Four days in January (the bad thing about getting used to death) | Opinion

It chews. It looms. It smells A bloodbath. Is that many four cold-blooded murders since the beginning of this year of 2022 that seemed brimming with good hope? How many are enough for us to turn our noses away, take refuge in a drink, in another channel, in another window? Four corpses that have already stayed cold, that have already buttoned their guayabera for the passage of the Styx, so that they do not reach the afterlife with colds, where all the Mexican colleagues murdered since the assassins and those who pay the assassins wait They found out that it’s still extremely cheap to kill pens and photographers, those who insist on finding out the truth, those jerks.

That’s what figures have, they don’t work. That they accustom us to the recount, even if the president puts on a face of paying attention. I am referring to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who when Lourdes Maldonado got up in the morning and sang her story he told a subordinate to make a note.

She is one of the most recent little deaths, on January 23 of a month that has already turned disastrous and heralds the worst, if history is a master, and in Mexico it is. It was Sunday and in Tijuana the body of Lourdes Maldonado appeared inside a vehicle with her face disfigured by a bullet. Why did she work on television? These assassins are ironic, so diligently following the instructions of those who bid, Mr. President. Lourdes Maldonado was murdered in front of her house after daring to speak out (she did not raise her voice). Do you remember, Mr. President? Surely her hostesses can refresh your memory. Lourdes Maldonado had the audacity to announce that she had won a lawsuit against the former governor of Baja California, Jaime Bonilla, after nine years suffering in court. She had dared to denounce the local Televisa channel, owned by Bonilla, your party colleague, Mr. AMLO, for unfair dismissal and because they still owed her payroll. The journalist, like many cautious colleagues, had been careful to enroll in the Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders, and despite this she, like many others, found her death. She was given such a riddled surveillance that when she got the bullet that had her name on it, it was able to enter her with little caution, as usually happens in Mexico, whoever she is, but especially if she is a journalist.

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Six days before, on the 17th of death, the ball in this sinister billiards game had touched the photojournalist Alfonso Margarito Martínez Esquivel. He also went to Tijuana. He was 49 years old when they shortened his future. He left the heat of his house to photograph a homicide and they made him a tailored suit. Specialized in the “red note”, the one that speaks of the many forms that death takes in Mexico, as Sergio González Rodríguez said, he worked for the day from Baja California and the weekly Zeta, who has experienced firsthand how hard it is to dare to stick a finger in the eye of evil, in the collusion between power and drug traffickers, Justice and drug traffickers, the Army and drug traffickers, the Police and drug traffickers. In December of the year he just died, after being threatened in the middle of the street, he asked the state of Baja California for protection. But the request was not processed.

Seven days before Alfonso Margarito’s camera was taken from his hands and 16 before Lourdes’s face was smashed into José Luis Gamboa Arenas’s face, they also erased him from this world, in this case he was stabbed to death 15 meters from his house in Veracruz, on the other side of the beautiful country where so much energy is spent, so much injustice is planted, so much Spanish is spoken. José Luis Gamboa Arenas directed the web Inforegio-Netword and the weekly The Northern Regional. He had dared to criticize the corruption and ties of local politicians with that octopus of land and blood called organized crime, about which Mexican intelligence, police and prosecutors know so much. Isn’t that right, Mr. President?

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Since a counter was launched in 2000, almost 150 journalists have been murdered in Mexico. It is the theoretically peaceful country where more journalists are murdered in the world, where it is more dangerous to exercise the profession. Because also the vast majority of crimes go unpunished.

In namerica, That book by Martín Caparrós that you have to read to know what the hell is going on, Mexico comes out soon, and Santa Muerte, the patron saint of hit men, comes out: “You see, you feel, Death is present!” And two pages later: “Mexico is that violence and those tacos and that inequality and that culture and those words and that music and seven centuries and millions and millions of cars, bodies and noises, the greatest capital of language.”

But I’m shut up, Mr. President. It has only been four days in January, the year is young, but death is not. Are we going to continue like this? Getting used to having journalists’ mouths sealed and their hands tied because the very dare to tell the truth to power?


This article was titled Three days in January in tribute to a beautiful film. I changed it when January was cloudy. Because on the last day of another fateful month for journalism in Mexico, Roberto Toledo, 55, a lawyer and journalist, member of the news portal Michoacan Monitor, who had received threats. “We are not armed. We do not bring weapons. Our only defense is a pen, a notebook”, has been the epitaph of his boss, Armando Linares.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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