Anti-Violence Activist Murdered in Mexico

A poet and activist whose work focused on highlighting and ending what have become ritual murders of young women in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, was found strangled, mutilated and dumped on the street last week.

Susana Chavez, 36, was a prominent member of the group May Our Daughters Return Home, comprised of the family and friends of more than one hundred Juarez women who were sexually assaulted, killed, and dumped in the desert over the last decade.

Three teenagers are in custody, charged with her murder. Chihuahua state Attorney General Carlos Manuel Salas said Wednesday Chavez’s death was an “unfortunate encounter,” unconnected to her activism.

According the police reports, Chavez met three 17-year-old men in a convenience store who invited her home to drink with them. After several hours of drinking, an argument broke out after the teens told Chavez they were part of the local drug gang Azteca and she said she was going to go to the police. The young men took Chavez to the shower, covered her mouth with adhesive tape, and kept her head under the water until she suffocated. They cut off her hand to make it look like an execution and dumped her body in the street, according to the statement.

“What’s strange is that we’re fighting to eliminate feminicide in Juarez and, look, she died that way, in the hands of criminals,” said her friend and fellow activist, Linda Meza.

Chavez, a respected poet who’d helped popularize the rallying cry, “Not One More Death,” in regard to the women of Juarez murders, published a book about the violence called, “Song to a City in the Dessert.” One poem, called “Blood,” was written from the perspective of one of the victims.

Chavez is the second anti-violence activist murdered in Juarez in less than a month. Marisela Escobedo Ortiz was gunned down as she protested in front of a governor’s office in December. She was seeking justice for her slain daughter, whose ex-boyfriend is the prime suspect in both murders.

In 2010, there were more than 3,000 murders in Ciudad Juarez, which is known as a hotbed of drug and gang activity. Although two men have been convicted in several of the murders of the young women of Juarez, most cases remain unsolved.

Related Stories: 

Women of Juárez Alive Through Art

Vanishing Women of Juárez Still Need Our Attention

Kids Think Violence Against Women Is Justifiable


Photo credit: wikimedia commons


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle6 years ago

"Unfortunate encounter", unrelated to her activism?? And the "second anti-violence activist murdered in a month"?? Are you sh*tting me?! What her purpose was in going with the 3 young men, is a mystery, known only to her. Very sad. Mexico used to be one of my favorite vacation destinations, but the violence there, is truly scary.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman6 years ago

sadly noted :0

Esther Lance
Esther Lance6 years ago

Sad and horrific. Big mistake to have anything to do with strangers......esp. join them for drinks!!!

Doug D.
Doug D6 years ago

Absolutely heartbreaking....

Past Member 6 years ago we have a town steeped in the blood of women...and women activists are being murdered by the men running that town..interesting...that men have not really evolved...they appear to be the same violent creatures they have been for centuries.....blood and guts...seems to be all they know....

Daylight Chapon
C L N6 years ago

"Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." ~ Elie Wiesel, Romanian-American Writer

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

Why is it allowed to happen?
Why doesn't the government protect them?
There is a real need for good government and a trustworthy police force in Mexico for the sake of the whole country.
Mexico is a magnificent country and culture ,but it needs to protect its citizens better!

Kate Florio
Kate F6 years ago

we can't always tell which ones are for us and which are against us! the ones who are against us really play havoc!!!!
a lot of times we are playing with fire!

Rebecca A.
Rebecca Anderson6 years ago

so so sad

Jean S.
Jean Saja6 years ago

I hope this will not stop others from speaking out.