Posts Written by Martha

Mexican Social Development Secretary’s racist soundbite scolding indigenous women for reproductive choices has a long history

This month, the head of Mexico’s anti-poverty program celebrated the opening of a community kitchen by telling indigenous women that they would be penalized for having children. Justifiably, these statements provoked outrage. But unfortunately, they are nothing new. Mexico has a long history of problematic population policies, often supported by the United States. And today, Mexico, much like its neighbor to the North, punishes the behavior of people while denying them reproductive freedoms and rights.

Thursday, May 1st, Rosario Robles, the Secretary of Social Development in Mexico (SEDESOL) stood before a crowd of indigenous cora people in Los Encinos, Nayarit to launch a new community kitchen created through “Opportunities,” a cash transfer government program. But Robles was quick to admonish the behavior of indigenous women:

“I also want to take the chance to tell you all that you are not going to get more funds from Opportunities for having more children. Opportunities will no longer benefit families that have many children, rather it is going to support those that have fewer children, because the small family lives better… …We’re also asking for you to go to the family planning centers, so that you have three children and no more.”