Friday, 28 July 2017 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

Saying "No to Silence": Hear Murdered Mexican Journalist Javier Valdez in His Own Words

Thursday, May 18, 2017 By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Video Interview
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Editor's Note: The above video contains graphic images.

"Let them kill us all, if that is the death sentence for reporting this hell. No to silence." Those are the words of award-winning Mexican reporter Javier Valdez, after one of his colleagues, Miroslava Breach, was assassinated in late March. On Monday, Valdez was also assassinated, dragged out of his car and shot 12 times, less than a block from the office of Ríodoce, the newspaper he co-founded in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. The killing of Valdez, who wrote for the prominent newspaper La Jornada, has sparked widespread outrage across Mexico. On Tuesday, as hundreds of people gathered for Valdez's funeral in Culiacán, Sinaloa, hundreds more protested outside the Interior Ministry in Mexico City. Multiple Mexican digital media outlets also went on a 24-hour strike, refusing to publish anything but a black banner with the names of the journalists assassinated in Mexico so far this year: Cecilio Pineda, Maximino Rodríguez, Ricardo Monlui, Filiberto Álvarez, Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez. We air Valdez's 2011 speech when he came to New York to receive the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: "Let them kill us all, if that is the death sentence for reporting this hell. No to silence." Those are the words of award-winning Mexican reporter Javier Valdez after one of his colleagues, Miroslava Breach, was assassinated in March. Well, on Monday, Valdez was also assassinated, dragged out of his car, shot 12 times, less than a block from the office of his newspaper, the one he co-founded in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. As news coverage here in the United States is hyperfocused on President Trump, we'll look at a major scandal just across the border that's not being covered in the US media: the widespread violence against journalists in Mexico and the impunity for their killers.

The killing of Valdez, who wrote for the prominent newspaper La Jornada, has sparked widespread outrage across Mexico. On Tuesday, hundreds of people gathered for Valdez's funeral in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Hundreds more protested outside the Interior Ministry in Mexico City. Multiple Mexican digital media outlets also went on a 24-hour strike, refusing to publish anything but a black banner with the names of the journalists assassinated in Mexico so far this year: Cecilio Pineda, Maximino Rodríguez, Ricardo Monlui, Filiberto Álvarez, Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez.

In 2011, Javier Valdez came to New York to receive the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. This is a part of what he said that evening.

JAVIER VALDEZ: [translated] I have nourished my withered soul with expressions in the streets, embraces and handshakes, and words in which I have taken shelter. This award is the finely aged and nutritious sum of all those embraces. When Carlos Lauría informed me, I thought it was a cruel dream, and now I don't want to be woken up.

I have been a journalist these past 21 years, and never before have I suffered or enjoyed it this intensely, nor with so many dangers. In Culiacán, in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, it is dangerous to be alive. And to do journalism is to tread an invisible line drawn by the bad guys, who are in drug trafficking and in the government, in a field strewn with explosives. This is what most of the country is living through. One must protect oneself from everything and everyone. And there do not seem to be options or salvation, and often there is no one to turn to.

Thus it is important to count on family and friends, journalists and media outlets, like the newspaper La Jornada, for which I am a correspondent, and the weekly Ríodoce, of which I am a founder.

In my books Miss Narco and The Kids of the Drug Trade, I have told of the tragedy Mexico is living, a tragedy that should shame us. The youth will remember this as a time of war. Their DNA is tattooed with bullets and guns and blood, and this is a form of killing tomorrow. We are murderers of our own future.

This is a war, yes, but one for control by the narcos. But we, the citizens, are providing the deaths, and the Mexican and US governments, the guns. And they, the eminent, invisible and hidden ones, within and outside of the governments, they take the profits.

I dedicate this award to the brave journalists, and to the children and youths who are living a slow death. I have preferred to give a face and a name to the victims, to create a portrait of this sad and desolate panorama, these leaps and bounds and short cuts towards the apocalypse, instead of counting deaths and reducing them to numbers.

This award is like a lighthouse on the other side of the storm, a safe harbor beyond the tempest. At Ríodoce, we have experienced a macabre solitude, because nothing that we publish has reverberations or follow-up. And that desolation makes us more vulnerable. Despite all of this, with all of you, and with this award, I can say that I have somewhere to take shelter and to feel less alone. Muchas gracias.

AMY GOODMAN: Mexican journalist Javier Valdez, speaking in 2011 in New York. The Committee to Protect Journalists said Valdez "combined the grit of the most battle-hardened reporter with the [elegiac] soul of a 19th century Romantic poet." On the same day of his assassination, another journalist, Sonia Córdova, was also shot and wounded in a separate attack that left her son dead. Since 2000, more than 100 journalists have been murdered in Mexico. A recent report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies says Mexico endured the second most conflict deaths of any country in the world last year, with a staggering 23,000 people killed amidst Mexico's so-called war on drugs. Mexico was second only to Syria, where 50,000 people were killed in 2016 by the ongoing war. The third, fourth and fifth most dangerous countries were Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on more than 1,100 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its "Pick of the Podcasts," along with NBC's "Meet the Press."


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Saying "No to Silence": Hear Murdered Mexican Journalist Javier Valdez in His Own Words

Thursday, May 18, 2017 By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Video Interview
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

Media

Editor's Note: The above video contains graphic images.

"Let them kill us all, if that is the death sentence for reporting this hell. No to silence." Those are the words of award-winning Mexican reporter Javier Valdez, after one of his colleagues, Miroslava Breach, was assassinated in late March. On Monday, Valdez was also assassinated, dragged out of his car and shot 12 times, less than a block from the office of Ríodoce, the newspaper he co-founded in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. The killing of Valdez, who wrote for the prominent newspaper La Jornada, has sparked widespread outrage across Mexico. On Tuesday, as hundreds of people gathered for Valdez's funeral in Culiacán, Sinaloa, hundreds more protested outside the Interior Ministry in Mexico City. Multiple Mexican digital media outlets also went on a 24-hour strike, refusing to publish anything but a black banner with the names of the journalists assassinated in Mexico so far this year: Cecilio Pineda, Maximino Rodríguez, Ricardo Monlui, Filiberto Álvarez, Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez. We air Valdez's 2011 speech when he came to New York to receive the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: "Let them kill us all, if that is the death sentence for reporting this hell. No to silence." Those are the words of award-winning Mexican reporter Javier Valdez after one of his colleagues, Miroslava Breach, was assassinated in March. Well, on Monday, Valdez was also assassinated, dragged out of his car, shot 12 times, less than a block from the office of his newspaper, the one he co-founded in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. As news coverage here in the United States is hyperfocused on President Trump, we'll look at a major scandal just across the border that's not being covered in the US media: the widespread violence against journalists in Mexico and the impunity for their killers.

The killing of Valdez, who wrote for the prominent newspaper La Jornada, has sparked widespread outrage across Mexico. On Tuesday, hundreds of people gathered for Valdez's funeral in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Hundreds more protested outside the Interior Ministry in Mexico City. Multiple Mexican digital media outlets also went on a 24-hour strike, refusing to publish anything but a black banner with the names of the journalists assassinated in Mexico so far this year: Cecilio Pineda, Maximino Rodríguez, Ricardo Monlui, Filiberto Álvarez, Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez.

In 2011, Javier Valdez came to New York to receive the International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. This is a part of what he said that evening.

JAVIER VALDEZ: [translated] I have nourished my withered soul with expressions in the streets, embraces and handshakes, and words in which I have taken shelter. This award is the finely aged and nutritious sum of all those embraces. When Carlos Lauría informed me, I thought it was a cruel dream, and now I don't want to be woken up.

I have been a journalist these past 21 years, and never before have I suffered or enjoyed it this intensely, nor with so many dangers. In Culiacán, in the state of Sinaloa, Mexico, it is dangerous to be alive. And to do journalism is to tread an invisible line drawn by the bad guys, who are in drug trafficking and in the government, in a field strewn with explosives. This is what most of the country is living through. One must protect oneself from everything and everyone. And there do not seem to be options or salvation, and often there is no one to turn to.

Thus it is important to count on family and friends, journalists and media outlets, like the newspaper La Jornada, for which I am a correspondent, and the weekly Ríodoce, of which I am a founder.

In my books Miss Narco and The Kids of the Drug Trade, I have told of the tragedy Mexico is living, a tragedy that should shame us. The youth will remember this as a time of war. Their DNA is tattooed with bullets and guns and blood, and this is a form of killing tomorrow. We are murderers of our own future.

This is a war, yes, but one for control by the narcos. But we, the citizens, are providing the deaths, and the Mexican and US governments, the guns. And they, the eminent, invisible and hidden ones, within and outside of the governments, they take the profits.

I dedicate this award to the brave journalists, and to the children and youths who are living a slow death. I have preferred to give a face and a name to the victims, to create a portrait of this sad and desolate panorama, these leaps and bounds and short cuts towards the apocalypse, instead of counting deaths and reducing them to numbers.

This award is like a lighthouse on the other side of the storm, a safe harbor beyond the tempest. At Ríodoce, we have experienced a macabre solitude, because nothing that we publish has reverberations or follow-up. And that desolation makes us more vulnerable. Despite all of this, with all of you, and with this award, I can say that I have somewhere to take shelter and to feel less alone. Muchas gracias.

AMY GOODMAN: Mexican journalist Javier Valdez, speaking in 2011 in New York. The Committee to Protect Journalists said Valdez "combined the grit of the most battle-hardened reporter with the [elegiac] soul of a 19th century Romantic poet." On the same day of his assassination, another journalist, Sonia Córdova, was also shot and wounded in a separate attack that left her son dead. Since 2000, more than 100 journalists have been murdered in Mexico. A recent report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies says Mexico endured the second most conflict deaths of any country in the world last year, with a staggering 23,000 people killed amidst Mexico's so-called war on drugs. Mexico was second only to Syria, where 50,000 people were killed in 2016 by the ongoing war. The third, fourth and fifth most dangerous countries were Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license. It may not be reproduced in any form without permission or license from the source.

Amy Goodman

Amy Goodman is the host and executive producer of Democracy Now!, a national, daily, independent, award-winning news program airing on more than 1,100 public television and radio stations worldwide. Time Magazine named Democracy Now! its "Pick of the Podcasts," along with NBC's "Meet the Press."


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