It is a practice that is justified and tolerated in many families, even in large sectors it has been normalized as if it were an innocent oversight, actually It is one of the types of violence suffered by millions of Mexican women: Food debtors exercise it not only against women, but also against entire generations that in our country live with an absent father who ignores his children in every way.
Failing to comply with the responsibility for support leads to economic damages and, above all, a psychological affectation that leaves traces for life, since minors who do not receive alimony do not usually live with the man who is their father.
“It is not normal for men to impregnate women and abandon them, just as it is not normal for men to disregard their parental responsibility,” he says. Diana Luz Vazquez Ruiz, activist woman promoting Sabine Law, an initiative that includes several legislative reforms that seek to toughen the sanctions against food debtors.
Parental abandonment of their children affects at least 35 million mothers in Mexico, which means, explains Vázquez Ruiz, that there are 35 million men who have fathered children and who are absent.
“That is the reality of this country, where these gentlemen go unpunished, hold public office, the law benefits them because they are patriarchal laws, because for an ordinary woman to initiate a paternity, recognition, or alimony claim, it implies spending money that we do not have, it implies leaving our jobs to be able to go to the hearings and it implies even suffering re-victimizations ”, he emphasizes.
The phrases that women who manage to sue their ex-partners usually hear, even in family courts, are part of the macho culture that exists in Mexico: “You are young and can work”, “Have dignity, what are you asking for?” , “It will be very difficult for the Lord to pay him.”
In other words, in addition to the fact that the justice system does not work, institutionally “the so-called single mothers” are placed in a position of lower hierarchy as if their rights and those of their children were less important than those guaranteed to men. .
That is why Diana Luz is blunt: Women who claim alimony for their children should not be called single mothers, nor divorced mothers, or the offensive word “left behind”, because A woman’s marital status has nothing to do with her motherhood.
“We are in a situation of vulnerability before institutions that are not sizing up this social problem, that are not interested in resolving the sentences of these gentlemen, that you can spend 10 years, 15 years, in search of alimony,” he regrets. the activist, who is the mother of Sabine, a five-year-old girl whose name now identifies the legal reform promoted by Diana Luz Vázquez.
The set of legislative changes proposed in the Sabine Law it includes that food debtors are entered as such in the Credit Bureau, and that all entities in the country have a public registry that shows those who fail to comply with the economic obligation that is generated with the children.
The proposal, which is addressed to the state Congresses and the federal Legislative Power, also raises the creation of a National Registry of food debtors, and that the Mexican State implement a genetic laboratory for paternity recognition.
The Registry must be public, says Diana Luz, since the intention is to inhibit the conduct and impunity that prevails among parents who do not pay child support, the legal term for the pension that children should receive, and which not only includes food, but also also home-room, clothing, education, medical assistance, recreation and entertainment.
So far in Mexico there are 22 registries of food debtors, although only eight are in operation, but not publicly, when in reality we must know “with their first and last name who they are, in which states they are, how many infants they have, since when they have been abandoned , how much they owe, as well as the registry of political violators managed by the INE that you can consult with a click” on the internet, he explains.
In addition, the Sabina Law also proposes that the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit investigate food debtors, especially those who declare themselves insolvent to fail to comply with their obligations.
“If the FIU enters it, it seems to me that we could be moving forward,” says Vázquez Ruiz, who also formulates the possibility that the federal government, specifically the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will deny passports to food debtors.
It is not only economic violence
For Diana Luz, “maternity in Mexico is almost impossible”, it is an act of resistance if you do it alone, because in addition to economic violence, the omission of food responsibilities leaves a mark that lasts a lifetime.
“The damage is not only economic, it is not only that mothers have to see how we do to raise our children, with double, triple shifts, (…) suffering abandonment by a father who says that you are not your son or daughter because it implies deep wounds ”, he points out.
That is why the road to walk in Mexico is uphill, considering that -in sociocultural terms- food debts, and the refusal to recognize children have normalized, as if it were an anecdote that serves as a reaffirmation of masculinity.
Against this situation the Sabine Law it has found receptive ears among local legislators in Michoacán, Mexico City, and Yucatán, although there is also the possibility that the reforms proposed by Diana Luz Vázquez will be analyzed in the Congresses of Veracruz and the State of Mexico.
surya palaces Journalist and lawyer, specialist in legal analysis and human rights. She has been a reporter, radio host and editor.