Posted: Sunday, June 25, 2017. 2:00 p.m. CST.
By Lisa Shoman: I was planning on a lazy Sunday morning indulging in my favorite morning ritual – freshly ground, freshly brewed coffee pressed coffee and cookies and a good book. I certainly was not planning a rant – but then I decided to skim the news I missed on Friday night. And one a mi Bally posted a thing on religious views of women- and suddenly, ah juss coodn stop miself.
Flashback to 11 years ago when this made the nightly news : “16 year old laborer charged with Murder of Orange Walk woman Sixteen-year-old Freddy Amir Blanco, a laborer of August Pine Ridge was formally arrested and charged for the shooting death of twenty five year old Nelsi Chuc. On Thursday night we told you that Chuc was killed by an obsessed teen who pulled a gun on her on Tuesday, September twentieth after she ignored his advances. Chuc and another woman were out exercising in an area called Sugar Road when Blanco approached her and an argument started.
Chuc’s family said that Blanco told her; “If you are not for me, you will not be for nobody else” and then shot her in the neck. Blanco is expected to return to Magistrate’s court in Orange Walk Town on Tuesday.” Last Friday, Freddy Blanco’s long running court saga (may have) finally concluded.
But In 2017, six years later, the reports were not any longer about a teen obsessed with an older woman, but of “a married, 26 year old mother of a seven year old” – with whom he was “having an affair”. Not just that twist, but that purportedly, “Blanco, Chuc and another woman were smoking weed in a cane field in the August Pine Ridge area when the couple got into an argument over who was smoking more weed.” “The couple”? An “an argument over who was smoking more weed.” ? What happened to the report that he said to her; “If you are not for me, you will not be for nobody else”? The Channel 7 news report then reports rather matter of factly that “Blanco stormed off, got a ride home and retrieved a shot gun that his father was repairing. He then rode back to the cane field and fired a single shot to Chuc’s chest, killing her on the spot.” No obsession, no stalking behavior and no murderous jealous words.
The news on Friday night was that “Blanco handed himself over to police the next day, and pled guilty to murder in court the day after that.” But the 7 news report also stated that “Blanco, now 22, returned to court this afternoon and changed his plea to guilty for a lesser charge. His attorney, Oscar Selgado, made a plea for mitigation, asking the judge for leniency. Selgado asked that the court impose a sentence between 14-18 years, citing that Blanco had enrolled in several rehabilitation programs over the last few years. Blanco was eventually handed a sentence of 17 years with eligibility for parole after 4.” And just like that, Nelci Chuc’s murder was wiped away. Blanco was allowed to plead to a lesser charge. No mention was made again of his obsession. He will be eligible for parole in 4 years for that homicide, having by then only served 10 years for killing Nelci Chuc.
The inescapable implication is that she became somehow partly responsible for her own death. Incredibly, the Channel 5 report is even worse. Incredibly because Great Belize Productions is headed by a woman. But in all fairness, maybe she has no editorial control or interest.
The Channel 5 headline is : “Orange Walk Man Pleads Manslaughter for Death of Girlfriend” And the News 5 report breathlessly recounts that “Twenty-two-year-old Freddy Amir Blanco pleaded guilty to manslaughter for the September 2011 killing of his lover Nelsi Chuc in August Pine Ridge. ” After that, News 5 does a better job of explaining the sentencing of Blanco than does News 7; but neither media house reports on WHY Banco was allowed to plead down to manslaughter having already pleaded guilty to murder six years ago. Amazingly, News 5 reports that “Attorney Selgado was still not too satisfied with the deduction and has indicated that he will appeal”. At least I can take some scant comfort in knowing that while the Court of Appeal MAY reduce that sentence, they MAY also increase it.
What are the things I take away from this episode? 1. Women’s (and girls’) lives in the Jewel are very cheap. 2. Women and girls, can and are murdered, raped, abused and violated in Belize with impunity. 3. Women and girls in the Jewel, cause their own rape, abuse and murder by their conduct, clothing, attitude – and sometimes, location. 4. Violence and murderous rage in Belize is absolutely accepted as a “cultural” norm. 5. None of this happens to “good women “. Or “good girls”. 6. Nobody (except family and close friends) really cares.
There but for chance and maybe grace, go I, my sisters, my nieces, my friends, my clients. Wait. At least two of my clients and at least one friend did go there. There being an early grave, leaving small children behind – and a murderer who got little or no just punishment. And on a lovely, peaceful, windy, Sunday summer morning in June, with birdsong surrounding me, my soul is convulsed with rage and I can’t keep silent any longer.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
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