Women shoulder the burden of internal displacement in Mexico
Mexico City—“Every night she asks me, ‘Why are we sleeping out here on the ground and not in the palace?’” Doña Marisela Cástulo Guzmán said, gesturing to her seven-year-old daughter, Frida.
Last February, with around 350 other families, Doña Marisela and Frida camped out on the sidewalk outside Mexico’s National Palace in the Zócalo, the central plaza of Mexico City. They’d trekked to the capital to demand action from the federal government on their displacement from their pueblos in the mountains of Guerrero state last November. The desplazados (displaced people), who are largely small-plot farmers, fled the mountains when their towns were invaded by armed members of the organized criminal gangs that plague the region, often fighting for the lucrative territory where opium poppies and marijuana are grown and transportation routes for silver, titanium, and gold mining are nearby. The incursion left several dead and many wounded, including children, and the gang members now occupy the homes of the displaced.