Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Anabel Hernández is right even though she would prefer not to be. While the Mexican government was still undecided about her request for protection, in December 2013, thirteen armed men forced their way into the Mexican journalist’s house. Hernández and her family were not home at the time. Her bodyguard was there and was held hostage for several hours by the infiltrators. Hernández: “The men asked my neighbours for my address. Inside, drawers were pulled open but nothing was taken, not even the jewellery that was in my house.”

Neighbours reported that the infiltrators initially identified themselves as members of the Policías Judiciales, the Mexican federal police. Later, they said they were members of the group of former soldiers who have linked up with drugs cartels, called Zetas.

Since the publication of her book Los Señores del Narco, in 2010, Hernández has been receiving threats on a regular basis. The book is about the drugs war that has had her country in its grip for many years. Besides dealing with organized crime, her articles and her book are about Mexico as mafia state. Hernández proves that there are links between government officials and the drugs cartels.

Hernández is not the only journalist in Mexico confronted with violence. “In the last 12 years more than 80 journalists have been murdered and over 18 have disappeared,” says Hernández. Despite serious threats against her, as of yet Hernández has not seen any of the new security measures promised by the Home Office in September 2013. In an article published in the magazine, Proceso, Hernández accuses the Mexican government, in October 2013, of not providing enough protection and as a result, she is now very vulnerable.

Together with Free Press Unlimited, Hernández is committed to the safety of independent journalists in Mexico. On the initiative of Hernández, in December 2013 Free Press Unlimited and Periodistas de a Pie organized a four-day training for journalists and editors in Mexico. Hernández: “Media and the government in Mexico do not want to provide safety training for journalists, even though it is extremely important. Training makes journalists feel supported because they are learning from fellow-journalists and experts. Many journalists want to continue to do their work, but do not have the right skills. In the end, the most important thing is that the Mexican people are kept informed, and that the silence is broken.”