The tragic news of the femicide of Valentina Cancela, a 17-year-old girl in the city of Punta del Este, has sent shockwaves throughout Uruguay. As her remains were discovered after the confession of her 17-year-old ex-partner — now the main suspect — the public has called out for justice for Valentina Cancela and measures to prevent and eradicate gender-based violence.
The prosecutor in charge of the case, Jorge Vas, has confirmed that the suspect collaborated with authorities to reveal the whereabouts of Cancela’s body, which was found in a well the aggressor had made to hide it. When the police arrived, they found the victim’s backpack with her belongings and biological remains. The suspect will be prosecuted as an adolescent offender, and could face imprisonment.
The Uruguayan justice system now faces the challenge of prosecuting the difficult case of a minor accused of murdering a girl who had been protected by restraining orders. With this femicide, 19 have been registered so far this year and Liliana Sarmoria, the victim’s mother, spoke of her daughter’s ex-boyfriend, portrayed as a violent person.
“It is clear that we can’t simply accept that the death of Valentina was an isolated incident. We must ensure that justice is done, and that every woman is able to live their lives free from fear,” said Uruguay President Luis Lacalle Pou in a statement released Thursday.
This shocking incident has prompted a wave of calls for further action in Uruguay to prevent women from being victims of violence and is a reminder to all Latin American countries to take stronger measures against gender-based crimes. The tragic loss of Valentina Cancela has amplified the urgency for immediate reforms in Uruguay, as well as engaging all citizens in the fight against femicide.
With information from Infobae