Tag: Lydia Cacho

Extremely Dangerous: Being a Journalist or Reporter in Mexico

Translated by Jane Brundage for Mexico Voices. From the newspaper Reforma, original Spanish by Denise Dresser

Stories of the country of the absurd. Stories of the country of contradiction. Mexico today, where freedom of speech and the press live under the pretense of laws that say they defend them. Where for journalists the most common words are fear, silence, death, censorship or a new euphemism: dismissal for “breach of trust”. A reality described in Article 19’s Annual Report about the violence committed against journalists in Mexico. The title says it all: “State of Censure.” A state of defenselessness for human rights defenders, bloggers, tweeters, social and student leaders who live in permanent fear. Because raising a voice to report, disagree, criticize, carries a high risk.The title is not accidental. It invites readers to play with words. State as government that censures, or the state as climate that leads communicators to fall into line, self-censor, mimic the official line. The state of fear that the reprimand can arrive at any moment. And the fear grows daily since 326 attacks were documented against the media in 2014, only four fewer than the previous year.

During the first two years of Enrique Peña Nieto’s administration, ten journalists have been killed. During the government of Felipe Calderón, a journalist was assaulted every 48.1 hours; in the Peña Nieto administration to date an aggression occurs every 26.7 hours. In the Federal District. In Quintana Roo. In Veracruz. In Guerrero. The states where it is most dangerous to tell power what it does not want to hear.
The Internet—sanctuary for many media—has also become common place for attacks, threats, harassment. A place where contents are falsified, portals are attacked and journalists are defamed. A site where, anonymously, we are called “whores” and it is written to us:

“respect @epn, or we will hang you by the ass with a meat hook, bitch”; or we are tweeted

“respect our president @epn we are going to kill you, fucking bitch. The PRI arrives even if it hurts.”

In the last two years, assaults on women communicators and documentarians increased 20 percent. They takes a particular form. They attack the dignity, draw ghoulish attention to privacy, use gender as an excuse to trample.

The fence is deliberately closing. In this administration, the average of attacks on freedom of expression rose 80 percent. In this government, 48 percent of attacks on journalists have been committed by a public official. The State itself muzzles. What should protect freedom of expression becomes the main perpetrator of attacks against it.
Because despite laws, mechanisms and “special” prosecutors, the complete impunity of those who attack the press persists. Because Mexican democracy is dying alongside free journalism. Because Angélica Rivera will not sell her White House and Luis Videgaray [Treasury Secretary] will not explain the conditions under which he bought his own house. Because the PRI wants to win Mexico City with networks woven by Cuauhtémoc Gutiérrez de la Torre [former PRI head in Mexico City accused of running a prostitution ring from party offices]. Because the governor of Quintana Roo prefers to shoot the messenger than pay attention to her message.
Here was the case of Edwin Canché, tortured for photographing the crash involving the mayor’s nephew. Or Gregorio Jiménez, murdered by an armed commando. Or the Northwest Sinaloa newspaper, which has been the object of 47 incidents of theft, looting, physical assaults, threats and aggressions. Or Karla Silva, beaten by three men, in order that “she fucking stop her articles.” Or Pedro Canché, imprisoned for documenting an eviction. Or the weekly Lights of the Century, cloned 61 times, in which the covers were falsified in order to make reference to the supposed achievements of Governor Roberto Borge.Or that of Carmen Aristegui, supposedly fired for the “use of a trademark”, when the real story includes editorial guidelines—equivalent to censorship—that the company intended to force her to sign, and the role of a friendly mediator, José Woldenberg, which should have worked, whom MVS chose to ignore.
Faced with these cases, society must fight for the freedom that is being lost, murdered journalist after journalist censured. To fight for the freedom to know, declare, argue, investigate Casas Blancas [White Houses] and political leaders with black histories. To defend freedom, as Yoani Sánchez says, is the possibility of standing on a streetcorner and shouting:

“Here there is no freedom.”

Reforma only allows subscribers to access its articles online.

*Denise Dresser is a Mexican political analyst, writer, and university professor. After completing undergraduate work at The College of Mexico, she earned her Ph.D. in Politics at Princeton University. She is currently a faculty member in the Department of Political Science at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), where she teaches such courses as Comparative Politics, Political Economy and Contemporary Mexican Politics. She has taught at Georgetown University and the University of California. Twitter: @DeniseDresserG

The 2011 Women’s Day Speech I Did Not Give

This is the English translation of the 2011 Mexico Women’s Day talk I did not give.

Its context is Mexico, the wide-spread abuse of women, and the 300-600 unsolved murders of women in Ciudad Juárez durng in the last ten years, a plague which has spread to other cities in Mexico.

Women are not cows, nor mascots, nor toys to humiliate, dominate, and control.

You know this, but many men here do not.

Because some men don’t feel deserving, they have to rob and rape.

And not just adult women.

We know through Lydia Cacho about the extensive sexual exploitation of children as young as six years old.

Through Digna Ochoa (October 2001), we know that moral courage is extremely dangerous, and that many men do not tolerate a just and swift application of the law.

(Look up Digna Ochoa in Wikipedia. She was kidnapped several times and finally murdered, for her activities as a human rights lawyer. Amnesty International had celebrated her bravery with their Enduring Spirit Award. After a year of essentially non-investigation, Mexico City officials ruled her death was a suicide, even though a warning note had been attached to her body and forensics showed she could not have shot herself.)

We know that those who need impunity do not know how to love, neither others, nor themselves.

Through Atenco (May 2006), we know that the police – that is to say, men without much self-esteem – have to rob and humiliate. How would you otherwise explain their behavior?

‘He put his fingers in my mouth and vagina and forced me to give him oral sex. He spilled his sperm on my sweater, and then another policeman did the same thing and grabbed my breasts and said, this one’s suckling, the little bitch.’

Women are not cows.
Men, on the other hand, are frequently dogs.
But this incarnation is not obligatory.

In my opinion, we should not be celebrating Women’s Day, rather (celebrating) women themselves.

But how can we do this, if we men don’t even know how to celebrate ourselves?

My thirty years in men’s groups tells me that we do not really know who we could be.

We have learned just about two ways of relating to women, in moments of conflict.

By hitting them, or by going away pouting.

We don’t realize that the full range of emotions available to women is also available to us.

We haven’t learned how to talk to women. They are so much more skilled, tactically, in this area than we are – a skill they have learned in order to survive.

But we can learn to defend themselves, with words, and not have to feel panic and rage.

We can learn to feel (and distinguish) emotions.

We can gradually learn to recognize our disappointments, our anger, our fear, and deeply buried sadness for so many things. Sometimes, for the distant father, who may have learned distance and silence from his father.

We can learn to support other men, instead of competing with them. We can learn to talk with other men about what it means to be a man in this world.

And when we discover that we have emotions, and that we don’t have to feel shame because of them, then we can be less emotionally dependent on the women in our lives.

(Gradually) we can learn that there are no guarantees of loyalty, and that any form of domination or pressure, or presumption of loyalty makes a mature and satisfying love impossible.

And then, perhaps, we will learn that women are not cows, and that we are not dogs.”