“This profession is not for the silent”: Jorge Ramos

“The first question is: what is the job of journalists?” Thus began the participation of Jorge Ramos during the presentation of his book, 17 minutes with a dictator (Editorial Grijalbo) before a capacity of almost 100 people at the Guadalajara International Book Fair, who gathered to hear the controversial journalist out loud.

In his book, Ramos narrates the events behind the famous interview he conducted with the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, at the Miraflores Palace in 2019. The president, feeling offended by his questions and comments, ended the interview in front of cameras, which led to the confiscation of video cards, telephone equipment and other devices, as well as the destruction of their videographic material and the imprisonment of the journalist and his 6 collaborators. This was resolved with the intervention of the governments of Mexico and the United States, although these details were reserved for the reader to enjoy with the book.

The journalist Gabriela Warkentin She was the presenter of the event and, together with Ramos, presented some reflections on the importance of journalism and freedom of the press.

“You don’t always have the opportunity to interview a dictator. I only had one chance to ask him certain questions, ”Ramos said.

Nobody accepts an interview with the idea that they are going to lose, everyone accepts to win. Maduro believed he was going to win ”.

The journalist recalled that Maduro thought that since he had previously fought with Donald Trump, he would be on his side. He forgot to consider that the role of journalists is to be counter-power: “we have to question.”

“In many journalism schools the idea is to be neutral, objective, but today our job is to ask tough questions. If we do not do them, then we should dedicate ourselves to something else ”.

Jorge Ramos he had the luxury of showing small fragments of the videos of both anecdotes, the interview with Maduro and the conference with Trump in order to illustrate to the audience how he likes to make certain characters uncomfortable, respecting his tradition as a television journalist.

As he narrates in the book, Ramos was able to recover the audiovisual material of said interview thanks to a “novel” plot.

“Listen to Maduro’s reaction, he does not accept the comments and tries to disqualify. This is exactly what dictators do. “

Ramos spoke out for an increasingly intense exercise of journalism. “This is not a profession for the silent. Journalists cannot write the story, but we can influence in telling it ”.

And with that, he defended the freedom of the press in Mexico. “Our job as journalists is to confront those in power. President López Obrador is what he has to understand, that if Aristegui criticized Peña Nieto at the time, for example, he is going to criticize him too ”.

He closed the exhibition by recognizing Mexican journalists who, like Carmen Aristegui, do international work. Likewise, he recognized the communicators who work in our country, where it is clear that practicing journalism can be dangerous: “I admire and respect all journalists who play it every day in this country.”

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