LULAC Demands Justice And Protection For The Women Of Puerto Rico
Nation’s Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Calls Scores of Femicides Alarming and Unacceptable
Washington, DC - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is calling for immediate federal action by the US Justice Department to investigate the disturbing number of women who have been murdered in Puerto Rico in recent months, allegedly at the hands of intimate partners. This includes two highly-publicized cases including one involving 27-year Keishla Rodríguez, the pregnant girlfriend of Olympic boxer Felix Verdejo; the other, 35-year old Andrea Ruiz, who had previously filed complaints of domestic violence against her partner but the matter was dismissed by the judge. She was later found dead and her body partially burned outside a remote countryside town. The murders have outraged family members, friends and millions of Puerto Ricans throughout the island and the mainland.
“We are heartbroken and angered by the growing number of women who have been so brutally murdered,” says Elsie Valdes-Ramos National Vice-President for Women and lifelong resident of Puerto Rico. “Many of the victims have been killed very violently and openly, almost as if their killers are defying anyone from prosecuting them for their vicious crime. We are calling for the federal government to assist local law enforcement and send a strong message that those who commit femicide will be tracked down, captured and prosecuted, up to and including, special circumstances exposing them to capital punishment.”
So far in 2021, nearly two-dozen women have been murdered, a number which is on track to surpass the 60 female murder victims in Puerto Rico during 2020. The current number is disputed by some police officials who do not keep track of all women murdered in the same manner. Critics say the reason is authorities want to keep the death count of women killed by intimate partners artificially low.
“Keishla’s death was especially tragic,” says Valdes, “This beautiful girl was injected with drugs, chained and tied with a concrete block, thrown from a bridge, then shot by her accused killer who fired at her from above as she was in the water. This is a heinous crime that deserves the maximum punishment no matter how famous her accused killer is. It is imperative that violence against women in Puerto Rico be stopped and that’s only going to happen when those machistas who commit the crime know they will pay a very dear price, including their own life.”
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1,000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit https://lulac.org/