By Kimberly Ramirez-Gonzales and Jasmine Brown
Buenos Aires, being the capital of Argentina, is home to a very politically active bunch! Jasmine and Kimberly are used to encountering political rallies, and marches quite frequently; Jasmine even saw two protests in one day the last time she was at work (the Center for Implementation of Public Policy for Equity and Growth). This particular march, Jasmine and Kimberly participated in on their second day in Buenos Aires! We’ll talk partly about the protest culture here in Buenos Aires, but also about the particular movement, Ni Una Menos, the protest at which most of these photos were taken.
Carnival. Parade. Fair. If I could give you any other description for this affair, those words would best describe it! People of all ages and genders walking out in the street. Streets have been blocked off and barricaded for the protesters to march. Marching bands are strolling down the streets playing drums and waving signs. Signs with various prices for chirupan (sausage+ bread), mate cups, jewelry, shirts and whatever else you could hope for sit next to the sidewalk where the vendors recline or stand. Loud rock music plays from one set of speakers but if you’re close to a band of protesters playing their bongos and steel instruments, it may as well be playing from the moon.
Ni Una Menos
The march was the third annual march down the Plaza de Mayo Avenue. The protestors taught us chants that reflected the femicide they were facing. One that was very powerful to me was “No estan perdidas, no estan perdidas! Son desaparecidas para ser prostituidas!” (They are not lost, They are not lost, they’ve been disappeared to be prostituted.) because it is so upfront. I also really enjoyed the chant that said “yo sabia, yo sabia , que a los violadores los cuida la policía”(I knew, I knew, that the rapists were protected by the police) because it clearly called out the police for allowing femicide to occur.
Many protestors called for the liberation of Higui. Higui is a lesbian who was gang raped and in self-defense killed one of her rapists. She served one year for manslaughter while her rapists walk the streets free. As of a few days ago, she was freed. Her first words as a free woman were “Hermanas ya estoy libre! Estoy libre hermanas!” (Sisters, I am free! I am free, sisters!).
As reported in statistics from the Wanda Taddei Institute– named for a woman burned to death by her partner for her appearance– by February of 2017, there had already been 57 known cases of femicide in Argentina. According to Ni Una Menos, approximately 98% of these cases remain unsolved. With these homicides occurring in the first 43 days of the year, the estimate of one femicide every 24 hours seems to have decreased dramatically to one killing every 18 hours. Twice daily, on average, a woman is killed in Argentina by virtue of her womanhood.
As grave as this news may be, as crazy as you may think us two girls for screaming our lungs out in a foreign country our second day there at a rally about femicide….that’s the beauty of the moment. That day, at that rally, there were: old men, young women, rich women, poor men, educated, unaffected supporters, aggrieved mourners and more. Enough Porteños and foreigners to fill the streets up at least three city blocks back and two wide gathered in front of La Casa Rosada to demand justice for the women lost, to support the families who mourn, and to protect the women at risk. I was proud to be a part of this moment and I hope that