“I’m afraid to leave the house and never see my mom again.”
The details were sickening and at the same time so familiar. Another young woman missing, raped, murdered and mutilated. This time she was 20 years old and her name was Bianca Alejandrina Lorenzana, known as Alexis, and, until November 7, 2020, she lived in the balmy resort town of Cancún, Mexico. She had dared to leave the house alone one evening to make a little money selling a vape and now she was never coming back. Her body, like those of so many of her sisters, had been cut up and placed in garbage bags.
“We’re not just worrying about hurricanes and natural disasters. We also have to worry about femicides ripping out women’s lives.”
— Feminist collective Furias Violetas de Cancún
Hurricanes Delta and Zeta had just passed through Quintana Roo, and the tension at the protest on November 9 was palpable. “Let it burn. Burn it all down!” her anguished mother cried when the plywood boards protecting the windows of Cancún’s town hall caught fire as protestors spray painted “Ni una menos. Ni una más. Alexis, Fátima” (Not one less, not one more, Alexis and Fátima, in honor of a 7-year-old abducted, raped and killed in Mexico City in February).
And then the police began to beat reporters, seize cell phones, and shoot above the gathering with live ammunition. A local television station reporter was clubbed on the head, while a photographer’s head was grazed by a bullet.
It had been a relatively small gathering because of the pandemic, and it took place early in the evening, though overcast skies and November’s 6 pm sunset might make recordings of the event seem later. In the light of the following day, authorities scrambled to make their excuses.
The female mayor of Cancún was quick to condemn the police action, and the governor insisted he had explicitly ordered the chief of police not to react with force. Even the United Nations expressed their disapproval and called for an investigation.