Nezahualcóyotl Cordero, director of CG Noticias and critical of the government of Quintana Roo (Mexico), suffered an assassination attempt as he left his home in Cancún last Tuesday. He was saved because the criminal’s gun that was pointed at his head jammed, during which time he managed to pounce on the attacker, who previously he would have blurted out: “I came for you journalist.” The Mesoamerican country usually leads the ranking as the deadliest for communication professionals, followed by Afghanistan, which is run by the Taliban.
However, Alberto Peláez, chief correspondent for Televisa newscasts in Spain for more than 30 years and experienced in 19 wars, including Daesh, explains
to ABC that it is not a failed state: “Mexico cannot be demonized. The sister nation has 130 million people. Regarding the violence suffered by journalists, he does admit that, depending on the state, they are “extremely vulnerable.” «Lourdes Maldonado was a friend, combative and always told the truth. That’s why they killed her. Accountability must be demanded.”
The everlasting position of the Government with the usual deployment of forces and various communiqués after a media case of violence such as that of Maldonado has followed its usual path: «There are important advances, prosecutions, arrests and lines of investigation”, predicted Rosa Icela, Minister of Security and Citizen Protection, without giving specific data.
He added that there will be a change in the protection system for journalists whose banner is the panic button, seen as failed. As EP notes, the position of President López Obrador does not help. Splashed by his eldest son’s house in Texas, allegedly ceded by a former director of Bake Hughes -the second largest oil company in the world-, he takes the opportunity to attack his biggest scourge, the famous journalist Carlos Loret de Mola, whom he calls a “beater, mercenary and without principles” and the no less well-known Carmen Aristegui, whom he accuses of “cheating for a long time.” Both have led the investigations into the presidential family.
Regarding the 47 murders of informants in the middle of his six-year term, López Obrador assures that “the (political) adversaries use them to attack us” and declares that “the aggressors are always or almost always arrested.” The National Human Rights Commission reports that justice is served in only one of every ten murders of journalists, the rest go unpunished.
The Mexican state of Zacatecas is one of the most dangerous due to the struggle for control of the drug route between organized gangs. Here there have been scenes and warnings of barbarism never seen before, such as the ten bodies abandoned in an SUV in the central square or the ten bodies recently hung from bridges on the outskirts of the capital. The Spanish Raquel Ollaquindia, presenter on the Televisa Zacatecas newscast, explains that so far this year alone twelve policemen have already been murdered: “If they don’t respect the security forces, what can we expect them to do with the journalists, who Are we only armed with a notebook and a pen?” “Fear always exists in this context and as a woman fear is double,” insists the journalist. The figures support her concern: eleven femicides are committed daily in the country and there are 434 attacks against women journalists, according to the Women’s Communication and Information organization. The journalist puts another problem on the table: “We cannot trust the authorities to protect us. Besides, they are mainly the ones who attack journalists. You don’t know who to trust anymore.” As ‘Article19’ has documented, more than half of the attacks occurred against journalists who were covering news on corruption and politics, for which many were threatened by public officials.
Miguel Hernández, a reporter for the Mexican Editorial Organization chain, works in Tijuana, where two of the last journalists have been murdered, whom he was dealing with: “You try not to name those who are investigating these murders. If 98 out of 100 homicides, according to Reporters Without Borders, go unpunished, With what guarantee do you report your work? Hernández analyzes the extreme situation: «The atmosphere is rarefied. Not even the most sophisticated mechanism is going to save your life if someone dangerous feels threatened by what you write. The State should give guarantees, since with two calls you have a hit man at your service.
lack of protection
Journalist Laura Sánchez Ley fled from Tijuana to the capital due to the violence inflicted on her by the federal police in a demonstration against Pemex, the Mexican oil company. She was one of the speakers at the protest in front of the Ministry of the Interior after the shooting death of her friend Lourdes Maldonado. Given the pressure exerted, he denounces that the State Human Rights Commission leaked his personal data to the police. After covering drug trafficking events, he felt “vulnerable.” «Lourdes came to break the model since as women we were relegated to the entertainment section. We faced contempt at work and that of the police on the streets, “he admits. To this must be added that they do not have access to bulletproof vests or a monitoring system because their salary does not usually exceed 200 euros per month, so many are forced to have a second job to reach a decent remuneration. “None of the cases of dead journalists are solved, You don’t even know what happens in hot zones. Margarito Martínez -murdered a few days ago- was a fighter, he arrived before the police at the scene of the crime and did the work that nobody wanted to do. The photojournalist helped the agents, on occasions, to move the dead”, narrates her friend.
The president of Periodistas Unidos, Jorge Meléndez, who writes for more than thirty media outlets, was the promoter of the mobilization of reporters that was held on January 26. Of course, he confesses that after the protest many participants have been asked to remain silent. According to ‘Article 19’, 45 percent of the murders of journalists are perpetrated by municipal authorities and 30% by drug traffickers. Meléndez, is clear about how he would stop the violence against the union, tells ABC: “A professional organization is needed to monitor the defense mechanism for journalists and the Prosecutor’s Office, but this Government reduced the budget.”
The tension is maximum, as shown by the fact that half of the media consulted quoted for ABC: “We will not speak out of fear.”