Female avenger story captivates Ciudad Juarez

MEXICO CITY – Like a character from a graphic novel, she dresses in black, has unusually blond hair – and kills bus drivers who sexually assault women.

In a place like Ciudad Juarez, known for its years of brutal killings of women, the story has inexorable appeal. But how much of it is true?

Authorities are taking the reports seriously enough to investigate and have posted undercover cops on buses. Women’s advocates say they wouldn’t be surprised if someone finally had taken long-denied justice into her own hands.

Two bus drivers were slain in the last week, and over the weekend an electronic message claiming responsibility was sent to several news outlets.

“You think because we are women we are weak, and maybe we are,” the message says. “But only to a certain point. We can no longer remain quiet over these acts that fill us with rage.

“And so, I am an instrument who will take vengeance.”

Signed: Diana, Huntress of Bus Drivers.

The message says women who work the night shifts in Juarez’s enormous maquiladora industry repeatedly fall prey to the bus drivers on whom they must rely to get home in the dark.

For now, at least, there is no way to verify the veracity of the message, whether it was written by the actual killer or killers of the bus drivers, whether Diana the Huntress really exists, or even whether she is a she.

What is clear is that for the last two decades, hundreds of women, many of them maquiladora workers, have been killed or have gone missing in Ciudad Juarez. Some disappeared after boarding buses, their raped and tortured bodies later found dumped in the desert. Few of the cases are ever resolved, and families have endlessly protested the lack of justice for their daughters, sisters and mothers.

“We cannot be sure that the email corresponds exactly to those who committed the killings” of the bus drivers, said Juarez human rights activist Gustavo de la Rosa, “but in the city’s imagination, that is definitely what’s happening.”

The bus drivers were slain on consecutive days last week, Wednesday and Thursday, at almost the same hour and on the same route. Witnesses told Ciudad Juarez’s El Diario newspaper that, in both cases, a woman dressed in black with blond hair, dyed or possibly a wig, stopped the bus and started to board, pulled out a pistol and shot the driver dead.

Two bullets to the head, in both cases.

Arturo Sandoval, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office in the state of Chihuahua, where Juarez is located, said investigators were focusing on revenge as a likely motive.


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