• Advocating for Journalists in Dangerous Climate for Free Expression

    News and Commentary

    An interview with Tony Cohan, chair of PEN San Miguel’s Freedom to Write Committee.

    What is a project that you have been working on in recent months?

    Personally, I have been finishing a novel, my tenth book. I turned in the final draft a few weeks ago.

    The Writers in Prison Committee, which I am the chair of, has been working on Rapid Actions. The committee responds to the challenges and issues elaborated by PEN International. A particular case we’ve been working on is that of a journalist from Acapulco who was threatened with death. He crossed the border into the United States to try and seek asylum, assuming he would be treated decently. Instead he was chained, imprisoned, and put in a camp with rats and roaches. It was the most horrible experience for him. As a Mexican branch with roots in the United States, we tried to advocate on his behalf and to speak to human rights groups and political authorities. The decision was made that he should be returned to Mexico. Just last week he came back to Mexico, but where can he go? Continue Reading »

  • Gabriela Soto

    Mexico´s Endangered Journalists

    On June 4, 2018, Gabriela Soto was the target of a misogynist campaign via WhatsApp. Messages containing attacks and distortions about Sra. Soto’s personal life were sent, mainly to journalists and other communications people.

    Gabriela Soto writes for Noroeste, a Culiacán newspaper, and has a good reputation for investigative journalism. A week earlier, she wrote a series of articles about the candidates for Senator for Sinaloa. The articles contains some information about these candidates that was less than flattering, and it’s a commonly held belief that the WhatsApp attack was prompted by Soto getting too close to the truth in these as well as some earlier articles. Continue Reading »

  • Day of Freedom of Expression, June 7, 2018

    News and Commentary

    Manuel Buendía Tellezgirón

    A statement from PEN Mexico, endorsed by PEN Guadalajara and PEN San Miguel. Haga clic aquí para ver el original en español.

    We have arrived at June 7th, the Day of Freedom of Expression, apparently forgetting the anniversary of the death of Manuel Buendía, “the first journalist assassinated by the narcopolitica”, a phrase borrowed from the post-mortem title of Miguel Ángel Granados Chapa’s book on Buendía. This year only three journalists were present on the 30th of May to commemorate the thirty-fourth anniversary of Buendía’s death at the Plaza Zarco on Avenue Reforma, dedicated to freedom of expression, and situated a few steps from the Caballito de Sebastián. This happened, most likely, because of discouragement at the lack of response of the authorities, or because our hard-working journalists have been busy burying one dead colleague after another; or organizing protests in spite of recent threats this week, such as those that have been published against Raymundo Campos de Sabinas in Coahuila; or combating campaigns of defamation like the one launched, via WhatsApp, against Gabriele Soto of Culiacan. PEN has been organizing support groups and public protests against murders such as the assassination of Héctor González in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, on the 28th of May, or the killing of the photographer María del Sol Cruz Jarquín in Juchitán, Oaxaca on June 3rd. Continue Reading »

  • Maria del Sol Cruz Jarquín

    Mexico´s Endangered Journalists

    Maria del Sol Cruz Jarquín was killed in an armed attack in Juchitán de Zaragoza, OAX on June 2, 2018. Also killed were Pamela Zamari, a candidate for Todos por México in the upcoming election, and Adelfo Guerra, a cousin of Zamari.

    Cruz Jarquín worked for the State of Oaxaca’s Ministry of Indigenous Affairs (SAI). She was also a video artist and photographer. They sent her, apparently against her will, to Juchitán to cover the election campaign. Juchitán is regarded as one of the most dangerous areas of the State of Oaxaca. She was the daughter of Soledad Jarquín Edgar. a prominent Oaxacan journalist. Continue Reading »

  • Alicia Díaz González

    Mexico´s Endangered Journalists

    Alicia Díaz González was murdered in her home in Monterrey, NL at 10 AM on May 24. There was a deep contusion of her skull. One of the suspects is her ex-husband; they divorced eight years ago, and he had assaulted and threatened her in the past.

    Díaz worked for the newspaper El Financiero. She had a long career in financial reporting. She was previously a financial reporter for El Norte.

    Story from Proceso by Luciano Campos Garza: Alicia Díaz, periodista asesinada en Monterrey, fue amenazada por su exesposo

  • Juan Carlos Huerta

    Mexico´s Endangered Journalists

    Huerta Juan Carlos was gunned down in front of his home in Villahermosa, TAB at 10:30 AM on May 15, 2018. He was inside his BMW when he was shot by men driving a gray truck.

    Huerta was the news anchor of Sin Reservas, on the Notinueve channel. He had a more than 30-year career in electronic media. He worked at Sensación and Grupo ACIR radio stations.

    PEN México, PEN San Miguel Allende and PEN Guadalajara issued this statement (in Spanish) condemning this killing: Centros PEN condenan el asesinato de Juan Carlos Huerta

    Statement  from the Inter American Press Association: IAPA condemns murder of journalist in Mexico

    Spanish-language story in Animal Politico: Asesinan frente a su domicilio a Juan Carlos Huerta, periodista de Tabasco

    Spanish-language article from Tabasco Hoy: CNDH condena el asesinato del periodista Huerta

  • Miguel Angel Villarino Arnábar

    Mexico´s Endangered Journalists

    Miguel Angel Villarino Arnábar is imprisoned in Campeche at the order of the Governor of the state, Alejandro Moreno Cárdenas (PRI). He was warned by a person in uniform that he and seven other assassins had orders to kill him and his family.

    This person also suggested that he stop writing. However, Villarino has a blog, Bestiómetro, which includes the “Crónicas Carcelerias.”

    Villarino was released from prison on May 14. Here is a blog article where he thanked a large number of people, including the Mexico and San Miguel Centers of PEN Interhational: Acción de gracias

    Spanish-language story by Rosa Santana in Proceso: PEN México exige protección para los periodistas Miguel Ángel Villarino y Odilón García

  • PEN at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, 2018

    News and Commentary

    Jennifer Clement, Elizabeth Starcevic

    by Elizabeth Starcevic, President Emerita, PEN San Miguel, Mexico

    Although the highlighted topic this year at the UN’s  Commission on the Status of Women was “Rural Women and Girls”, many of these women were denied visas and therefore unfortunately were not able to represent their concerns in person. Discussions about rural women referred to property rights. Although women work the land everywhere, many lack property rights. They cannot inherit, as widows they cannot pass their land and possessions on to their children. They also need clean water, education, small loans, and safe access to markets and credit. They must be free from all forms of violence. Data on land ownership and inheritance practices in each country is needed.

    Taboos and cultural traditions that affirm patriarchy and are invoked to repress women must be fought at all levels of society: the family, religious institutions, schools, refugee situations and all levels of government.

    Many countries reported their ongoing efforts. One example was “one stop” sanctuaries where women can be helped with health issues, legal counsel and refuge from violence all in one place. These places – as reported by a delegate from India- have much in common with efforts reported last year by a Brazilian delegate: well staffed, well trained multi-service offerings located in one institution so that women can find their various needs addressed in one safe, supported place. Many more are needed.
    Continue Reading »

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