Prensa Libre selected Rosa Franco as the character of the year 2021, who for almost two decades fought against an adverse system to seek justice for the femicide of her daughter Isabel Véliz. The recognition that this morning makes makes visible the efforts and pain that this journey marked for Rosa, affirm activists and people close to her.
Hilda Morales, a women’s human rights lawyer, was one of the people who accompanied Rosa in her search for justice as a member of the organizations that make up the Network of Non-Violence against Women.
Morales, who participated in the efforts made in the Public Ministry, the courts and in the protests in the street, recalls that Rosa many times sacrificed her own health in order to clarify the femicide of her son.
“Rosa was not only brave. There was a lot of sacrifice with consequences for his health because he began to have heart problems. She was diabetic and as a result of this her diabetes problem worsened. She had persecutions and there was a lot of refusal from the Ministry of the Interior to support her with the precautionary measures that the IACHR decreed, ”says Morales.
The defender recalls how the institutions that make up the chain of justice were negligent when dealing with the femicide of Isabel Véliz.
“When the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights admitted the case to demand that the State deepen the investigations and identify the possible perpetrators in view of all the failures that occurred from the beginning. The police did not want to receive the complaint, claiming that her daughter had left with her boyfriend and that they had to wait 48 hours. From there there was a failure and when the body appeared they did not process the crime scene. When they returned to the place, which was a property in San Cristóbal, Mixco, it was burned and evidence could no longer be collected, ”says Morales.
Silvia Trujillo, a sociologist, considers that Rosa’s selection as character of the year is timely because she vindicates the struggle of women who daily seek to highlight the problem of gender violence.
“It is an important bet to make the problem visible. In this case, Rosa and her daughter were directly and indirectly victims of violence, but the recognition shows that it is possible to move towards the possibility of being a subject of rights. It is important to think about the possibility of a construction journalism that shows how women do not remain in a victimizing position but rather points towards other edges of women who do not get tired, who continue forward and achieve their purpose despite so much pain, “she said. Trujillo.
Trujillo mentions that the State of Guatemala has a debt because it has been ineffective in eradicating violence against women.
“As long as the State continues to maintain high levels of impunity in cases of femicide and disappearance of women, the message it sends to the perpetrators is to keep going because there will be no consequences. Violence against women is not only a problem for women, it is a problem for the whole of society.
The sociologist comments that, in the search for justice, many women give up their own lives. And although it is its own cause, the results generate collective benefits. “All of this makes recognition valuable. It tells the victims that they are not alone and makes that slogan that we repeat in Latin America come true, “he said.
Paula Barrios, general coordinator of Women Transforming the World (MTM), highlighted Rosa Franco’s perseverance in the search for justice and involved fighting in a state that did not have the mechanisms or laws to punish those responsible.
“Rosa Franco never gave up, despite the fact that there were no mechanisms or laws that typified femicide. His perseverance, his search for justice and clarification of the femicide of his daughter leaves a legacy beyond the alert Isabel Claudina. I believe that the tribute is deserved, “said Barrios.
Barrios believes that it is necessary for the State to facilitate access to justice for women who are victims of violence and consider that not all of them have the opportunity to present their cases and petitions in international bodies such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
“This process is derived from a judgment of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. There were many people who accompanied Dona Rosa. He was close to the media and the Guatemalan Women’s Group. But I believe that it should not be an isolated case, it is important that all the families of disappeared and murdered women have access to justice, “said Barrios.
Rosa Franco was satisfied with her selection as Character of the year. “It makes me shudder. I did not expect. What a high honor they give me, ”he said. And she added that her desire to support other women remains strong.
Similarly, users on social networks showed their satisfaction with the appointment. “A historical document must be made to summarize this great feat. Above all, because it shows the failures of the Guatemalan judicial system, “said Twitter user Edmundo Velásquez.
For her part, Karen Rodríguez commented: “I pray that all mothers and aggrieved people receive divine justice. Everything is paid sooner or later ”.
For her part, attorney Carol Zardetto said: “That a femicide case takes 20 years to reach sentence is a shame for the justice system. Rosa Franco’s effort is heroic. Because it takes heroes to fight against a system that operates on the basis of impunity. The State only protects the corrupt, ”he said.