Thieves broke into the Quintana Roo home of prominent journalist and human rights activist Lydia Cacho on Sunday, stealing electronic equipment and “highly sensitive” journalistic work.
The press freedom advocacy organization Article 19 said in a statement that the thieves also killed one of Cacho’s dogs and poisoned the other.
It called the attack on the journalist’s Puerto Morelos home “an act of retaliation” against Cacho’s work in defense of human rights and freedom of expression.
Article 19 regional director Ana Cristina Ruelas told the newspaper El Universal that those responsible were trying to instill fear in Cacho and other journalists and human rights defenders within a context in which the federal government hasn’t attempted to implement public policy that guarantees their protection.
According to the organization’s statement, two unidentified persons entered Cacho’s home at approximately 6:30pm Sunday after cutting the cables of security cameras and deactivating an alarm system.
The thieves stole a voice recorder, three cameras, several memory cards, a laptop and 10 hard drives containing information related to pedophilia cases.
“Fortunately, the journalist has security backups abroad” of all the information that was stolen, Article 19 said.
Cacho is perhaps best known for her 2005 book The Demons of Eden, which exposed a pedophilia ring in Cancún run by businessman Jean Succar Kuri, who has been tried and convicted.
The same year, she was arbitrarily detained, tortured and threatened with rape by Puebla police who were allegedly acting on the orders of then Governor Mario Marín and Kamel Nacif, a businessman known as el rey de la mezclilla (the denim king) who was implicated in the pedophilia ring.
Warrants for the arrests of those two men and two others were issued in April. However, Marín and Nacif remain at large, and both are believed to be living abroad.
In addition to the information theft, the thieves also entered Cacho’s bedroom, went through her personal belongings and destroyed objects including family photographs and her underwear, Article 19 said.
“Security experts consulted by the journalist after the forceful entry assured her that ‘they were going for her’ but fortunately, she wasn’t at home,” the group said.
Ruelas told El Universal that there was a “clear intention to repeat the aggression” to which Cacho has been subjected for her work as a journalist.
“It’s a form of revictimization,” she said, adding that the crime has been reported to the federal Attorney General’s Office and that Cacho is seeking “exhaustive, objective and impartial justice.”
Cacho wrote on Twitter yesterday that as much as people try to intimidate her, she will not stop her work as an investigative journalist.
“. . . Fear will not colonize my spirit. I’m a journalist, I’m a feminist and a defender of human rights . . . To those who threaten me, I say: #HereNobodyGivesUp #Justice #ChildhoodFirst.”
Source: El Universal (sp)