Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernandez. (Photo courtesy of Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung via Flickr under Creative Commons license. Terms below.)
University of Texas at El Paso
Two events to explore the drug war and its impact on journalists will feature one of Mexico’s leading investigative journalists, Anabel Hernández. Hernández is a household name in her native country for being one of very few journalists willing to take on both the drug war and government corruption.
- What: Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernández to speak about drug war and journalism in symposium and lecture
- When: 4-6 p.m. Nov. 11; 4:30-6:30 p.m. Nov. 12
- Where: Tomas Rivera Conference Center Nov. 11; Union Cinema Nov. 12
The first event on Monday, Nov. 11, is a dialogue and symposium titled, “Drug Policy on the Border and Beyond: Dangers Facing Journalists, Obstacles Facing Policy Makers,” with Beto O’Rourke, U.S. Representative; Gilberto Gonzalez, executive director of the Texas Narcotics Officers Association and former DEA agent; Anabel Hernández, investigative journalist; Andrew Kennis, Ph.D., UTEP assistant professor of journalism; and Howard Campbell, professor of anthropology and sociology. Susie Byrd, El Paso city council member, will moderate. The event will take place from 4-6 p.m. at the Tomás Rivera Conference Center.
The second event is a talk by Hernández titled, “The Drug War on the Border and Beyond: Covering One of the World’s Most Dangerous Topics,” from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 in the Union Cinema.
Hernández is one of the most renowned investigative journalists in Mexico. Her coverage of government corruption and the drug war has brought her both respect and death threats. Her 2010 bestselling book Los Señores del Narco was recently translated into English as Narcoland: The Mexican Drug Lords and their Godfathers. Her other books include México en Llamas: el legado de Calderón (2013), Los Cómplices del Presidente (2010),Fin de fiesta en los pinos (2006), and La familia presidencial: el gobierno del cambio bajo sospecha del corrupción (2005).
In a 2011 interview with Quien Resulte Responsable, Hernández said her focus on investigative journalism resulted from the corruption she witnessed firsthand after her father’s kidnapping and murder in December 2000. The police were only willing to investigate the crime if her family paid them, she said.
“Corruption grows through silence,” she said. “If journalists of my generation keep silent, if we give up our work for fear or complicity, journalists after us will be condemned to kneel to this corruption. I hope I will live … and see that that never happens.”
Hernández has garnered several prestigious awards. She earned the Mexican National Prize of Journalism in 2001 for her exposé of then-President Vicente Fox’s lavish spending on the presidential cabins that became known as the “Towel Gate” scandal. Her defense and promotion of press freedom, even in the face of great personal risk, resulted in her receipt of the Golden Pen of Freedom Award in 2012.
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