May 6, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Series of murders brings attention to rise of femicide in Latin America

Two murders in Puerto Rico have again brought attention to the rise in violence against women on the island.

Why it matters: Around 20 women and girls have been killed in suspected femicides so far this year, per a Puerto Rican advocacy group.

  • The deaths of Andrea Ruiz and Keishla Rodríguez come as Latin America as a whole tries to reckon with skyrocketing numbers of violence against women.
  • Ruiz had unsuccessfully sought a restraining order against her former partner, who confessed to her murder. He was arrested and is in jail awaiting trial.
  • Rodríguez, who was pregnant, was kidnapped, drugged and drowned. The main suspect is boxer Félix Verdejo, who is currently in prison.

Between the lines: Gov. Pedro Pierluisi declared a state of emergency over gender violence in January. He requested $7 million for the training of 911 dispatchers and other public officials.

  • La Junta, a congressional oversight board for the island’s finances, in April tried to limit the expenditure to $200,000. Yesterday it recanted and offered full funding.
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