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Chicano culture, art, and politics

                 
Image courtesy "Center for the Study of Political Graphics" Image courtesy "Center for the Study of Political Graphics"
Image courtesy "Center for the Study of Political Graphics" Image courtesy "Center for the Study of Political Graphics"
Image - "Center for the Study of Political Graphics"
MAQUILADORA MURDERS
By Robert Bracamontes

I sat in the darkness as the sounds of screaming voices crept through my window. Those voices belonged to the tortured, raped and dismembered bodies of poor working class women trying to get home from the maquiladoras.

The North American Free Trade Agreement was signed in 1992, and with that American oligarchies began to build hundreds of factories along the Mexican-U.S. border city of Juarez. Elena Aviles, an organizer for the UCLA conference on the murders, describes the situation that women are confronted with on a daily basis in the work place, "Exploited, overworked and overly oppressed women are employed in these factories.

A method taken by the factory owners to control the natural reproduction of these women is enforced birth control use, or obligatory displays of used feminine hygiene napkins during her menstrual cycle as tangible evidence that she is not pregnant. The rigid control over the female body and non-existent right to privacy of each worker reaches its maximum state when one takes into account the ritualistic way the serial killer re-conquers or obliterates the female body."

The degradation of women is not only a result of capitalist exploitation in the labor force, but also of the patriarchal attitude that believes women do not deserve to be treated with dignity or respect equal to that of men. It is further extended to the indifference by the authoritarian, male-dominated system that cannot find those guilty of committing the serial murders of these working class women. In an interview with the Public Broadcasting Service, Jane Caputi, PhD. talked about her latest book, The Age of Sex Crime. "The Age of Sex Crime is my first book in which I analyze the phenomena of how serial sex killers have become hero figures in this culture, which goes back to my argument that these are not deviants, these are not monsters from nowhere, they're actually performing a cultural function by enforcing misogyny in showing that women are prey, etc. and acting out masculinity in totally dominating the feminine."

Women know that each and every day young girls must be weary of the perversion of men in the street. There are rich, famous and powerful mafia and government officials that grope women without fear of penalty. But yet, this remains a tale, a story, an urban and rural legend, almost folklore because men in power want to ignore it. Ask a man, "What is so glorious about raping her, killing her, and taking her organs?" It is this display of vulgar oppression and domination of women in world society that should make us all shutter with unbelievable disgust and shame.

My death could easily come soon after writing these words. And even though I have learned to love the women in my life - my mother, sister, wife, and daughters - and speak out against the hideous crimes against women, I know that my death will not be as painful as theirs. I will not be raped or tortured because I am a man.

Robert Bracamontes can be reached at BRACO8@MSN.COM

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