An At-risk Mexican Journalist in Exile Speaks Out About Veracruz

MxJTP Editorial Note
This open letter — written during the recent disappearance and murder of Veracruz crime journalist Gregorio Jiménez — is from Miguel Ángel López Solana who lives in exile outside Mexico after his brother, mother, and father were killed in 2011. López Solana is the surviving journalist of a family of Veracruz journalists. His father was MILO, Miguel Ángel Lopez Velasco, a well-known journalist for Notiver. His brother, Misael López Solana also worked for Notiver as a photojournalist. The following month, in July 2011, Notiver reporter Yolanda Ordaz was also murdered.
 As the Committee to Protect Journalists’ (CPJ) Mike O’Connor (who died in December 2013) reported in 2011, the deaths prompted many journalists working in Veracruz to flee the state. The letter was made available to Frontera-List and was translated by Molly Molloy of New Mexico State University and editor of Frontera-List. It is being published with the permission of López Solana and Molly Molloy. PT  

To my colleagues in south Veracruz: 

This letter comes to you from Miguel Ángel López Solana, writing somewhere in the Americas where he lives in exile from the dangerous conditions that swept his family away in 2011—a crime that to this day has not been solved by Veracruz authorities.

From exile——

The intense and constant attacks on freedom of expression in the State of Veracruz continue to cause irreparable losses and suffering while the authorities act as accomplices in the crimes committed against our fellow journalists and publishers. We have seen how they fabricate witnesses through torture and violence and how easy it is for them to find any dead citizen guilty of any crime they wish and then shamelessly spread false information to smear the victims’ entire family. Seeing the harrowing crime scenes is never enough for them; they use whatever they can to defame the victims and their families.

In the next few hours we will watch as they concoct another lie to supposedly clarify the case of the missing reporter of Liberal del Sur and Noti Sur, Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, who was abducted by a group of armed men. It looks as if the Attorney General of the State of Veracruz has everything planned and prepared, we could say they are just following the usual pattern. They certainly know everything about the victim and nothing about the perpetrator(s) of the crime. But the strangest thing is that the members of these special law enforcement groups set up to investigate cases of attacks on the press are always the same. Only the victims change.

And it is not the first time that Enoc Maldonado is named as the special prosecutor in an investigation of attacks against reporters and media outlets. He also was part of a special group investigating the case of the murder of Regina Martinez, our colleague from Proceso, and there is no doubt in that case that they fabricated witnesses through torture. Maldonado was also part of a special group in charge of the investigation of the shootout in the streets of Villarin, Veracruz, where a lieutenant of the Zetas Cartel was killed. We have no reason to doubt his experience in these sinister, but effective methods for obtaining justice. How can we believe a person with such a resume? Hasn’t he gotten this job through his skill at inventing lies? We can believe anything except that Enoc Maldonado is really good at his job.

In the case of Gregorio, I know from reports from colleagues that the police delayed more than a half hour in getting to the scene and that the only thing they did when they got there was to ask the name of the kidnapped journalist. Then they left. They did not want to spend too much time at the scene and they did not even ask the neighbors any questions. And this is the so-called trustworthy police heralded by the government of Javier Duarte de Ochoa? “Tell me what you brag about and I’ll tell you what you don’t have,” says the popular saying. Why are so many millions of pesos invested in security in the state of Veracruz, anyway?

Today once more, we demand justice and an honest clarification of the aggression committed against Gregorio Jimenez. We are fed up with the lies and tired of ineptitude and stupidity. Isn’t it enough that they call us “the fucking media” (“Pinches Medios”) as the Secretary of Public Security, Arturo Bermudez did recently. We know for sure that he has no respect for the press. But, what the government of Javier Duarte doesn’t know is that the journalists of Veracruz and of all Mexico “would rather die standing tall than live on our knees.” There are many of us now who have experienced and suffered these violent attacks. We as citizens do not deserve this evil and corrupt government with impunity its greatest ally, the government of Javier Duarte de Ochoa buying off our conscience.

From my exile in the United States, I offer my solidarity and support to the family of my fellow reporter, Gregorio Jimenez, and to each and every reporter in the south of Veracruz who are now suffering the same pain that we went through in our own port city (Puerto de Veracruz). It is a wound that has not healed and that keeps me far away from my loved ones. But my heart and my thoughts are with you.

Miguel Ángel López Solana.

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