Censored writer Lydia Cacho is visiting the UK to promote a collection of Mexican journalism.
In Mexico, where life is held cheap, journalists who voice inconvenient truths are likely to be murdered or ‘disappeared’. Witness the murder on 15 June 2017 of the campaigning journalist Javier Valdez, the seventh journalist to be assassinated in 2017 alone. According to the human rights charity Article 19, more than 100 Mexican journalists have been killed in the course of their work since the year 2000. And as 95 percent of reported crimes never come to trial, criminals, cartel overlords and corrupt officials act with impunity, with the result that civic society and the rule of law are constantly undermined. Journalists like Lydia Cacho and Anabel Hernández, who are relentless in their pursuit of the truth, find out sooner rather than later the consequences of good journalism.
The threat never goes away.
Lydia Cacho survived being incarcerated, brutally tortured and threatened by corrupt officials for her work, to become a leading advocate of freedom of expression and human rights in Mexico, while on 21 December 2014, a dozen men armed with AK-47 rifles and handguns closed off the street where Hernández lived, and started asking her neighbours in which house the journalist lived. They de-activated the security cameras in the immediate area, including those that were installed in Hernández’s house. Fortunately she was not at home.
Both journalists, in García Márquez’s phrase continue ‘living to tell the tale’.
With fifty years of journalism between them – most of it lived at great personal risk – Anabel Hernández and Lydia Cacho are as resolute as ever. They will visit Britain to promote the paperback edition of The Sorrows of Mexico (Maclehose Press, May 2017, £9.99) from 22 to 28 May:
Mon 22 May 5.30pm Birkbeck College, University of London, Room B33, Malet Street main building, WC1E 7HX
Wed 24 May 1.00pm Humanities Building, Warwick University, CV4 7AL
Thur 25 May 5.30pm Cambridge University, Alison Richard Building (SG1, 7 West Road, Cambridge, BC3 9DT
Fri 26 May 12.00 Norwich and Norfolk Festival (Harriet Martineau Lecture), Adnam’s Spiegeltent
The Frontline Club, London, 7.00pm
Sat 27 May 11.00am Bristol Festival of Ideas, Bristol, At-Bristol?, BS1 5BD
Sun 28 May 5.30pm Hay Festival, Wales, Starlight Stage