Lydia Cacho, a journalist and human rights defender based in Cancún, Mexico, received new death threats last month by email and telephone.
On June 14, Cacho received a death threat by email, which was sent to the Lydia Cacho Foundation (Fundación Lydia Cacho) based in Spain. Three days later on June 17, she received another death threat by telephone from an unknown man. Both threats referred to her work as a journalist and warned her to shut her mouth or she would be killed.
As complaints were filed with the Police both in Mexico and in Spain, Amnesty International released an Urgent Action asking members to write to the Mexican authorities to provide adequate protection to Lydia Cacho. Take online action for Lydia right now.
Lydia Cacho is not new to these forms of intimidation and in fact, has seen worse. In 1999, she was assaulted, raped and physically injured, in what she believes was retaliation for her work as an investigative journalist. Instead of breaking her momentum, this event only spurred her to do more and intensify her fight against gender-based violence in Mexico.
She soon began a series of investigations into child pornography and sex trafficking rings in Cancún which led to the publication of her book in 2005 called The Demons of Eden. Following this, Cacho was arrested and held on defamation and libel charges filed by Puebla textile baron, Kamel Nacif Borge, who had been targeted in her book.
She was soon released on bail and all charges against her were eventually dropped after Amnesty International released an Urgent Action, mobilizing members to petition on her behalf. Soon after this, former senior government officials of Puebla State were implicated in her detention and harassment owing to taped phone conversations published in the media.
Lydia Cacho has since then continued to receive threats in the following years, on some occasions in reprisal for her work as journalist and human rights defender at a women’s shelter in Cancún. In 2009, The Inter-American Human Rights Commission requested that the Mexican government provide her with effective protection measures.
Recently, in 2010, despite being well aware of the risks of reporting on taboo topics in Mexico, Lydia Cacho published another book, again uncovering trafficking of women and revealing names of individuals allegedly linked to these criminal networks.
Journalists and media workers in Mexico, particularly those reporting on crime and corruption are particularly vulnerable to attack or intimidation as a result of their work. In the vast majority of cases, perpetrators are not brought to justice thus creating a climate of impunity in the country. Lydia Cacho’s fight is against this “culture of impunity” and for her tireless work, Cacho was nominated for the 2007 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders.
Lydia Cacho Picture Petition
Here’s a fun and creative way to help, too: try printing out one of these posters in English or Spanish, taking a picture with it, posting it as your profile picture, and tagging Amnesty International USA.
Vasundhara Prasad, Campaign for Individuals at Risk, contributed to this post.