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She was wearing only green sweatshirt, purple T-shirt with a Disney fairy, red socks. A colored cotton blanket was found next to this little body, between three and five years old, detailed the informative note that Frida Guerrera released.
“They just left him some red socks,” he had commented to a fellow press officer when he saw the blurred photo. After a month he asked for her, they had not identified the body, no one had claimed it. This is false news, remember that the authorities responded. “But I knew not, and I insisted to the Prosecutor’s Office,” explains the journalist, to whom her friends told her that she was not going to find the identity of that little girl.
But that unfocused image was already with her every so often. Frida needed to outline the little face whose features had been disfigured by bruises and dirt. That’s why he asked for a portrait, to put a face on the little corpse that was found one morning in March 2017 in a vacant lot in Nezahualcóyotl, in the State of Mexico; no more than 93 centimeters. Two months later the request arrived: a drawing of what the girl was like alive.
In the media it was spread as Red Socks, but her name was Lupita: Guadalupe Medina Pichardo. “A girl who was born to be mistreated”, evokes Frida. The last blow that caused the girl’s death was dealt by her stepfather, because he “peed all over himself and had not warned them.” Frida remembers the looks she exchanged with that subject during the hearing, while she was listening to the sentence. In the judge’s words, the girl “was a bargaining chip and objectified”: 88 years for each of the culprits. “The term was also used garbage because, after the girl was abandoned without life and wrapped in a blanket, a third aggressor – the perpetrator is still unknown – raped her, “explains the activist, who says she has a pending account with that man who is still free: debt with Lupita ”.
Like Red Socks, Frida Guerrera is a made-up name. The first represents the extreme brutality product of a rotten social fabric; the second was born as a rebellion. Verónica acquired the nickname when she began to collaborate on Radio AMLO. “They asked me to start using a pseudonym. So I put on Frida, for Frida Kahlo ”, she confesses. Originally from Jalisco, but raised in the capital, the journalist moved to Oaxaca in 2006 to “leave behind her profession as a therapist and a very violent relationship. I was a broken woman, destroyed by my abuser ”, he says. He also left his first name. There he would stay for 11 years to follow up on different social conflicts. “I got fully involved in the fight of the Triqui towns, that became very violent. As journalists we began to receive threats from different groups, ”he says. Many media were silent, but she continued to report. “Frida is here, our warrior!”, One day a microphone companion shouted, baptizing her activism. Months later he was born under the same name his blog, where he publishes each one of the femicides committed in the country. In Mexico 10 women are murdered a day.
According to government data, from January to October 2020 there were 2,384 femicides. But the figure registered by civil associations is much higher. The National Citizen Observatory of Femicide (OCNF) reported up to 2,532 victims in August 2020.
Since 2016, Frida has been pulling the thread of journalistic death notes (red notes) to uncover crimes. “Now some media cover femicides, but until a very short time ago they only had space in the tabloid newspapers,” he says. Through sensational headlines he began to build his database. Then Frida was looking for the families, now they are the ones who are looking for her. “They all hurt me, but girls break me,” he acknowledges, and often mentions the name of the first: Karina, a 13-year-old Mixe girl. His mother, an indigenous person from the Sierra Norte de Oaxaca, had reported his disappearance. It took him more than 20 days to do so because he did not speak Spanish well and could not read or write. “I also did not know how to file a complaint or take the indicated truck to get to Ciudad Judicial to report it,” explains the activist.
More than 400 kilometers away from the town where the girl disappeared, a body was found on the Mexico-Puebla highway. The expert opinion determined that he was about 28 years old and that she was a prostitute —even stripped, there are bodies that are forgotten before others—; they closed the folder. But when Frida and a collaborator collated the list of disappeared women with unidentified victims of femicide, they immediately linked the two cases: it was Karina.
“Sometimes I find it hard to believe everything I have seen. Very recently I broke down when I found out that a mother was raping her baby ”, he says. But she, who is also a mother, collapses and gets up, despite all the horror she has witnessed, despite the threats, which outweigh all the fingers of her hand; There in Oaxaca, they tortured their cat and left it with its throat cut at the door of their house; There in Oaxaca he suffered three uprisings; in the last one her breasts were burned. “Frida is much stronger than Verónica, that’s why I have a little guard for her,” he adds and laughs.
“If the mothers of the dead do not scream, justice does not come,” he says. To displace the details of the research folders, the sadness of the dry eyes of so many orphans, Frida takes out the cloth and begins to clean
In the last year, the activist has become a controversial figure: she is more than recognized for her fight against sexist violence, but she does not proclaim herself a feminist. “I do not support the levels of violence that they handle in some marches, but I cannot disqualify them,” he responds to argue why he did not attend the last one on March 8 in the Zócalo, a historic event. “The only march that I accompany and help organize is the Day of the Dead, which seeks to make the murdered women visible. It is not necessary to burn the city. What you have to do is shout out loud. If the mothers of the dead do not scream, justice does not come, “he says bluntly.
With those mothers, but also fathers, children, grandmothers of those who are missing, he maintains daily communication. “From them I have learned to dialogue with pain,” he says. What was it like in life? How did you find out you were pregnant? What was your favorite stuffed animal? ”He asks them. Then they start talking, they show the photo of that birthday, they point to a portrait on the bedside table; they unearth anecdotes that seemed forgotten. They tell him that yesterday they dreamed of the missing woman.
And how does she fight against so much violence? To move the details of the research folders, the sadness of the dry eyes of so many orphans, he takes out the rag and starts cleaning. “Tidying up the home distracts and relaxes me. I also take care of my plants ”, he confesses.
Frida Guerrera likes to attract hummingbirds to her window. In the fleeting fluttering of these birds, he finds rest between one horror story and the next that he will have to write. His latest obsession is the Niña de Aragón, whose body was found in a suitcase on June 28 of last year; he was not more than two years old. It is still unknown where her family is and who killed her. In honor of her, he titled his column: “Does anyone need a drink?” A playground under a bridge was his grave.