Letter in Defense of Guadalupe Lizárraga
December 23, 2016
Dr. Raúl Cervantes Andrade
Procurador General de la República
La Procuraduría General de México
Paseo de la Reforma 211-213
Cuauhtémoc, Cuidad de México, C.P 6500
Dear Attorney General Cervantes Andrade,
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, are writing to express our concern over the recent harassment of Ms. Guadalupe Lizárraga, an award-winning journalist based in Los Angeles, California, by agents of your office. These persons confronted Ms. Lizárraga during the proceedings of a human rights conference organized by the Frente Refundación at the Insituto de Investigaciones Culturales on the Universidad de Baja California campus in Mexicali in November. They subjected this much-respected reporter to questioning regarding her news stories—based on sound investigative journalism—on the false allegations of Sra. Maria Isabel Wallace Miranda that her son was kidnapped and murdered by six innocent individuals.
We believe that sending agents thousands of miles to interrogate Ms. Lizárraga constitutes an attack on freedom of the press and the public’s right to know about the six defendants who have suffered physical torture and psychological abuse while awaiting trial, jailed since 2006.
Rather than trying to intimidate and harass journalists like Ms. Lizárraga, your office should be taking seriously the unprecedented number of Mexican journalists who have been assassinated since President Felipe Calderón initiated the government’s war on drugs in 2006. It is time you and your staff devoted the necessary resources to investigate and prosecute the criminals responsible for their deaths.
This escalating violence as well as the erosion of civil liberties, the blatant disregard for due process, the impunity for crimes committed by government officials, and the attacks on freedom of the press all undermine the pursuit of justice in your country.
Most glaringly, the case of the missing 43 Ayotzinapa teachers’ college students remains unsolved after 27 long months of protests and global outrage. The subsequent cover-up has implicated President Enrique Peña Nieto and points to corruption at the highest level of the Mexican government. The families of these students and the world deserve a conclusive investigation by your office of this crime, just as Mexican journalists and the Mexican public deserve access to a free press in which those who cover such stories are not afraid for their lives.
We call on you to end the harassment of Ms. Lizárraga, whom we will continue to defend in the context of building international support for freedom of the press in Mexico.
Stephen Durham, International Secretary, Freedom Socialist Party (FSP), U.S.A. Section, New York City; Frederick W. Hyde, Administrative Law Judge (Retired),* Seattle, Washington; Jim Lafferty, Executive Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild, Los Angeles, California; Daniel Vila, Program Director, “La Voz Latina”, WBAI-99.5FM and President Manhattan Greens*, New York City; David Bertet, President of Board of Directors, Canadian Association for Rights and Truth, Montreal, Canada; Partido Obrero Socialista (POS), México; Núcleo por un Partido Obrero Revolucionario Internacionalista (NUPORI), República Dominicana; Juan Marino, Tendencia Piquetera Revolucionaria (TPR), Argentina; Partido Causa Operário (PCO), Brazil; Radical Women, USA Section; Debbie Brennen, Organizer, Radical Women, Australia Section, Melbourne, Australia; Alison Thorne, Organizer, Freedom Socialist Party, Australia Section, Melbourne, Australia, Socialist Action, San Francisco, California, Socialist Viewpoint, San Francisco, California; YoSoy132 NY, New York City; Ayotzinapa NY, New York City; Ayotzinapa New York/Connecticut; Antonio Flores Quin, Community Organizer with Orgulho P’urhepecha*, Seattle, Washington; Carole Seligman, Retired Teacher, California Teachers Association-South San Francisco Chapter* and Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal*, San Francisco, California; Bob Price, American Federation of Teachers, Local 2121* and San Francisco Labor Council*, San Francisco, California
*Affiliation listed for identification purposes only
— Freedom Hall, 113 West 128th Street, New York, NY 10027