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Singer Edita Guerrero’s death spotlights violence against women in Peru

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Lima (AFP) – Peruvian police have launched a nationwide manhunt for the husband and suspected killer of Edita Guerrero, a telegenic singer whose death has sparked a rare discussion about violence against women.

Guerrero, a founding member of successful cumbia group Corazon Serrano, died of brain damage in March after being hospitalized in the capital Lima.

Her husband, Paul Olortiga, is suspected of beating the 30-year-old singer to death, and has been on the run since authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on Friday.

The case comes after actress and singer Magaly Solier spoke out against sexual harassment in May after a man masturbated behind her on a crowded Lima bus.

The two incidents have opened a conversation on violence against women in Peru, a socially conservative country of 30 million people where such issues are rarely discussed in public.

“We’re asking women not to stay quiet and to report cases of abuse and violence,” said Milena Justo, the head of women’s rights group the Manuela Ramos Movement.

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The government has no reliable statistics on domestic violence because reports are so rare.

According to the women’s ministry, 131 women were victims of homicide last year in Peru, more than half of them between 18 and 34 years old.

Women’s Minister Carmen Omonte said Monday that sexual harassment and domestic violence have traditionally been considered “private matters” in Peru.

“That’s why women tend to keep quiet,” she said.

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– ‘Constant harassment’ –

Omonte has launched a program to encourage women to stand up for their rights together with the coach of the national women’s volleyball team, Natalia Malaga, a former Olympian who is one of the country’s most famous public figures.

“Women must speak up for ourselves and demand respect,” said Malaga when they launched the program earlier this month.

Solier, the actress who condemned an incident of public masturbation on a bus, said that in addition to domestic violence, “Peruvian women are subjected to constant sexual harassment in public.

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“That’s why there’s so much violence in Peru,” she added.

Solier, the 27-year-old star of award-winning film “The Milk of Sorrow,” said the incident on the bus took place in front of dozens of passengers who did nothing to defend her.

Her public condemnation led the municipal transport authority to launch a plan to separate men and women on buses at rush hour, as countries including Mexico, Egypt, Japan and Malaysia have done.

Last year 88.4 percent of women in Lima were victims of sexual harassment in public, according to a study by the Manuela Ramos Movement.

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Many are afraid to lodge complaints.

“In many homes in Peru and other countries, girls are still brought up to assume a role in society that is secondary to a man, accepting whatever he has in mind,” said Angelica Fuentes, the Mexican director of a foundation aimed at empowering Latin American women.

“As women, we need to understand that all change starts with education. In many cases, we generate machismo ourselves through the differences between our children at home.”

Machismo runs strong in Peru, where 65 percent of men think that if women wear provocative clothing they open themselves up to disrespect, according to a June survey by polling firm Ipsos.

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“Violence and abuse against women are an epidemic throughout the region. The only difference is that today we are talking about the problem and there are voices emerging to condemn it,” said Fuentes.

[Image via Edita Guerrero Facebook fan page]

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Lawrence O’Donnell throttles Donny Deutsch for saying Elizabeth Warren can’t beat Trump: ‘This is pure guesswork’

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Lawrence O'Donnell and Donny Deutsch had quite the exchange in the post-debate conversation on MSNBC Wednesday.

Deutsch tried to say that Sen. Elizabeth Warren's outstanding debate performance doesn't matter because Warren can't win in a match-up against President Donald Trump.

"I do not believe Elizabeth Warren, on stage with Donald Trump, beats him," he told the MSNBC panel. "And I think if we're honest with ourselves and we look hard at ourselves, I think a lot of people agree with me. It's — and I also think when you can label somebody a socialist, 57 percent of this country thinks that word is un-American. I'm not saying it's fair. When he can blanket Elizabeth Warren as a socialist, and he's on stage with her, the Democrats lose."

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Father and daughter drowning at the border fuels anger at Trump immigration policies

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A shocking photograph of a Salvadoran man and his baby daughter drowned in the Rio Grande fueled a surge of emotion around the world Wednesday -- as US Democrats furiously denounced Donald Trump's immigration policies.

"Trump is responsible for these deaths," said Beto O'Rourke, one of several Democratic White House hopefuls who took to Twitter to lash out at the president.

Former vice president Joe Biden, who is also seeking the presidency in 2020, called the image "gut-wrenching."

"History will judge how we respond to the Trump administration's treatment of immigrant families & children -- we can't be silent," he said.

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Senator Elizabeth Warren leads Democrats in spirited first 2020 debate

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Ten Democrats clashed in the first debate of the 2020 presidential race Wednesday with Elizabeth Warren cementing her status as a top-tier candidate and several underdogs using the issue of immigration to clamor for the limelight.

The biggest American political debate since the 2016 presidential campaign is occurring over two nights in Miami, climaxing Thursday with former vice president Joe Biden squaring off against nine challengers, including number two candidate Bernie Sanders.

But Wednesday's first take was a spirited encounter between Democrats like ex-congressman Beto O'Rourke, Senator Cory Booker, former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on subjects as varied as health care, economic inequality, climate action, gun violence, Iran and immigration.

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