It is not easy to get up every morning and read one after another news of atrocities happening in this country. Although there are horrors elsewhere on this unfortunate planet, these here affect us now and weigh more, which undermines the hope that, after years of accumulated violence, something will change. Maybe ridiculous expectation, but finally a glimmer of hope. With this beginning of the day and week, you realize that you live in a devastated land, where even the word abomination is insufficient to say what it is and how you feel about it. The words seem to be empty of meaning. But this Monday, like other days, we must cling to think of that reality which, even from afar, stirs us; cling to reflection in the midst of the media noise that will take away that murder, that desecration, that slaughter in a few hours, with a degree of distraction; hold on to the word that helps to think against the one who minimizes, hides, disqualifies the terrible and attacks those who say and write, expose the terror experienced and the conditions that make it possible.
On Sunday afternoon, journalist Lourdes Maldonado, who dealt with issues of corruption and politics, was killed in Tijuana, according to Animal Politico. In 2019, she attended a morning conference to ask for the president’s support in resolving a more than 6-year labor dispute with then-candidate for governor Jaime Bonilla, formerly the owner of a media office where she worked. Maldonado raised her issue as a matter of labor justice because the process was suddenly reversed against her, to Bonilla’s advantage, suggesting abuse of influence. His intervention points to one of the shortcomings of this government, which later becomes more apparent in the cases of Salgado Macedonio and other political actors: the lack of ethics that leads to the elevation or protection of characters whose behavior is publicly questioned and / or or have been denounced, who they should even be investigated for allegations of serious crimes.
In a city where all sorts of criminals have thrived for decades, the motive may not have been “political” as the president claimed. It does not diminish the seriousness of the matter or the responsibility of the state, especially the federal government. Maldonado is the second journalist to be killed in Tijuana just in January and the third in the country. In this six-year term, there have already been 28 journalists who have fallen into the arms of criminals (organized or not, political or not) in the shadow of impunity continued and benefited by the indifference of a government that maintains a protection mechanism for journalists and defenders that it does not work and it did not protect her. It’s just a simulation mechanism for external consumption.
These murders, the official discourse will say, did not occur in 2018. It is true. But that does not justify the fact that Mexico today, along with Afghanistan (plagued by war and chaos), is the most dangerous place to practice journalism. Less justifiable is the fact that the presidential speech continues to disqualify critical media and journalists and that the subordinates in the states join him, in an attempt to minimize and ignore what it means to kill those who commit atrocities, corruption, abuse of power and daily violence they document the lives of millions of people ruined and the social life broken down. They may feel that it is in their best interest to silence those awkward voices, if not to silence them themselves. They are wrong.
The consequences of impunity and violence, past and present, are already terrible. What is unbearable today is that the unpunished killings of journalists are just another extreme manifestation of the rottenness of a country where the body of a baby can be unpunished in Iztapalapa, cross state borders, put in a prison in Puebla and in the trash. While the cynicism and frivolity continues in the morning and in the “opposition” (with its unimaginable candidates) … undisturbed.
She is a professor of literature and gender and cultural criticism. Doctor of Latin American Literature from the University of Chicago (1996), with a master’s degree in history from the same university (1988) and a bachelor’s degree in social sciences (ITAM, 1986).