Tue, Oct 16, 2012 - Page 9 News List

The dangers of reporting the truth about Mexico’s bloody drug war

Scores of journalists have died in a country gripped by brutal “narco violence” that has claimed an estimated 60,000 lives since 2006, and still the death toll mounts. Now questions are being asked about who is really in charge — the cartels or the police and the politicians who have failed to respond

By Ed Vulliamy  /  The Observer, XALAPA, Mexico

“Is that working for the cartel? Federal officials use that context to make out that the dead are working for the cartels. I know reporters who get asked by the police chief, ‘Why are you so curious.’ That’s a threat,” he says.

However, “the people I know in Xalapa say that Regina Martinez was looking into the political and economic elite. That is what she wrote about,” he says.

Then O’Connor qualifies the judgment, only slightly, with a favorite dictum of his, that “Mexico is a country where you do not need facts to arrive at a conclusion. People will hold on to a belief without being able to give it a factual basis. But that does not mean it is not true.”

The atrocious news arrived just as the Hay festival left Xalapa: Another reporter from a journalistic family, and his daughter, had been killed — both decapitated. Roberto Rizzo Murrieta who worked for the Mundo de Cordoba paper, was murdered at home with his child Maria Antonia. The state prosecutor said again that “multiple lines of investigation” had been opened and a domestic employee was under suspicion.

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