Cold and calculating: Dolores Vázquez in the multiverse, by Joan Cañete Bayle

Cold and calculating. This is how many journalists in many media outlets defined Dolores Vazquez, the woman who has suffered one of the greatest injustices in the history of Spain in recent decades. Cold and calculating, aggressive and possessive, heartless and jealous. Thus, shovel by shovel of detritus offered as journalism, a nightmare multiverse was built around Vázquez that became reality: she was convicted of the atrocious murder of a young woman, Rocío Wanninkhof, daughter of her ex-partner, without there being a single one proof. He spent 519 days in jail for a crime he did not commit. A popular jury convicted her. They can see, or remember, their story in the documentary ‘Dolores Vázquez: the truth about the Wanninkhof Case’. Spoiler: neither the investigating judge, nor the prosecutor nor the Civil Guard have apologized to him.

Cold and calculating. What is reality What do we know happened, who do we know we are, or what is said to have happened and about us? In a world without social networks, with television as the absolute queen of the audienceDolores Vázquez heard so many times that she was the cold and calculating killer of Rocío Wanninkhof that even she doubted herself. In the documentary, Vázquez and her lawyer say that there came a time when the defendant wondered if it was possible that she had murdered the young woman and that, as a defense mechanism, she had forgotten it. How could everyone be wrong? Rocío’s family, the residents of the town, public opinion, the Civil Guard, the prosecutor’s office, famous talk shows, leading journalists & mldr; In real life, Vázquez was innocent. In the multiverse, he was guilty. What option did the popular jury have if not to find her guilty?

Contexts and subtexts

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Cold and calculating. And bisexual. And smart. And not very affectionate. A bankrupt families. To put it in today’s words, Vázquez was the furthest thing from the normative canon of middle-aged women in Spain at the beginning of the 2000s. Without almost never being affirmed verbatim, based on stacking statement after statement from neighbors and of the victim’s family, with silences and looks and understandings of presenters and talk shows, adding signs and labels at the bottom of the screen, the multiverse in which Vázquez was guilty was built by dint of contexts and subtexts malicious, tortious, manipulative, lesbian and sexist. Journalists are corporatist by principle: it is so difficult to draw a line in the arena of freedom of expression that we prefer not to draw it to protect the right to information and that of public opinion to be informed. Now, sometimes the line is clear.

The first crime in the ‘Wanninkhof case’ was the murder of Rocío. The second, the multiverse in which many media and journalists locked Vázquez. But the final culprits of Vázquez’s hell were not those journalists and media. The third crime, the hardest as a society, the collective failure, was to prosecute and convict her. Those who should have defended her from the pack were the ones who betrayed her: investigators and the justice system. They should have been cold and not sent someone to jail based on guesswork. Several lessons leave the ‘Wanninkhof case’. Among them, that not everyone who appears in the media (and more today, with social networks) is a journalist in every sense of the term and that when institutions do not exercise their responsibility, only injustice and barbarism remain. “I had neither voice nor word”, Vázquez says in the documentary, mute, naked and defenseless in the multiverse.

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