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Wed Aug 5, 2015, 11:34 AM

Mexico: the graphic tale of Lucha Castro's struggle to defend women's rights

Mexico: the graphic tale of Lucha Castro's struggle to defend women's rights

The celebrated Mexican human rights campaigner’s brave battle against horrific gender violence in Chihuahua state has become the subject of a graphic novel

Jo Tuckman in Mexico City
Wednesday 5 August 2015 07.30 EDT

Sometimes Lucha Castro finds herself overwhelmed by the horror stories she hears almost every day. The human rights campaigner in the notoriously violent state of Chihuahua, northern Mexico, was struck by that feeling recently, as she listened to an indigenous woman tell of being displaced from her village by organised criminal violence fuelled by corruption and negligence.

“I had to leave the meeting and go outside so I could have a cry without anybody seeing me,” said Castro, in a telephone interview from her home in the state capital, also called Chihuahua. “The truth is that sometimes I do get tired. There is so much suffering, and then you get indignant when you listen to the officials who are so incompetent, intolerant and frivolous.”

But, Castro added, those same stories also spur her on, despite the numerous death threats she has received over the years. “The victims are my teachers, women who have decided to say enough is enough and transform their personal pain into a struggle for their rights,” she said. “I think of the victims who aren’t here anymore, and I know that I have to be their voice.”

A new non-fiction graphic novel, La Lucha: The Story of Lucha Castro and Human Rights in Mexico, seeks to capture some of that daily reality. The book, the first in a series of non-fiction graphic novels conceived by the Irish group Front Line Defenders and published in collaboration with Verso, depicts Castro’s life, interwoven with those of six other human rights defenders.


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