Searching for the truth, rummaging in the depths, bringing to light the darkest things that the most powerful do, in short, getting where no one wants you to go, it does not usually come out for free. Because in many places, like Mexico, when you pursue the truth, you are persecuted by death threats. And that is why Mexico is, along with Afghanistan, the most lethal country for journalists. In 2021 alone, a dozen journalists were killed in that country.
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In 2005, journalist Lydia Cacho was illegally detained by ten people in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, months after she published her book ‘Los demonios del Edén’, in which she uncovered a network of child trafficking and exploitation in that state. network in which the textile businessman Kamel Nacif, senators, congressmen and governors were directly involved. In that detention, the journalist was the victim of psychological torture and physical abuse, as well as death threats.
“I knew that I was going to face the most intense powers that be in Mexico,” says the journalist in Hora 25, who directly points to Kamel Nacif as the person behind everything. “He ordered me to be tortured, ordered my rape in jail and that I be assassinated.”
Before publishing their research they already tried to silence her. “They offered me a million dollars not to publish the book. I sent them flying and then I received phone calls saying that they were going to kill me and kill my father.” The account of these threats is shocking: “One of the messages that they left outside my house said that they were going to cut my body into pieces and that they were going to hand it over to my father and they gave my father a copy of that message.”
Cacho says that he had all kinds of evidence and that is why he continued, and continues, forward: “I found more than 120 images and videos in which these men appeared with small children and once you have that documentation of the truth, you cannot betray neither to your career nor to the victims, for that we are journalists, to tell the truth “.
“Some have a fascination with having sex with children and not necessarily because they are originally pedophiles, but because they are men who have so much power that they have already bought prostituted women of 20-25 years old, they are no longer interested, what they need to continue in that dynamics of sexual oppression, of feeling powerful over a body, is doing it with minors “.
After many years, says Cacho, he has managed to send his torturers and the former governor of Puebla, Mario Marín, to prison, “the first governor imprisoned for human trafficking and for torturing a journalist.” However, Cacho denounces the prevailing impunity in Mexico between the different layers of power. “56% of the cases of murders of journalists were orchestrated by the military or agents of the State and are not investigated for that,” he assures.
The journalist had to leave Mexico years ago. Today she lives in exile in Spain. “Exile is like leaving half your heart in your country. It is not a new home, it is a lair,” he says. But the fear never completely goes away. “I feel safe in Spain, but I am not sure that they will not come for me.”
Will he ever return to Mexico? “If I get old then I will be able to return to Mexico one day, but I don’t think it will be too soon because I still need to put several gangsters in jail and while the system is as it is I will not be sure.”
The story of Lydia Cacho has now been taken to the theater. The work ‘La infamia’ collects the life, the struggle and the persecution that this Mexican journalist has suffered.