MANIFESTING SINCE FEBRUARY 27 AT 1:38 P.M.
Femicides. Self-censorship. Murdered journalists. Three themes I would have never connected to Mexico, but they exist and are thriving in some regions at an alarming rate.
Femicide is the mass murdering of women because they are women. In the near U.S. border town, Juarez, nearly 400 women have been abducted and murdered since 1993. Jennifer Lopez and Antonio Banderas have made a movie based on this (and I’m certain it will be “sexy” with a complete trivial Hollywood ending).
There have been several documentaries done about this town. Diana Washington Valdez, journalist and author of Harvest Women, writes a Spanish and English blog about the disappearances. She also writes about the threats journalist encounter as they work to expose corruption in the government and organized crime.
Carlos Huerta, a longtime reporter at Norte de Ciudad Juarez, had to leave Juarez after he and his family received threats from alleged members of the drug cartel. The newspaper also took the unusual step of publishing a notice that it will cut back on its reporting of organized crime due to safety concerns, Editor Alfredo Quijano, said. The incident was reported to the international journalism organizations Reporters without Borders and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists.
I sat stunned for a moment. A mass murdering of women on the border of America and it is a result of greedy market demands? Journalists silenced because of a corrupt government and drug cartels and the American government is keen on spreading democracy through the world? It’s not adding up.
The Mexico Reporter is a blog connected to the Frontline Club,a publication for independent journalism. It covers culture and human rights issues, with a focus on violence against journalists and the media. Its Feb 7 edition, discusses a surge in violence against journalists and its fall out in the past week.
Inter American Press Association President Earl Maucker voiced concern at the increasing policy of self-censorship that is gripping the media in Mexico, and said: “We regret that once again a voice raised against organized crime has been silenced in Mexico, and this is a direct attack on the public’s right to information,”
And this from Vivirlatino:
The journalism profession was a dangerous game in Mexico in 2007, according to a recent report by that country’s National Center for Human Rights. The Center registered 84 cases of aggression against journalists which reportedly “violate basic fundamental rights”. Mexico’s La Jornada reports that among the aggressive acts were
homicides, injuries, kidnapping. The most common [aggressions] being intimidation and threats, including death threats, made by telephone, email or in person. In addition, according to the report, there were terrorist attacks on offices, spying on private residences and at media offices, phone espionage and theft.
I was exhausted after reading these stories. Then a surge of anger gripped me. How can the American press continue to paint Mexico and its citizens as “threats” to our country? Immigration isn’t so bad if you think why people are immigrating. Perhaps if we were the benevolent country we like to believe and say we are, then our borders would actually be open to the tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
Please sign this petition to Mexico’s President Felipe Calderó, urging him to stop the killings of women in Juarez.
For more information: Amnesty International:Murders in Mexico: The Women of Ciudad Juarez