Twenty-one-year-old Micaela García’s naked body was found on April 9, a week after she went missing in Gualeguay, some 230 kilometers north of the capital. The case has once again prompted calls for the government to take action to combat the killings of women, with official figures suggesting there is one such death on average in this South American country every 30 hours.
The main suspect in the murder of García, named as Sebastián Wagner, is now in custody, and had been convicted in 2012 for two rapes, but was released on parole less than a year ago.
We are going to take revenge for Micaela by getting organized
Veteran feminist Nina Brugo
Ni Una Menos has been leading the campaign to raise awareness about femicide and for the authorities to act to combat the country’s high female murder rate: a total of 2,384 women have been murdered by their spouses, partners, or unknown men in the last nine years.
“The more they try to silence us the more we’ll shout;” “Touch one, touch us all;” and: “Mica, you will drive our fight. Some are missing, but there are many more of us,” were among the messages on placards held aloft by demonstrators at the Plaza de Mayo and its surrounding streets on Tuesday. Other protesters carried photographs of Araceli Fulles, a 22-year-old who has been missing since April 2.
“It is a day of mourning, but we know how to turn pain into power. Our mothers and grandmothers taught us how to do that in this same square,” said journalist Marta Dillon of Ni Una Menos, referring to the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an organization set up in 1977 to locate children kidnapped by the military regime that seized power in 1976 and that lasted until 1983.
President Macri has called for the judge who released the killer to resign
“We are going to take revenge for Micaela by getting organized,” said veteran feminist Nina Brugo.
Much of the widespread anger in response to the murder of Micaela García has been directed at the judge who released Wagner. Magistrate Carlos Rossi ignored two reports advising against conditionally releasing the rapist. Even President Mauricio Macri has criticized the decision, calling for Rossi to step down.
But for Ni Una Menos, simply locking up rapists and men who murder women is not enough. “We mustn’t get carried away by tougher punishments. More prison sentences is not the solution because that is simply acting after the event. We need more prevention and sexual education to instill the principles of equality in our children,” said one activist at the demonstration, who gave her name as Violeta.
Micaela García’s funeral was held in the city of Concepción del Uruguay on Tuesday and was attended by thousands of well-wishers.
English version by Nick Lyne.