Mexico: Suspected murder attempt against Lydia Cacho

English PEN is deeply concerned by the suspected sabotage of journalist Lydia Cacho‘s vehicle in what is feared was an attempt on her life.
On 7 May 2007, investigative journalist and human rights activist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro arrived at Mexico City international airport. She was accompanied by three police bodyguards due to death threats received as a result of her work. Cacho and the guards got into a vehicle allegedly belonging to the Attorney General (Procuraduría General de la República). After a few kilometres the driver lost control of the car and narrowly avoided crashing. On inspection it was discovered that the nuts on one of the wheel had been loosened, suggesting that this was a deliberate attempt to cause an accident. Cacho and her lawyer lodged an official complaint on 8 May.
This apparent attempt on Cacho’s life may be connected to a macabre death threat made against journalists four days earlier. On World Press Freedom Day (3May) a corpse’s head was left on a street in the eastern city of Veracruz along with a message threatening local columnist Milo Vera (of the daily newspaper Notiver) and other journalists, according to Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF). The message read: ‘Here is a gift for journalists, and other heads will fall, as Milo Vela well knows’ (see RSF reports that it is suspected that the death threat was the work of drug traffickers.
Both incidents follow the killing of yet another Mexican journalist, Saúl Noé Martínez Ortega (Diario de Agua Prieta and El Escorpión newspapers and Interdiario magazine) based in Agua Prieta in Sonora State. Martínez was abducted from outside the Public State Security Headquarters in Agua Prieta by unidentified armed men on 16 April. His badly decomposed body was found in a ravine near the Chihuahua-Sonora state border a week later. Martínez was a crime reporter and it is thought that his murder was connected to his investigation into the recent kidnapping and murder of one of his sources, a police informer and former policeman. To date, Martínez’ death has been attributed to organised crime. Journalists have been repeatedly attacked by drug traffickers in Sonora and other northern states.


• According to PEN research, six print journalists have been killed in Mexico and two disappeared since November 2006.
• Insult and defamation charges were brought against Cacho in 2005 in connection with her book The Demons of Eden: the Power behind Pornography (Los Demonios del Edén: el poder detrás de la pornografía). The insult charges were dropped in February 2006 and the criminal defamation charged dismissed in January 2007. She continues her investigations into a child pornography and prostitution network.
Please send appeals:


•         Expressing alarm at the large numbers of journalists threatened, killed and disappeared in Mexico in the last six months;
•         Expressing concern for the safety of Lydia Cacho and calling for a thorough and impartial investigation into the suspected murder attempt against her;
•         Calling for a thorough and impartial investigation into the murder of Saúl Noé Martínez Ortega
•         Urging that all possible measures be taken to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice and halt the pattern of killings and violence against journalists


Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos (President)
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Fax: ( 52 55) 52772376
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President

Lic. Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza
Procurador General de la República (Attorney General)
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Teléfono 52 55 5346 0108
Fax: 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask “tono de fax, por favor”)
Salutation: Señor Procurador General/Dear Attorney General

David Vega Vera
Fiscal Especial
Fiscalía para la Atención de los Delitos Contra Periodistas

(Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists)
Salutation: Señor Fiscal Especial/Dear Special Prosecutor

It may be more effective to send appeals to Mexican representatives in London:

HE Señor Juan Bremer de Martino CVO
Embassy of Mexico
16 St George Street
London W1S 1LX
Fax: 020 7495 4035

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