Saturday, September 07, 2013

Mexico's Diana Huntress of Bus Drivers

Mexicans are very familiar with La Diana Cazadora, as it's known in Spanish. A stone monument of the Roman goddess, nude, long-haired and holding a bow, stands on Mexico City's Reforma Avenue, a major thoroughfare. A replica was erected in Ciudad Juarez.

Now a woman who calls herself "Diana, the Huntress" is killing bus drivers for revenge against sexual assaults on working women who ride the bus. Authorities say the elusive woman has killed at least two bus drivers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

A police sketch of the woman dubbed "Diana Huntress of Bus Drivers," who is suspected of killing two bus drivers in Ciudad Juárez.
According to the Chihuahua state attorney's office, the unidentified woman, with either hair dyed blond or wearing a blond wig, shot and killed a city bus driver identified as Jose Roberto Flores Carrera, 45, on August 28. He was shot in the head several times.

Another bus driver, Fredy Zarate Morales, 32, was killed the next day, via shoots to the back of his head. In both cases, officials say, "Diana, the Hunter" boarded the buses and shot the drivers point blank.

After the second shooting, several media outlets in Ciudad Juarez reported receiving an e-mail from a sender claiming to be the killer. In the e-mail, she calls herself "Diana, the Hunter of Drivers."

She reportedly says in the e-mails that her motive is retaliation against bus drivers who have raped vulnerable women, especially those who work in the "maquiladoras," or foreign assembly plants (mainly American) on the Mexican side of the border.

"I'm an instrument that will avenge [the attacks against] several women," the e-mail is reported to say. "We seem weak to society, but we're truly not. We're courageous and, if they don't show respect to us, we will make them respect us by our own means. We women of Juarez are strong."

The Chihuahua state attorney's office released a sketch of the suspect Wednesday and asked for the public's help to catch her.

"The sketch was done after interviewing more than 20 people who witnessed the homicides and who gave us very valuable information for this investigation," authorities said in a statement.

The slayings have terrorized many bus drivers, especially those operating Route 4, also known as the Yellow Route, which serves main thoroughfares and downtown Ciudad Juarez, a city of 1.5 million located across the border from El Paso, Texas. The No 4 bus always enjoyed a certain reputation. Wending its way west from Ciudad Juárez's dilapidated centre to a lower-middle class suburb, through nondescript roads and strip malls, this was always a quiet journey in an unquiet city.

Thirty drivers normally cover the route, but many have decided not to show up for work since the second slaying. Julian Vazquez, a bus driver on the same route, is one of those still behind the wheel, although he admits he's afraid.

Ciudad Juarez gained international notoriety in the late 1990s and early 2000s after a wave of slayings involving women. The victims, mainly young, single women, would disappear, their bodies later found in shallow graves in desert areas around the arid city. According to an Amnesty International report, 370 young women and girl were killed in Ciudad Juarez between 1993 and 2005. Most of the slayings remain unsolved.

The Fountain of Diana the Huntress (originally The Flechadora of the North Stars) is a monument located in Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City . Its construction began in 1938. The fountain was designed by the architect Vicente Mendiola Quezada , and the sculpture was created by sculptor Juan Fernando Olaguíbel , was inaugurated on October 10, 1942 by President Manuel Ávila Camacho . It depicts the goddess Artemis or Diana, deity of the hunt. It is one of the best known and represented icons of the Mexican capital - and throughout the nation.

The sculpture of Diana the Huntress, whose real name is "The Flechadora of the North Star" (La flechadora de las estrellas del norte) began its history in 1942, when then-President of Mexico, Manuel Avila Camacho, through the mayor of Mexico City, Javier Rojo Gomez, began a program of beautification of the city that included the creation of several monumental fountains representative roundabouts or corners.

The architect Vicente Mendiola and sculptor Juan Olaguíbel , were commissioned to undertake the construction of one of these sources for a gazebo that was located on the Paseo de la Reforma near the entrance to Chapultepec Park . The theme chosen was that of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt, the moon, but this source, that goddess, instead of hunting with his bow beasts in the woods, now Flecharía the Stars of the northern skies, hence the name of the sculpture.

The identity of who posed for the artist has long been a mystery, until the year 1992 it was revealed that the model was 16 years old, was called Verdayes Helvia Martinez (now widow of Jorge Diaz Serrano ) and worked for evenings as a secretary in the offices of Petroleos Mexicanos , in an office led by Vicente Mendiola , friend of the sculptor. It was there that he suggested she modeled for the sculpture. She accepted and the sculpture was made from April to September 1942, the month in which was finally held in bronze casting of it. During that time, Martinez Verdayes Helvia posed nude for the sculptor without receiving other pay than vanity to see his body immortalized in one of the most beautiful avenues in the city. However, to avoid scandal, she asked to keep his identity anonymous, as declared later in interviews to Channel 22 and the magazine Macrópolis in June 1992, plus she was the model of the source of Petroleos 10 years later, in 1952.

La flechadora de las estrellas del norte was opened on October 10, 1942 and since that time he won the affection of the people, who began to call "Diana the Huntress," but since that time also received criticism from more ultraconservative sectors of Mexican society at the time, and a year later the League of Decency, after a series of protests that included placing fabric underwear on sculpture, got him placed Juan Olaguíbel underpants bronze to his work. However, the artist other times providing more freedom-only fixed it with three spot welds in waiting to remove later.

Over time, the mentality of Mexican society was transformed and, to seize the holding Mexico Olympics in 1968, the then ruler Alfonso Corona del Rosal, in response to a request from John Olaguíbel, decided to withdraw the bronze loincloth sculpture, and so after 25 years, Diana returned to shine its original beauty in 1967. However, to accomplish this, the statue suffered some damage. To remedy the situation, it was decided melt a flawless new piece to occupy that place, while that was damaged was sold by the artist to the regent to prevent the piece was destroyed. That piece was donated by political Ixmiquilpan, Hidalgo, his hometown, where he remained from 1970.

Statues of Diana the Huntress are in various locations throughout Mexico, such as this one above from Acapulco de Juárez.

(Some information was obtained from English translations of Spanish text, so I apologize for any errors in transmission of the correct data.)


Red Pill Junkie said...

Fantastic background story of one of the most iconic features in my city, Loren :)

But this news about the killings in Ciudad Juárez fills me with rage. I learned of it thanks to a link on Blastr --of all places-- from the LA Times, while the newspaper I'm subscribed to --Reforma, curiously enough-- failed to cover it.

Yet the thing that really gets my blood boiling, is the fact that the Juárez authorities are more concerned with the safety of the bus drivers, than about the safety of the women that have been killed --and continue to be killed-- in that city! It's not that I don't value & respect the life of those men, but the very indifference to the abuses suffered by the women is precisely what caused this Diana into seeking vengeance by her own hand.

Just another evidence pointing out to the failing of the Mexican government.

Anonymous said...

I share Red Pill Junkie's sentiment. Nothing was done about the rapes and murders on those buses but now Juarez officials want undercover cops to try and catch this woman for doing what the law won't.

Another thing that really gets me mad is the numbers that Amnesty International has been giving. 370 woman is an absurdly low number. In the past two decades thousands of woman have been killed in Juarez. There have been mass graves discovered with over a hundred bodies, most of them women. And I don't think they account for American women who have been killed or have gone missing in Juarez either. Or the Chinese (or any other nationality) women that are forced into the slave trade that are killed in Juarez.