July 25, 2021

In El Salvador, women live in “total vulnerability”

The house of horror. This is how the number 11 of Estevez Street, in Chalchuapa (80 km west of San Salvador) has been known for two and a half months. For years, the owner of this small house with green walls, Hugo Ernesto Osorio Chávez, a former policeman, would have attracted women there, mostly young and poor, with promises of a job or money, would have raped them. , murdered and would have buried them there.

The macabre discovery was made on the night of May 7. The police then found seven pits covered with a cement screed in a patio behind the house. Inside, piled up corpses. The exact number of victims is still unknown. They would be at least twenty, maybe forty. The authorities assured that all had been killed before 2019, when President Nayib Bukele came to power. Online media it has however shown that at least thirteen of them were in 2020 and 2021. The article was censored by the general prosecutor’s office.

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Government accuses journalists “Malicious” to want to discredit him in his fight against crime, while he shows a drastic drop in homicides, and in particular feminicides. These would have decreased by 44.2% in 2020 compared to 2019, from 217 to 121 murdered women. Those of Chalchuapa were not included in the statistics.

In addition to the ex-policeman, nine other people were arrested: former members of the police and the army, members of gangs. It is presumed that Osorio Chávez used his graves to remove the bodies of victims of other assassins. Thus fueling the suspicion of the existence of structures that dispose of corpses.

A very restrictive law on abortion

According to a media survey The lighthouse, the drop in crime is due to a secret agreement between the government and one of the country’s main gangs to « pacifier » the streets, in exchange for better treatment in prison. But it is not proven that this pact includes the disappearance of corpses to make up the figures.

The Chalchuapa massacre “Shows above all a system where the life of women does not matter, says feminist activist Sara Garcia Gross, and the total vulnerability in which women live in this country ”. This vulnerability is illustrated in particular by the very restrictive law on abortion: El Salvador is one of the seven countries, with Nicaragua, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Suriname and Malta, to totally ban the use of voluntary termination of pregnancy (abortion).

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