Griselda Triana defends advocacy journalism and warns that the “narco is mixed up in everything.”
~ This story was originally published by EuropaPress on June 19, 2017 ~
MADRID, 19 June (Europa Press) –
Griselda Triana, widow of the late Mexican journalist Javier Valdez who was murdered on May 15 in Culiacán, the state capital of Sinaloa, has denounced the “complicity” of officials with criminal organizations dedicated to trafficking in drugs. Triana warned that the “narco is mixed up in everything” in Mexico.
“Years ago organized crime came to dominate municipalities and entire states. It is involved in every aspect of the economic, social and cultural life of the country, corrupting institutions and devastating the social fabric,” Triana said. She spoke at a press conference in the offices of the Madrid Press Association (APM), called to announce a posthumous award to her husband for his journalism.
“All levels of government collude with organized crime instead of combatting drug traffickers. These organizations also traffic women to sell them to brothels, charge turf fees, kidnap, extort business people, and poison boys, girls and young people with ever more destructive drugs,” Valdez widow explained. She’s visibly moved when talking about her husband’s professional work of denouncing drug trafficking and impunity.
THE PRI HAS BROUGHT MORE VIOLENCE AND CORRUPTION
Triana said that Mexico’s different governments have all been shaped by the influence of criminal organizations. She accused the PRI, the party of the country’s current president Enrique Peña Nieto, for bringing with it more violence and “corruption.”
“Which governments are corrupted by crime? I can assure you that all the parties, and some more than others, are complicit with rather than fearful of criminal groups,” she said. Organized crime “grew” when Vicente Fox became president, she explained, passing through “ever more violent” stages when Felipe Calderón assumed control. Lately she remarked that “the traumatic return” of the PRI has brought with it “more violence, more crimes and more corruption.”
“That context of horror and impunity is what Javier used to describe in his crónicas, pointing out how the state failed to combat the belligerence of drug trafficking organizations. He did it with a sense of hope,” his widow said of the journalist who was murdered on May 15 after he left the offices of his newspaper RíoDoce.
THE “UNAVOIDABLE” NARCO
Triana decried the enormous influence of drug trafficking in Mexico, saying that it “installs and removes officials.” The narco is involved in everything and you live it with every day, all the time. You can’t avoid it because they might be your neighbors, your friends at work, friends from where your children go to school, or your family’s favorite restaurant, a place where the narco launders money,” she said.
The murdered Mexican journalist’s widow explained that her husband’s work was clear to him and that it had to focus on exposing the reality of living in the country and its impunity. “Javier was clear that being a journalist made it difficult to write about gardens, the sunset, the rivers… while people were dying all around, shot up, bleeding, surrounded by injustice and impunity, just like Javier,” she observed.
Triana emphasized Valdez’s work and highlighted that he always tried to put “names and faces” to every victim of organized crime. He wanted his stories to make them visible, trying to ensure prosecution of their cases. “His work made many people angry,” she said.
She says that since her husband was killed she is overcome with pain. She had convinced herself that they were “never” going to kill him because “he was the one who had to tell the story, as only he could, of what it is like to live in this hell,” she explained. “I was stuck on the idea that he would continue telling the story of this tragedy for many more years,” she said.
Triana claimed that investigative journalism and advocacy journalism have shown that Mexican authorities cannot be trusted to investigate her husband’s murder. Yet, at the same time she acknowledged that she did not want “to lose hope” that one day the truth about the crime will come out.
She thanked the APM for its recognition of her husband and his work. She called for journalists to keep doing their work, combatting impunity and following in Valdez’s footsteps. At the end of the event she demanded “Justice for Javier” prompting applause among the journalists in attendance.
This story was originally published by EuropaPress and is available at: http://www.europapress.es/internacional/noticia-viuda-periodista-asesinado-mexico-denuncia-complicidad-autoridades-narco-20170619141130.html
Translator Patrick Timmons is a human rights investigator, a journalist, a historian, and a sometime community college and university professor. He lives in Ciudad Juárez/El Paso. He has translated a fragment of the Malayerba since 2014 for his blog, the Mexican Journalism Translation Project.