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A front-line human rights defender fighting murderous impunity in the Mexican borderlands The Mexican border state of Chihuahua and its city Juárez have become notorious the world over as hotbeds of violence. Drug cartel battles and official corruption result in more murders annually in Chihuahua than in wartorn Afghanistan. Thanks to a culture of impunity, 97 percent of t A front-line human rights defender fighting murderous impunity in the Mexican borderlands The Mexican border state of Chihuahua and its city Juárez have become notorious the world over as hotbeds of violence. Drug cartel battles and official corruption result in more murders annually in Chihuahua than in wartorn Afghanistan. Thanks to a culture of impunity, 97 percent of the killings in Juárez go unsolved. Despite a climate of fear, a small group of human rights activists, exemplified by the Chihuahua lawyer and organizer Lucha Castro, works to identify the killers and their official enablers. This is the story of La Lucha, illustrated in beautiful and chilling comic book art, rendering in rich detail the stories of families ripped apart by disappearances and murders—especially gender-based violence—and the remarkably brave advocacy, protests, and investigations of ordinary citizens who turned their grief into resistance.


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A front-line human rights defender fighting murderous impunity in the Mexican borderlands The Mexican border state of Chihuahua and its city Juárez have become notorious the world over as hotbeds of violence. Drug cartel battles and official corruption result in more murders annually in Chihuahua than in wartorn Afghanistan. Thanks to a culture of impunity, 97 percent of t A front-line human rights defender fighting murderous impunity in the Mexican borderlands The Mexican border state of Chihuahua and its city Juárez have become notorious the world over as hotbeds of violence. Drug cartel battles and official corruption result in more murders annually in Chihuahua than in wartorn Afghanistan. Thanks to a culture of impunity, 97 percent of the killings in Juárez go unsolved. Despite a climate of fear, a small group of human rights activists, exemplified by the Chihuahua lawyer and organizer Lucha Castro, works to identify the killers and their official enablers. This is the story of La Lucha, illustrated in beautiful and chilling comic book art, rendering in rich detail the stories of families ripped apart by disappearances and murders—especially gender-based violence—and the remarkably brave advocacy, protests, and investigations of ordinary citizens who turned their grief into resistance.

30 review for La Lucha: The Story of Lucha Castro and Human Rights in Mexico

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mark Robison

    If the word "femicide" is not one you come across often, this book will open your eyes, as it tells the stories of women who were killed simply for being women in Mexico, especially in Juarez and the state of Chihuahua. This is some harrowing stuff. The book also focuses on the killing of "human rights defenders" in general, although these are often mothers campaigning for the government to investigate the disappearances of their daughters and then become targets themselves. You might think this If the word "femicide" is not one you come across often, this book will open your eyes, as it tells the stories of women who were killed simply for being women in Mexico, especially in Juarez and the state of Chihuahua. This is some harrowing stuff. The book also focuses on the killing of "human rights defenders" in general, although these are often mothers campaigning for the government to investigate the disappearances of their daughters and then become targets themselves. You might think this is related to the violence committed by drug cartels, but it seems that much of it is done by those with government badges in the name of the "war on drugs" -- and the seeming support of former President Calderon. It's a book of reportage, told in graphic novel format. The art and story telling is strong throughout, although it's not at the level of Joe Sacco's books about Serbians and Palestinians. The book is structured as a series of short stories generally told in the voice of someone interviewed about what happened to themselves or their families and so some of them end abruptly or I wished they could've been told more fully. Still, this was memorable. These people fighting for justice in the face of realistic and immediate death threats are heroes and I loved knowing about them.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ai

    I haven't had much exposure to non-fiction graphic novels, but this was certainly a fantastic introduction. The story itself is laden with incredible people going up against continually insurmountable odds, but it's the the graphic style that is quite possibly the novel's most interesting aspect. The lack of colour reinforces the factual nature of the content, however, the drawing style is reminiscent of traditional comics - and in turn, superheroes - which functions to create an almost make-bel I haven't had much exposure to non-fiction graphic novels, but this was certainly a fantastic introduction. The story itself is laden with incredible people going up against continually insurmountable odds, but it's the the graphic style that is quite possibly the novel's most interesting aspect. The lack of colour reinforces the factual nature of the content, however, the drawing style is reminiscent of traditional comics - and in turn, superheroes - which functions to create an almost make-believe world that distances the reader from the horrific reality of the violence in Juarez. The reader is both intrigued and repulsed, and any form of art that can make me feel that way gets ALL of the praise. The only issue i had with this book is the lack of depth regarding the cases mentioned. While i understand this was more about the cast of people advocating and fighting for change, a little more backstory about one or two of the stories could have depicted the arbitrary and rampant violence in more human terms. This is definitely a book I'd recommend to fans of both graphic novels and human rights narratives.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    This graphic novel gives a very good luck at the sitution in Mexico - mostly in terms of femicide but also gives light in to the worries of journalists covering the country.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    An enlightening work in the form of a graphic novel - serial images - about people in N. Mexico who are trying to fight for human, especially women's, rights in a murderously corrupt and gang-"ruled" area. This is a very effective and easy- and quick-to-read publication which gives very directly quite an insight into the social chaos of the town of Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso. It was published in 2015 so there are references to NAFTA, El Chapo, and so forth. It was in mid-2015 tha An enlightening work in the form of a graphic novel - serial images - about people in N. Mexico who are trying to fight for human, especially women's, rights in a murderously corrupt and gang-"ruled" area. This is a very effective and easy- and quick-to-read publication which gives very directly quite an insight into the social chaos of the town of Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso. It was published in 2015 so there are references to NAFTA, El Chapo, and so forth. It was in mid-2015 that Pres. Trump announced his candidacy, this doesn't appear in the book - although the book is very timely, considering that Trump based much of his campaign on The Wall and so forth. The problem in Mexico is that there are powerful gangs, such as the Sinoloa gang, which have co-opted law enforcement, and these gangs eliminate rivals or human rights activists or their relatives with impunity. The lawlessness stems from the cooptation or corruption of law enforcement. The rule of law has collapsed in this area of Mexico, leading many to leave. The chaotic situation probably explains why so many are leaving not only Mexico, but other gang-ridden nearby Central American countries. Unfortunately, the market for drugs in the US means the profits are plowed into paying off the police in Mexico, who then look the other way no matter what gang members do. The police are dishonest. This book details human rights activists struggles despite overwhelming odds. At the end of the book, all you can do is pray these people survive - really they are saintly people, who refuse to knuckle under to the criminals, both in and outside of law enforcement in Mexico.

  5. 5 out of 5

    M.

    Read while in Oaxaca City, lent from friend who said I should read it, regarding the femicides going on in Mexico. A very good, if not stark and brief read focusing on various human rights activists and their stories, revealing the tactics & politics of the military/government and drug cartels (across borders) that has them murdering anyone who openly questions or even attempts to question their power. Fuck NAFTA et all.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katryna

    Thoroughly recommend this graphic novel. From the heart wrenching letter at the beginning, through to the beautifully drawn pictures that so graphically detail the work, struggle, fears and reality of daily life as a human rights defender, and even more so as a woman human rights defender in this case, this book captured my imagination and made me see Lucha Castro, and all who choose that path, as real life action heroes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Anderson

    Powerful story of the struggle of Lucha Castro and women human rights defenders in Mexico. The scale of their heroism in the face of deadly threats is incredible. Beautifully drawn this book is a wonderful tribute to the courage of these women.

  8. 5 out of 5

    George

    Great art depicting a gripping, frustrating story about the struggle against violence in Mexico. If you're interested in supporting their cause, you can donate to the Front Line Defenders on their website. https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/la... Great art depicting a gripping, frustrating story about the struggle against violence in Mexico. If you're interested in supporting their cause, you can donate to the Front Line Defenders on their website. https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/la...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robert Stout

    A graphic description of human rights defenders in Mexico done in comic book style. Good sense of place, good data, but doesn't dig very deeply into causes. A graphic description of human rights defenders in Mexico done in comic book style. Good sense of place, good data, but doesn't dig very deeply into causes.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michael Noonan

    I think the books really do has a strong sense of merit. Reading this book as an Irish person who is really interested in human rights I could not be prouder of Front Libe Defenders and the work they have put into this book. It's an incredible achievement and it shows and highlights how great an organisation is like Front Line Defenders is. In terms of the boon it provides a harrowing and chilling account of life in jaurez. It shows how badly females are treated and really the strong female lead I think the books really do has a strong sense of merit. Reading this book as an Irish person who is really interested in human rights I could not be prouder of Front Libe Defenders and the work they have put into this book. It's an incredible achievement and it shows and highlights how great an organisation is like Front Line Defenders is. In terms of the boon it provides a harrowing and chilling account of life in jaurez. It shows how badly females are treated and really the strong female leadership Mexico has. Lucia Castro is a role model to everyone and really is a strong woman to stand up to such horrible violence. The beatifiul artwork by Jon Sack shows every detail of Mexico bringing you into this world and forcing you to engage with this subject material. I believe these book has the power to inform and shock people into action. This book is a memoir as well to the dead and they should never be forgotten. A book for change and a book for anyone interested in human rights in the world. A great and powerful read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Montse

    Esta novela gráfica cae así, como un balde de agua helada que te quita el aliento. "La lucha" son las historias de varixs defensores de los DDHH en el norte de México como Lucha Castro, Marisela Escobedo, Josefina Reyes. Estas historias están llenas de brutalidad, de abusos cometidos por el Estado, de impunidad por los sistemas de justicia y sí, también hay un poco de esperanza. Creo que es un gran acercamiento a los hechos que se han ido desarrollándose en el norte de Mx a partir de los años nov Esta novela gráfica cae así, como un balde de agua helada que te quita el aliento. "La lucha" son las historias de varixs defensores de los DDHH en el norte de México como Lucha Castro, Marisela Escobedo, Josefina Reyes. Estas historias están llenas de brutalidad, de abusos cometidos por el Estado, de impunidad por los sistemas de justicia y sí, también hay un poco de esperanza. Creo que es un gran acercamiento a los hechos que se han ido desarrollándose en el norte de Mx a partir de los años noventas.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nick B

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is a straight-up eye-opening book about the extremely grim human-rights situation in Mexico, which features corruption and violence at every level of politics. Damn.. this book has a high body-count. This is not a "feel-good" book, and you wont likely have a hopeful outlook after reading it. But... do be inspired by the amazing tenacity and courage of the activists in this book. Do be cautious of anybody who tries to silence activism in any form. Do read this book. This is a straight-up eye-opening book about the extremely grim human-rights situation in Mexico, which features corruption and violence at every level of politics. Damn.. this book has a high body-count. This is not a "feel-good" book, and you wont likely have a hopeful outlook after reading it. But... do be inspired by the amazing tenacity and courage of the activists in this book. Do be cautious of anybody who tries to silence activism in any form. Do read this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Frank Ashe

    I temporarily stopped reading "Boys in Zinc" because it was going to be traumatic, and I picked up "La Lucha". Mistake - more of the same, but shorter. A book that should be read for the story it tells - harrowing. Illustrations carry the story forward well. I temporarily stopped reading "Boys in Zinc" because it was going to be traumatic, and I picked up "La Lucha". Mistake - more of the same, but shorter. A book that should be read for the story it tells - harrowing. Illustrations carry the story forward well.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A graphic novel full of exceptional women fighting femicide at a great cost.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Well-constructed and impactful. Makes it a little easier to read about a difficult topic.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Meg

    I am not sure how this book came upon my radar, but once I saw it--- I knew it would be of interest and a possible read for my students. I had a hard time tracking it down....so definitely thankful for having access to a university library, but now that I have read it....I know, it isn't what I hoped for. I expected it to follow the story of human rights violations on the border with Mexico....but well, sigh. It did, don't get me wrong--- but I don't feel like I learned something--- just that Ju I am not sure how this book came upon my radar, but once I saw it--- I knew it would be of interest and a possible read for my students. I had a hard time tracking it down....so definitely thankful for having access to a university library, but now that I have read it....I know, it isn't what I hoped for. I expected it to follow the story of human rights violations on the border with Mexico....but well, sigh. It did, don't get me wrong--- but I don't feel like I learned something--- just that Juarez is dangerous and there are a lot of disappearances and deaths around that area of the country. No surprises on either counts. I loved that it was a graphic novel, but my love stopped there. I found the story itself to be confusing-- a lot of information was left out and the story was incomplete. I finished the book more confused than when I read the story--- definitely NOT a good thing, especially when wanted to share a book with students. The drawings were good....no complaints there. Read? Don't bother. Go for something more informative and complete if this topic interests you.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Betsy

    This is a heart wrenching graphic novel detailing the work of human rights defenders in Juarez confronting femicide. Wonderful storytelling, haunting yet beautiful visuals.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Imelda

    Yo creo que leer y comprar este libro se lo debemos a las víctimas, a los defensores de derechos humanos, a los activistas que han perdido la vida o han perdido a su familia o han sido desterrados de su país. En Estados Unidos tenemos un Memorial Day y una vez que fui a un monumento de los caídos en la guerra de Vietnam donde los familiares habían dejado fotos de los soldados entendí porque, muchos de los jóvenes que mueren en las guerras no llegan a tener hijos que los recuerden y sus caras, su Yo creo que leer y comprar este libro se lo debemos a las víctimas, a los defensores de derechos humanos, a los activistas que han perdido la vida o han perdido a su familia o han sido desterrados de su país. En Estados Unidos tenemos un Memorial Day y una vez que fui a un monumento de los caídos en la guerra de Vietnam donde los familiares habían dejado fotos de los soldados entendí porque, muchos de los jóvenes que mueren en las guerras no llegan a tener hijos que los recuerden y sus caras, sus nombres, sus sueños, sus vidas se perderán mucho más pronto en el olvido del tiempo y de la historia. ¡Qué tragedia! Morir así y ser olvidado inmediatamente. Muchas de las historias en el libro son lo suficientemente famosas para que los que tratamos de seguir las historias de defensores de derechos humanos y periodistas en México las hayamos escuchado antes pero tenerlas todas juntas y leer el impacto que los asesinatos y desapariciones han tenido en los familiares aún vivos y en los pueblos es diferente. Es diferente porque impacta de manera diferente pero también porque está ahí en forma de libro, en forma perdurable y yo creo que lo mínimo que uno puede hacer ya no digamos como mexicano o como mujer o como persona que se interesa por los derechos humanos, lo mínimo que uno puede hacer como ser humano decente es recordar estas historias, no olvidarlas y tenerlas de forma perdurable.

  19. 5 out of 5

    MJ Foley

    La Lucha serves to capture the sometimes very bleak reality of the lives of Lucha and her fellow human rights defenders in Mexico in a powerful and accessible way. These true stories of bravery and dogged determination are incredibly moving. Dark topic, beautifully illustrated.

  20. 5 out of 5

    René

    Permanecerán abiertas

  21. 4 out of 5

    Morgan Beasley

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Gomez

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Castiblanco

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathy2Day

  25. 5 out of 5

    Juju

  26. 4 out of 5

    MLC

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ken

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andrés Santiago

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kendra Twenter

  30. 5 out of 5

    JJW

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