The Pen is Mightier than the Sword: Remembering Javier Valdez
The Southwest Political Report
By: Abel Correa, Special Contributor
I remember when people blamed narco-corridos for promoting violence, and gangster rap was also blamed for violence, but with no talk about guns and how they get into countries such as Mexico or how most guns used in Mexico got there from the U.S. No talk about the all the recent narco-bio pics, narco-novelas, narco-presidents narco-culture making money outside the actual persons themselves. The death of another Mexican journalist Javier Valdez saddens me and equally enrages me. Meanwhile, Sean Penn is walking around untouched for his famous narco-interview(s). If anything we have to ask ourselves who is benefiting from killings of journalists in Mexico?
Journalists are telling the stories of horrors occurring and violence sponsored by the state against citizens in Mexico. Furthermore, the latest killing of a Mexican award-winning journalist took place in broad daylight in a city and the 5th journalist killed this year in Mexico.
To be clear you can make Narco-Novelas, Narco-Corridos, Narco-Politico-Campaigns and live, even get paid. Report the events realtime and you can get gunned down in broad daylight as if you were a rival cartel. Who will pay for this crime? Who will stop the killings of citizens reporting on the other killings in Mexico. Libertad de expresión nada mas cuidado con lo que publicas should not be the norm in any country.
On another note, I don’t think that during Javier’s college years as a communication or journalism major was counseled not to pursue his dream of becoming a journalist/reporter.
Javier Valdez Cárdenas career should not have cost him his life. The enemies of the state are not journalists. The state needs to hold those accountable without impunity, these attacks on Journalists are an attack on the democracies the state guaranteed freedoms. Keeping in mind that we have infomation relayed to the public, writers, producers etc. because of the journalists/reporters themselves. How else do citizens get their news?
During the late 1990’s founder of the Tijuana’s ZETA weekly magazine Jesus Blancornelas was also gunned down in the same northern Mexican city of Tijuana for reporting on the Narcos, Corrupt Politicians and their counterparts. The killing of this newspapers founder did not stop their relentless coverage of the rise and the fall of the Arellano Felix family. As a researcher and scholar the death of Javier Valdez should raise concerns on how reporting or researching certain topics can cost you your life. These journalists play a role in the quotidian lives of citizens in relaying information that may not see the 11 O’clock news segment.
The killings of the journalist sends many messages one, that they are indeed striking a nerve with Corrupt individuals, whoever they are and or what their profession might be either politician or underworld employed. Second, the killings of the journalist just means that they are indeed writing about issues that can expose the corruption from their accomplices to higher ups.
Lastly, the death of Javier Valdez should signal a threat toward the Mexican intelligentsia community where professionals are being assassinated for practicing their careers in the countries of origin. Reporting on the events in Mexico should not cost anyone their lives. If anything Javier’s death signals the alarm to keep exposing what the state doesn’t want its’ citizens to know. How else can democracies function without exposing, corruption(s) and or persons not doing their civic duties for citizens that we elected to serve? QEPD Javier Valdez for valor and fearless journalism.
Special Contributor Bio: Abel Correa is a Doctoral student and holds a M.A. degree from the University of Illinois in Educational Policy Studies. He most recently spoke at Stanford University on research about inter-ethnic race relations in the Southern California schools between Latinx and African Americans. Committeed to social justice, as a community advocate, and active researcher on race relations, he is also an educator of Chicana(o) and Latina(o) Studies. Abel was born and raised in Los Angeles where he currently resides.