Jazmín Zárate would have turned 28 on Monday. That same day, the singer’s body was found in an abandoned lot in San Lorenzo Cacaotepec, on the outskirts of Oaxaca City, the capital of the southern Mexican state. She had been stabbed numerous times. The young woman had been missing since the night before when she had gone to perform at a concert. Her sister, identified as Engy Aquino, has confirmed the death: “My beautiful little sister, with all the pain in our hearts, today on your birthday we say goodbye to you, always remembering your beautiful smile. Fly high and be free as you always wanted to be.”
In Mexico, there is no respite in violence against women. While the country was still coming to terms with the brutal images of the lifeless body of Ariadna López, 27, which turned up in a parking lot in Mexico City, the Oaxaca police located the body of Jazmín Zárate lying in a spot called La Barranca, next to a sawmill. In a country where 10 women are murdered every day, there is no recovery time between crimes. Zárate was a singer, an entrepreneur and mother of a little girl. She had been booked to sing at an event the day before. The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the death as a femicide, although forensic experts are still working to determine the cause of death.
A preliminary reconstruction of Zárate’s final moments indicates that on Sunday, she traveled to the town of San Lorenzo Cacaotepec with the musical group Titanes, of which she was a member. The event ended at 11pm and after that each band member collected their things and left, according to information that the Oaxaca Prosecutor’s Office has confirmed to EL PAÍS. “The stage was far from the exit, so when she left, nobody noticed who was there to pick her up,” said a source at the agency. The trail is lost after that. At 8.40am the next morning, the chief of the municipal police reported the discovery of Zárate’s lifeless body.
In the state of Oaxaca, 130 women have been murdered so far this year, according to data from the Rosario Castellanos Women’s Study Group. That figure rises to 712 in the six years that Alejandro Murat has been the state governor. Of those who have died in 2022, only 32 have been classified as victims of femicide, but even then, that number has Oaxaca ranked fifth on the list of states with the highest number of victims of violence against women, according to data from the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System.
In a perverse coincidence typical of Mexico, only three months ago Zárate had participated in a song called Ella no volvió (She did not return), by the rapper Ballin. “It seems like a f**… joke in bad taste! One of the girls I featured on the cover of the song Ella no volvió has died because of the same topic that is discussed in the song she participated in,” the singer wrote. Zárate had promoted this song on her Facebook account and had written: “For all the women who did not return, wait for it.”