Racism and police abuse in Mexico, response to the murder of George Floyd

Mexico has joined the protests unleashed by the death of George Floyd

Giovanni López and protests in Guadalajara, Mexico

In recent days, Mexico has also raised its voice against cases of police abuse. / Photo: twitter.com/Helios_EM

LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

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Leer en español: Racismo y abuso policial en México, respuesta al asesinato de George Floyd

Giovanni López's death in the state of Jalisco led hundreds of people to the streets to protest both peacefully and violently against the police. The protests have left affected police cars, damaged and painted buildings and businesses, clashes with the police, and arrests of protesters as citizens continue to demand justice for these abuses.

Giovanni López was a 30-year-old bricklayer who was detained on the street for not wearing a face mask, something mandatory in that state due to the contingency. The day after his arrest, his family received the news that he had died and had a gunshot wound and signs of torture. So far, the facts have not been clarified and the family asks that the conditions in which he died be clarified, since the opinion that was given, " head injury," does not correspond to an action provided by the reason for his arrest.

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that “the deaths that occur when a person is in the custody of the State - as was the case with Mr. López Ramírez - are presumed to be potentially unlawful and there is a general presumption of the responsibility of the State unless proven otherwise ”. He also asked for a full investigation, adding the seriousness that the municipal police officials where it happened have already filed complaints about abuse of authority.

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In response to the protests, the police have acted violently and sometimes disproportionately, which has increased the nonconformity and also the intensity of the protests. A video where police in the Government Palace says "we are going to kill them" repeatedly before facing protesters has caused outrage.

The abuses have continued despite the fact that the protests are precisely against this and the National Human Rights Commission warned that 6 detainees in the protests in Guadalajara at the Government Palace were victims of police abuse and excessive use of force.

New demonstrations have been called for Sunday, June 14, where several cities will participate peacefully.

Racism in Mexico

The chaos unleashed in the main cities of Mexico is the direct response not only to the case of Giovanni López but to the protests that have spread throughout the world after the death of George Floyd. This has once again sparked a debate on racism in this Latin American country that, despite being always latent, is largely ignored.

After the outrage in social media after Floyd's death, many Mexicans expressed their disagreement because in their country there are other forms of racism exposed daily and they are ignored.

For years the existence of racism in Mexico has been denied and ignored, but the reality is that "more than half of the population recognizes that they are insulted because of the color of their skin, according to the National Council to Prevent Discrimination,"  the BBC said. In this country, racism has been strengthened towards indigenous communities and towards this type of cultural traditions.

Despite the fact that since independence an attempt was made to abolish the caste system, warning that all Mexicans were mestizos and, therefore, equal in rights and duties, in reality they continue to be divided by their skin color. According to Forbes Mexico, "racism is palpable in the" glass ceilings "or the low presence of dark-skinned people in political, academic, business, and even media elites". Likewise, skin tone continues to determine possibilities for styling a future, job and study opportunities, and even income from certain tasks.

The problem, in addition to racism per se, is ignoring the issue, which has become a taboo throughout Mexico. This, not only on the part of those who are white and reject those who are not but the same people from those marginalized races who end up denying their traditions and origins in search of acceptance.

Given this, the hashtag #MexicoRacista emerged on Twitter and other social networks, which seeks to create awareness of racist actions within the country, so as not to have to look outside (to the United States, for example) to find cases of racism and discrimination.