Photo: Elena Poniatowska & Others Protest Murder of MX Journalists
Some 50 writers, poets, journalists and defenders of freedom of expression, both Mexicans and foreigners, invited by PEN International, condemned the murders of 67 journalists in this country over the last decade.
At the meeting were members of the delegation headed by the president of PEN International, John Ralston, as well as Mexican writers Elena Poniatowska, Laura Esquivel, Homero Aridjis, Ramon Xirau, Marta Lamas, Eduardo Lizalde and others.
Dozens of writers spoke out to demand an end to the impunity of organized crime and the ineptitude of the authorities to crack down on its murderous gunmen.
“We’re joined together here today to say the violence must end. And we are together here to tell the United States that its drug consumption and its drug and arms trafficking are an important part of the problem,” Ralston said in his speech.
Ralston demanded an end to the violence, that the necessary legal changes be made, that corruption in public life associated with crime be dealt with, and that the army continue to operate under a legal statute that protects it.
Homero Aridjis recalled that the number of deaths in the fight against the cartels has risen to more than 50,000, so many that the murders of journalists go unnoticed and the crimes unpunished.
“Mexico is a country where there are murders but no murderers,” he said.
“Telling the truth in Mexico puts your life in danger,” Elena Poniatowska said. “Until when will practicing journalism be a death sentence in this country? How long do we have to wait for the authorities to offer real guarantees that effectively protect life and the profession?”
Mexico’s independent National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, says that 75 reporters have been killed since 2000 and several more have been reported missing.
Nine journalists were killed in 2011 alone, according to the CNDH.
In October, the U.N. rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, said Mexico is the deadliest country in the Americas and fifth most dangerous country worldwide for members of the media.
The killings have been attributed to organized crime and rogue public officials.
Founded in 1921, PEN International is a global writers’ association that promotes intellectual cooperation and friendship among its members.
An acronym for poets, essayists and novelists, PEN now also includes other writers such as journalists and historians.