Mexico : the figure of the journalism, a victim of the cartels

“If you want, you can buy me a bulletproof vest ! “. In the evening of February 2016, the journalist Javier Valdez is sitting at the table at Mar and Sea, a fancy restaurant in Culiacán. It is in a good mood and ate with a good appetite, a plate of fish. He talks about his profession in the State of Sinaloa, where there is the most powerful drug cartel in the country. “I get verbal threats and people sometimes ask me to stop writing on a topic, he says, we also blow up the offices of the newspaper in grenada. “Was he afraid of ? “Of course, they control everything here. “

Juan Valdez, a 50-year-old father of two children, died on 15 may 2017. On this day, in the middle of the afternoon, to Culiacán, he was at the wheel of his Toyota near the headquarters of the weekly newspaper Riodoce, which he founded in 2003. Men wearing balaclavas have popped up, were taken from his vehicle and shot him twelve times.

Investigations excavated and rewarded

Winner in 2011 of the international Award of freedom of the press, Juan Valdez was a journalist known for his investigations excavated on the drug traffickers. His assassination has created the stupor and triggered rallies in Mexico city and in several cities. Since the beginning of the year, it is the sixth journalist mexican who perished under the bullets of the men of the hand of the cartels. A record in a country that has become the most dangerous in the world for the profession after Syria and Afghanistan.

However, Javier Valdez, always wearing a Panama hat, never gave up. “It is necessary to know how to tell their stories,” he said during the dinner. At the time, Joaquin Loera Guzman, aka El Chapo, the head of the cartel of Sinaloa, had just been captured after an escape spectacular. Javier Valdez only showed a little surprise. “He fell because of his ego, he thought he was untouchable. “But he trusted that his organization had established its power by “buying” all that matters : the police, the high officials, governors. It was finally a change of manners with the arrival of young people to positions of command. “Previously, when a Capo was causing a road accident, he apologized and rewarding the victims. Today, it can shoot down the driver because he had looked too long in the eyes. “

Black list

While talking, Javier Valdez embraced the look the customer in the restaurant, an establishment regularly frequented by the son of El Chapo. Under screens showing the games of baseball and boxing bouts, and men adorned with chains of gold courtisaient of beauty in a miniskirt. “Here there are 21 customers and only those two do not belong in the middle,” he said, pointing to a retired couple.

Javier Valdez completed his eighth book, titled, Narcojournalisme, the press between the crime and denunciation. A few months later when its official release, he had pronounced this sentence : “to Be a journalist, it is part of a black list. Alone will decide on the day where they will kill you. “

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