The Women of Caltongo Who Opened the Government’s Doors: Social Accountability at the Edge of Mexico City

Date: December 2019
Author(s): Daniela Rea with photos by Mónica González
Publication type: Accountability Note
Published by: Periodistas de a Pie, Pie de Página, ControlaTuGobierno and Accountability Research Center

The government’s plans to repair a central avenue in the Mexico City neighborhood of Caltongo brought together a group of women of diverse ages and backgrounds who were concerned about the government’s corruption and its lack of public consultation and transparency. They began to organize themselves, forming the group Caltongo Organized, and with the help of the civil society organization ControlaTuGobierno, they accessed government budget and contract information and learned about laws and regulations. They educated their fellow community members, advocated for the community’s concerns to be taken into account, and monitored the execution of the road project, which allowed them to successfully engage with government authorities to carry out its responsibilities. In this struggle, they learned that the authorities exist to serve the community; they also learned that information is power. With their struggle, the women of Caltongo sowed the seed of a community organization that seeks to make decisions about their territory and their own lives. This Accountability Note is based on a three-part journalistic series published by Pie de Página on August 19 – 21, 2019. For all the original articles, photos and videos, see Mujeres de Caltongo.

Daniela Rea, author Daniela Rea is a reporter, author of the book “Nadie les pidió perdón” (“No one apologized to them”), and co-author of the book “La Tropa. Por qué mata un soldado” (“The Troops: Why a soldier kills”). She directed the documentary film “No sucumbió la eternidad” (“Eternity did not succumb”). She writes about the social impact of violence, memory and human rights. https://Piedepagina.Mx/Author/Danielarea/.   Mónica González, photographer Mónica González is a photographer with a degree in Political Science from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). She has worked with a variety of media outlets and national and international magazines. She obtained the Fonca fellowship in both 2009–2010 and 2013–2014, and the 2011 National Journalism Award (Premio Nacional de Periodismo) for Photography for the project Geography of Pain (Geografía del Dolor). In 2019 she obtained the Gabriel García Márquez awards in the categories of Innovation and Coverage for the collective works “Women in the Shop Window” (”Mujeres en la vitrina“) and ”The Country with the 2,000 Mass Graves” (“El país de las dos mil fosas“).