PEN International delegates from the Americas, Europe and Asia have been in Mexico City this week to support the Mexican press in their struggle to speak the truth about Mexican political and security policies.
Between 2000 and 2011, at least 67 journalists have been murdered in Mexico. More have “disappeared”, and 19 newspaper and media centers have been attacked.
Yesterday I watched Carmen Aristegui’s interview with John Ralston Saul on CNN. It was a very disturbing half hour.
The foreign representatives stood with Elena Poniatowska, Javier Sicilia, Laura Esquivel, and dozens of other Mexican writers and journalists and promised their support for a free press and freedom of expression in Mexico.
Prior to the gathering with Mexican officials, PEN International printed a petition in the Mexico City newspaper El Universal that had been signed by 170 leading writers from all over the world in support of the Mexican journalists.
When Ms. Aristegui asked Mr. Ralston Saul what would happen after the meetings had concluded, he answered that many articles calling for action by the authorities will be written and published in the world’s leading periodicals.
John Ralston Saul made a point of saying that corruption exists in every country. The difference in Mexico is with the degree.
I applaud this action by Pen International. Pressure of this kind must come from sources outside the country.
However, the articles that will inundate the press in the coming months… will, as always, disrupt the lives of the common people in Mexico. Tourism will go down again. Millions of low-salaried workers will have new rocks thrown at their glass houses. I hope that the international journalists will poison their pens well, and accomplish what they set out to do. Because if they don’t, all the suffering that the population will endure, will be for naught.
All photographs of the journalists come from Google Images