On March 8, while hundreds of thousands of working women and men were out on the streets against femicides and the most treacherous violence of the system against women, a few kilometers away from the City of Guatemala, in the “Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asunción”, in San José Pinula, 19 young and teenage women died calcined by fire, while 18 were taken to hospitals fighting for their lives.
By Rosa Cecilia Lemus.
“It was not the fire, it was femicide by the State” is the title of the Red Sanadoras Ancestrales [Ancestral Healers Network], a Feminist network of the community, which denounces: “They were girls from poor families, some of them indigenous, from several departments across the country, with history of sexual violence, forced abortions, pregnancies for rape, women trafficking, running away from forced enrollment in maras [gangs], or co-opted by organized crime networks due to lack of opportunities to live a normal life”. We add: these young girls, victims for years of male-chauvinist violence, were murder under political and material responsibility of a capitalist state and its government, which as many in the world only care about defending the privileges of businessmen and rich people.
What a despicable hypocrisy! The president, Jimmy Morales, a former TV comedian, ordained three days of national mourning and removed the Director of the facility from office to cover up his responsibility, as if it was enough to repair the life of these women, the pain and suffering of their families and the danger the young people confined in these “care facilities” –true prisons of crime and terror- are in. His responsibility is giant, as the denounces existed for a long time –and he was aware of them-, about in this –and others- “safe homes” young people being object of sexual harassment, abuse and inhuman punishments. Precisely on March 7, fifty of them had escaped from the facility, as their denounces and protests were being ignored. They were recaptured and located in an overcrowded room with no food, according to their families, and they ended up victims of a fire that began some time later in the very sector of the facility they were in.
Guatemala is the second country in the world, after El Salvador, with the highest number of homicides of people under 20, according to UNICEF. This is the same story of almost all backward and poorest countries, because capitalist-imperialist system does not offer the youth any alternative for a dignified life. The bourgeoisies, in their urge for profit and enrichment, associate with drug-dealing gangs and corrupt every institution -because every institution receives a percentage-, leaving major segments of the youth, workers’ and poorest families with no choice but to appeal to these gangs –as well as women to prostitution networks- to survive.
As Trotsky said: “where there are privileges, there are also pariah”. In front of the tragedies caused by the capitalit system, governments do nothing but to put in jail and “safe homes” the misery they generate and reproduce. 800 young people confined in the Safe Home, victims of rape, sexual abuse, trafficking and even abandonment were living in a place with capacity for only 400! What human rights are the rulers talking about? What policies of child and youth protection? What kind of respect for women? According statistics of international entities responsible for “looking after them”, in Mexico –a country also highly affected by drug smuggling and corruption- 7 women are killed per day, and in Argentina, only in 2016, the number of femicides raised to 296. Brazil is also among the countries leading the number of murders of youth, specially black people from the poorest neighborhoods of the big cities.
This is why we reject the demagogic and even cynical speeches they made on March 8, from the U.N. to the misogynist Trump, passing through each and every government. We demand more budget to the governments for real shelters to victims of all kind of violence; to immigrants; to the most vulnerable segments of the population. We demand to stop paying the debt to the usurers; we demand free and State-centralized health and education; we demand nurseries; equal pay for equal job; job for everyone; punishment to the corrupt ones, to the rapists, to the murderers of the working people. We denounce the Church and the most retrograde sectors that force violated children to be premature mothers of premature children based on their ancestral male-chauvinist ideology. We demand the separation of the Church from the State, and we demand right to free abortion, while we defend the free right and protection to maternity.
This event, qualified by the families as a true massacre, cannot remain unpunished. It is necessary for all Feminist organizations, workers’ unions and their political organizations to stand categorically. It is necessary we take our unconditional support to the families and demand punishment to all the ones involved. We have to demand for the facility to be closed and for the young people there to be transferred to institutions with dignified infrastructure and conditions, attended by professionals, and for the families to have real control. We need to make a global campaign including protests at the Embassies of Guatemala in every country, and support the slogan of destitution of the government that several organizations are already posing. A government that allows such atrocity cannot remain in power. The struggle all over the world against this scourge grows day by day, and we need to further develop it and make it stronger, because after every new demonstration against femicides more women are murdered.
Another fact that confirms the barbarianism of the capitalist system and the absolute putrefaction of the dominant class. Or isn’t it true that we are seeing “honorable rulers” involved from toes to head in corruption scandals of all type? This awful reality confirms the necessity of the working class, of salaried workers, the poorest and more oppressed segments of society to organize to make a revolution in order to build a new system, a new society in which humanity can actually live in human conditions. A socialist society in which the enormous wealth produced is not in hands of a few but expropriated from them to serve a dignified life for the immense majority of the population, today exploited, violated and oppressed.
 At the moment of publication, the number of total deaths reaches to 40.