Norma Sarabia Garduza became the seventh Mexican journalist to be murdered this year by the drug cartels in a surging violence throughout the country.
In early June, she was talking to a relative on the veranda of her home in Huimanguillo near the Guatemalan border when four masked men pulled up in a car. One got out and shouted something to the effect, “Hey, Norma, got something for you,” and shot her four times. As she was dying, the group drove off and, as usual, have not been apprehended.
Sarabia had been receiving death threats after reporting on kidnappings by the local police. She applied to federal authorities for protection, but they replied she didn’t really need it. Since law enforcement in Mexico is entwined with the cartels, journalists are definitely on their own. It takes great courage to be one considering that American journalists are reluctant to report on Mexican crime even from the safety of the U.S.
On the same day that Sarabia was murdered another journalist, Marcos Miranda Cogco, was kidnapped by two hooded gunmen as he was taking his son to school in Boca del Rio in the state of Veracruz. Later police stopped a suspicious car, rescued Miranda from it as his captors fled in a shootout. Earlier Veracruz Interior Minister Eric Cisneros Burgos had offered the reporter a bribe for better coverage, adding: “You know what will happen to you if you refuse.” Miranda refused.
Crime has been particularly soaring in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz. Its government has actually apologized for the police who picked up five youngsters as they were returning home from a birthday party in Tierra Blanca and delivered them to a drug gang that killed them in some kind of mistaken revenge. Said Governor Cuitlahuac Garcia: “The collusion between police and organized crime wasn’t stopped in time.”
The victims’ remains were later identified in a mass grave where hundreds of other bodies had also been dumped by cartels and cops. Alejandro Encinas, Deputy Interior Minister for Human Rights, explained: “We know that organized crime works with government officials at all levels.”
But do Americans know it? Though American drug consumers virtually finance the cartels that are destroying Mexico, the U.S. government and media have little to say about it. For all the clamor over immigration at the border, Mexico remains a black hole. Try to find some searching look at the role of the cartels in what is accurately described as a narco state. It’s not there.