Mexico, and the country has faced growing protests against femicides in recent years. 

Local media reported an average of 11 women are murdered every day in Mexico, and less than 10 per cent of those cases are solved.

While the issue of racial inequality and police brutality in the US is being bought to the attention of the world after Floyd's death, many are questioning why the rest of the world is not paying enough attention to the issue of violence against women in Mexico.

Amnesty International has long condemned police brutality in Mexico.

In a statement, the human rights organisation called on Mexican authorities to guarantee the Salazar's family the rights to "truth, justice, full reparation for damages, and the dignified repatriation of her body".

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2021-04-05 18:32:00Z
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