Photo: Lydia Cacho
Mexican muckraking author and journalist Lydia Cacho said it is becoming increasingly clear that death threats leveled against her came from police linked to the once-powerful Gulf drug cartel.
Two months after fleeing the country because of threats communicated over her home’s security system, Cacho was in Mexico City for the presentation of a report on violence against female journalists in 2010-2011.
“We have clearer signs of where the threats may have come from” and that they involve Mexican police with links to organized crime, Cacho said at the event, where she was protected by a strong security presence.
The author of books that have exposed pedophile rings in Mexico operating under the protection of politicians and business leaders, Cacho said she will identify who is behind the threats once that information is known.
“It makes no difference if they belong to the state or organized crime,” she said.
The journalist, who will remain outside the country as long as her life is at risk, said security experts recommended she flee her home in the resort city of Cancun because the threats were made using specialized equipment that only the navy or criminal gangs such as the Gulf cartel possess.
Cacho told Efe in early August, shortly after fleeing Mexico, that she grew even more alarmed when her security consultants said the source of the threatening broadcast was probably within 5 kilometers (3 miles) of her home.
The author said Thursday that the Gulf cartel has regained strength thanks to impunity in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo for both drug smuggling and the sex-trafficking networks that run from Belize.
According to Cacho, her books on people trafficking - especially her reports on the sexual exploitation of women, who are taken to other part of Mexico and other countries - have raised the ire of criminal gangs.
She said President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, will inherit “the remains” of President Felipe Calderon’s justice system, including a federal Attorney General’s Office “filled with corruption and incapable of following up on most of the cases.”
The 49-year-old author said Mexican reporters have “six difficult years ahead of them” and that the return of the PRI, which ruled Mexico uninterruptedly from 1929 to 2000, is “a tragedy for this country.”
“I grew up with the PRI, which destroyed and left this country in tatters,” she said, adding that Calderon’s conservative National Action Party was no better.
Cacho on Friday went to Mexico’s special prosecutor’s office for crimes against journalists to ratify her complaint and demand an investigation.
The author, whose latest book “Slavery, Inc.” explores international sex trafficking networks, said she will continue her investigative journalism and that she and her advisors are working on a strategy to return to Mexico.
“It’s disgraceful that you have to leave your home and the ties with the people you love,” she added.
Cacho has been the target of threats since 2005, when she published a book, “Los demonios del Eden” (The Demons of Eden), that exposed pedophile rings in Mexico operating under the protection of politicians and business leaders.
For revealing the crimes of Lebanese-born Mexican businessman Jean Succar Kuri and others, Cacho was also the victim of psychological torture and police abuses, which she revealed in another book titled “Memorias de una infamia” (Memoirs of an Infamy).
Mexico, where nearly 80 journalists have been murdered since 2000, is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world for members of the media.