Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I want to live, but to live in silence is just another way to die

Borderland Beat: Posted on BB Forum by "DD"

"Living "By Anabel Hernández

A year and nine months ago I’d never have believed that I’d be here today. Every morning I’m surprised by life and open my eyes on a burnt out country where in six years more than 60,000 people have been executed by the government or organised crime. Their eyes will never open again. I’m surprised by being able to embrace my children, my mother and my siblings in a country where more than 18,000 children, teenagers and parents have disappeared in a phoney war against drug trafficking. Their families will never embrace them again.

In December 2010 when the book ‘The Drug Lords’, a product of five years of journalistic investigation, was published, I was sentenced to death by high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Public Security of president Felipe Calderón’s government for having exposed his relationship with kidnappers and the Sinaloa Cartel, the most powerful cartel in the world according to the United States’ Drug Enforcement Administration.

Since the 1st December 2010 a price has been put on my head and on that day I decided to fight for my life. Since then I have been on the verge of losing the things that I love the most. My family was attacked, my sisters have been harassed in their homes by armed thugs, my information sources now feature on the list of missing persons, have been killed or unjustly imprisoned. Every day I live with this weight in my heart, never knowing when my time will be up.

The world looks to a burnt out Mexico but never quite understands what goes on here and consequently does not realise that this could happen anywhere on earth. I have had the chance to talk with journalists from all over the world who have come to Mexico over the course of recent years to experience the adrenaline of the safari of terror and death. They come in search of shootings, corpses and pieces of bodies; they count the hangings and interview hit men, but never get to the bottom of the problem.

The Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Mario Vargas Llosa once said that there existed in Mexico a ‘perfect dictatorship’. In Mexico today there is a ‘perfect criminal dictatorship’. The most repressive regime of all time is that of the power of organised crime that has blended with Mexico’s political and economic power thanks to a corrupt and unpunished national system.

This combination of a drowsy society divided by indifference or terror makes for the perfect milieu for this perverse regime to maintain itself and grow. To think this, say this or write this is more dangerous in Mexico than being a drug-trafficker or working for them.

This is the power that has murdered thousands of innocent children, youths, women and men. This is the power that has seized areas of Mexican territory and subjected the population to a regime of terror, extortion, kidnapping and impunity.

This is the power that obstructs freedom of expression, the power that has executed 82 journalists over the course of a decade, has caused more than 16 to disappear and threatened hundreds, such as myself. 80% of these cases have taken place under the government of the current outgoing president, Felipe Calderón.

This is the power that ensures that crimes against journalists go unpunished. So as to wash their hands before public opinion and the international community, the government of Mexico, which is currently considered the most dangerous place on earth to work as a journalist, claims to have created a prosecution office to protect journalists and resolve cases of their murder.
This office has done nothing but conceal the consent of federal and local government in the murder of journalists. Its budget has been reduced by up to 74%, an indication of governmental interest, and 90% of cases remain unpunished. In only one of every ten cases has the alleged perpetrator been jailed.

The crisis within Mexico with regard to freedom of expression has been devastating. The media are afraid and preserve their economic interests with the government, and barely fight back when their journalists are killed, are threatened or disappear.
There is inaction in part due to a lack of solidarity in the union and among the dynamic media egotists that well you know, but also because the government has criminalised murdered journalists in general, as well as anyone who tries to defend them.
Family members have no way out; they collect pieces of tortured and dismembered journalists who have been dumped in rubbish sacks. They must be quiet and keep their heads down when the infamous government, with no evidence whatsoever, claims that the journalist was involved in trafficking.

A year and nine months ago, I understood that it was not enough to survive this barbarity. To feel the breeze blowing on my face, to breathe clean air and see the smiles of my beloved children is not enough. A life in silence is not life anywhere on earth. To live in silence with regard to how corruption, crime and impunity continue to empower themselves in my country is also to die.
 I continue to denounce the decay of Mexico and the collusion of politicians, public servants and high-level businessmen with Mexican drug cartels. Today Mexican society is in need of brave and honest journalists who are ready to fight and I believe that the international community and world media share this responsibility to deeply consider the reality of the situation in Mexico and assist us in achieving our goals. Without freedom of expression, there is no possibility of justice or democracy.

Today, you award me with the Golden Pen of Freedom. I never expected any prize in exchange for my work. I dedicate and symbolically award this prize to all the Mexican journalists whose voices have been silenced by death, forced disappearance or censorship. I also dedicate it to all those Mexican journalists who daily continue to set an example in their duty to inform and denounce at whatever cost. 

I will fight until my last breath, even if it is a small example, so that as journalists we are not brought to our knees before the drug state. I don’t know how many days, weeks, months or years I have left. I know that I am on the blacklist of very powerful men who will go unpunished with their pockets full of money from drug bribes and a guilty conscience for their unmentionable acts.
I know that they are awaiting their moment to carry out their threats at little political cost. I know that I have nothing but the truth, my voice and my work as a journalist to defend myself with.

If one day it happens, remember me like this, upright. I do not want to be another number on the list of dead journalists. I want to be among the statistics of journalists who fought to live.

It’s true, as Mexicans we are responsible for our own disgrace, but I hope that the international community will not continue to be indolent before the empire of the Mexican drug state, which will not be resolved by the end of the administration of Felipe Calderón. I hope they will protect their borders and economies against this expanding power and give neither shelter nor protection to those responsible, be they ex-presidents, presidents, businessmen or drug-traffickers.

I want to live, but to live in silence is just another way to die.
The following is and interview with Hernandez done in 2011 so some of the points seem dated but there is enough history that I thought it would be useful to some of you "Mexican Drug War Newbies"
How The Drug Lords Took Over Mexico
By José Luis Sierra
They command an army of thousands: men, women, even children north and south of the US-Mexico border. They build tunnels, and dispatch submarines and customized armored vehicles. They load planes, trucks, and railroad containers with drugs and other illicit cargo. In bulk, they buy arms and political influence across the continent. They are feared and revered at the same time; loathed and obeyed by those paid to follow their orders.
They are the Drug Lords of Mexico and, according to journalist Anabel Hernandez, they have succeeded at infiltrating the highest circles of financial and political power in the countries where they now operate and even might have a say in deciding who the next President of Mexico might be.
But who are they exactly?
“Most people in Mexico and in this country believe that the Drug Lords is a men’s club being lead by “El Chapo” Guzman, “El Mayo” Zambada –leaders of the well known Cartel de Sinaloa— as well as the handful of replacements who have taken the place of those who used to control Los Zetas in the Gulf [of Mexico], and Los Templarios that now have taken over the cartel of La Familia in Michoacán and El Cartel de Tijuana.
But in fact, these renowned gangsters are figure heads, eventually fall guys,’’ says Hernandez, during her second trip to Los Angeles promoting her book The Drug Lords —the result of a five-year investigation into the Mexican drug cartels, their close ties to Mexican officialdom, and the expansion of their influence in Central and South America.
 “How else can you explain how individuals running the cartels with almost no education can outpace the US and Mexican intelligence agencies, the Mexican Army and Mexican law enforcement at all levels? There is only one explanation,” says Hernandez with a dramatic pause— “corruption.”
Continues on next page

From Top to Bottom
 For the 39-year-old Hernandez—now working on a follow-up book focused on US policies toward Latin America in its war on drugs — corruption in Mexico is so pervasive that it jumped the US border many decades ago, back in the 1980s, during the Reagan administration, when senior officials facilitated the sale of arms to Iran and through back-door funding of the Nicaraguan Contras, thereby bypassing the oversight of Congress.
 Much of the funding for the Contras, according to Hernandez, came from illegal trafficking of cocaine through Central America en route to the United States, with full knowledge of top CIA officials. Most of these events were well documented by several congressional commissions, as well as independent reports. Yet, only a handful of the US government officials involved got prosecuted. They ended up being pardoned or with commuted sentences.
At that time, Mexico’s ruling party, the PRI (Institutional Revolutionary Party) had total control of the political power in Mexico and the drug cartels were left to mind their own business with no interference, as long as they paid a cut of their profits to key government officials, who in turn would spread some of that money around to make sure the drug operations would run smoothly.
Things began to get shaky in 1985, with the execution of Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, a US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent who had investigated a 1,000-hectare marijuana plantation in the state of Chihuahua. [ read more on the Buffalo Ranch HERE ]
The killing of Camarena unleashed outrage from the US government and pressured Mexican officials to punish those responsible for the murder. Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo and Rafael Caro Quintero —at that time two very well know drug lords— were apprehended and are still in prison. Four others, including a relative of former Mexican President Luis Echevarria, were also found guilty in a federal court in Los Angeles.
“The official records are there,” declares Hernandez in an interview with New America Media. “Then and now, US and Mexican officials had been involved in deals with the drug lords and they are playing a double moral standard in this so called “war’’ against drug trafficking that already cost Mexico more than 40 thousand victims.’’
 She cites a more recent case when the son of “El Mayo Zambada,’’ Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla (aka “Mayito”) claimed immunity from prosecution early last week in a federal court in Chicago, alleging that in 1998 he had an agreement with top DEA and US officials, in exchange for his services as an informant on the activities of the Sinaloa cartel, led by his father and Joaquin “Shorty” Guzman.
 According to reports from Reuters, US government officials in Mexico declined to comment on Zambada’s allegations, and US prosecutors have denied that Zambada had been granted immunity. They have until September 9 to file a response with the court. But if Zambada-Niebla’s claim is upheld, it can potentially turn into another embarrassment for the US government, on a par with the scandalous Operation “Fast and Furious,’’ in which U.S. officials deliberately allowed the export of high-power firearms into Mexico, then lost track of the arms.
Anabel Hernández, a Mexican journalist and writer known for her investigative reporting on corruption and the abuse of power in Mexican politics, has been awarded the 2012 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers
Source: WAN-IFRA


  1. She is a true hero in my book.Someone for everyone in Mexico to be proud of.I doubt any of the armchair critics who comment on this dogr could ever do.I know I couldnt.I would fight to my last breath to protect my family,but to become a target...For her own good ,she should take herself and her family.and leave the country.Unfortunately when her time comes,she will be just another victim.Keep writing about the corruption from a distance,and continue to expose it.

  2. Dear Anabel, May God's hand hold you, his strength embrase you and his love give you peace. You are a hero, and a measenger of God. I pray for you and Mexico's people. We are all God's children.
    God Bless and may he watch over you.

  3. For all those Calderon supporters and Mexican Government and Military followers, she speaks directly to you. Calderon, the Government, and the Military kill innocent people, kidnap, extort, and traffic drugs. They are more filthy then the cartels they say they are after.

  4. ....You are brave, but so confused. Your plight has narrowed your perspective so that you are self centered and cannot see the overall. You should seek help and be quite until you can understand what is really happening to your sorry assed country....and to mine in the same state. Mexico and the USA are both beyond is the peoples fault for accepting their plight.

  5. She's doing great work. But I hope she's got a good bodyguard and a great exit strategy. One thing I've learned from reading BB is that journalists and bloggers are hopeless when it comes to personal security. You write as if your words are mighty things ... but no word has ever stopped a bullet.

  6. 'we are all in the gutter..but some of us are looking up at the stars'...oscar a member of PEN..i join this 'fight'...fortunately for me from a safe distant..for those like anabel the front lines...there are not enough words to express our graditude...paul young north vancouver, bc canada

  7. this is very serious a young lady is threaten not just chapo but her own president this girl is something special everything was already suspected that cds was going into plazas and heating them up and like always zetas were blamed or beltran or juarez chapo had the support of goverment officials cause he was willing to pay billions more every other cartel said fuck it he wants money come and get it it knid like that movie lawless they stood there ground but chapo is not a powerful as people think when he came to baja he tried and spend alot of money with goverment support and el caf traidors but el caf won the war and charge cds piso chapo is strong but when the cat got out of the hat with dea and military support and he being a snitch he lost the element of surprise people when they know were youre help is and how you funcion in this business it not a good thing its youre demise

  8. It is very pleasant surprise to learn Anabel Hernandez's contributions have been officially recognized. How many brave journalists like Anabel Hernandez, Adele Navarro, and others would it take to affect change in Mexico? There is no answer. Sadly her prize, which she symbolically "regifted" to the memory of journalists whose voices have been silenced by death, now may make her less safe. Hernandez should be guarded like the precious Mexican commodity she is and not one day end up as a martyr who died for the cause. I hope she and other brave, tenacious voices live to see positive change in Mexico. Thanks for bringing the story, Chivis and DD.

  9. I, I, I, I,, me, me, me, me.....I, I, I,, me, me, me....WTH! Enough already. Get an anonymous name, blog, and whatever else, ie fake id and keep writing.

  10. What a tragic yet inspiring story. This is one of many women who put their life and families in harms way, for the truth to be told. I applaud her strength and courage and pray for her safety and all journalists who do the same Thanks, BB,exceptional story.

  11. Senora Anabel you have done everything you could and you did it perfect thank you for speaking the truth and slap all those cowards in the face thats why they want your head but don Emiliano Zapata ones said es mejor morir de pie que vivir de rodillas.tu trabjo es y sera apreciado I'll pray to God to look over you and your family God bless you

  12. I love her book it speaks the truth ive read a lot of narco books and books on that topic but her book gave me an insight into the whole picture every cartel there political connections crooked cops she exposed a lot for those of you who havent read it its a great read couldint put it down

  13. Brave girl,and speaking ultimate truth,blaming no-one else but asking for common sense help.Lets hope she gets to see a better Mexico and a better world,,,but i doubt it.

  14. Anabel Hernandez, congratulations on being awarded for your intelligence and conscience.

    Let us now move her and her family to the US on refugee status.

    Also award her the Nobel Peace Prize.

    Let's do what is right.

  15. ....WOW!!! WHAT A BRAVE LADY!!!



  16. Sinaloa Cartel & El Chapo involved in kidnapping and murdering innocent people!! I don't believe it...It's not true. This woman is telling lies.

  17. I don't agree with all she has to say, about chapo that is no lie...I never believed what she writes about Calderon anymore than I believed those who say Anabel is supported by a certain cartel.

    Presently it is for a mexican president to not have a few rotten apples. But words alone does not make an accusation valid, her so called proof was lacking at best on some of her allegations towards calderon. She calls it a so called war on drugs, but it was not a failure, he did make gains where none had been before.

    But I agree his "war plan" was wrong on critical areas, catch the capo being one, he did catch most the capos he set out to catch, but it changed little.

    At the end of the day I admire both Anabel and calderon for their love of Mexico, their attempts at change, and their courage to be hear., controversial for sure, but both have more in common than Anabel would ever admit.

  18. Remember DO NOT TYPE IN ALL CAPS. I have allowed a couple of comments thru, but typically no matter what is written I usually delete if in all caps

  19. I just added an interview "How The Drug Lords Took Over Mexico"....Paz, Chivis

  20. The people the citizens are complicit in the corruption,in the culture of passivity, the Mexicans who continually vote for corrupt Nobility of Mexico. Are they stupid,no just up to their ass in whats in it for me. This lady acts as if she is from another country,Mexico deserves the lawless chaos,if the govt could just be broken enough to let the people defend themselves.

  21. She deserves mention for speaking up,but.Funny people,comical the way everyone gets that moral tone in their comments "Nobel Peace Prize"fuckin sheep,dude i think your getting a little emotional,there are people who spend years,hands on,working in poor countries without ever getting any kind of recognition,so ease up,or you'll have us all crying.You all crying already?Give me a minute,,,,,,,

  22. Many Spanish speaker chat in mesenger lock their keyboard to type only in capital letter and the same is done when writing letters via thei hotmail account interface. If they are from Mexico you'll be cutting them off if they use capital letter, ¿good idea? when it's their country who's Takign The Hit?

    For those who understand Spanish who wish to read the Borderland Beat featured journalist Anabel Hernández go here to read her book

    The President's Accomplices written in Spanish:

    Los Cómplices del Presidente, un libro de 446 páginasández

    Saludos a todos y todas,
    SenB. en canadá

  23. Nice article......don't know if everything she says about Calderon is true either but you have to understand that under his administration the majority of Mexicans have been subjected to unbelieveable torment.....there is not a family I know....including my own.....that hasn't had someone kidnapped..murdered,,or extorted. The only people exempt was the politically elite like Calderon or their buddies like Carlos Slim.
    The reason the PRI is back in power..everyone knows their corrupt, but the ordinary citizen just wants to live in peace.......Calderon's policy was flawed because he was not capable of knowing what Mexico was actually like outside of the ivory castle society he lives in..Just my personal view from street level......chow


  24. Sen B
    Nah...he even used a few lower case, but if so, that's my is done by those wanting to scream their comment. Remember I have been in Mexico for a decade I have not one person that writes in all caps...keeping warm my Canadian friend? Santa comes atop the big red firetruck in 3 days....Paz

  25. Hello 6:42 PM,

    ... Keeping WARM alright: out the front door I go, RUN to the car, getting into it as fast as possible, and if I must leave to enter a building I make a dash for the door RUNNING like one possessed, ha ha, now if you call that staying warm. It has been very cold but at least no snow down here Thank GOD!

    ... "Santa, I hope you have life insurance. If I were you I'd stick to rein-deers, Santa. Remember, the Higher They Climb The Harder They Fall!"

    Tie him up Chivis!

    Cheers to both You, Santa and to all bloggers,


  26. .

    PS, it has been said that Weather Modification is already being done. There are a number of these massive network of Antennas set up in different parts of the world, H.A.A.R.P. is what they are called and they work in conjunction with what jet fuel has been laced with that gets SPRAYED into the skies, Chetrails they are called.

    Now here's my cure for Mexico's narco driven violent war: ASK THE USA TO set H.A.A.R.P. to make it Snow In Mexico so that the Mariguana plants can't sprout and also, to make Mexico so cold that the cowboys with guns have to turn to something else to rake in the cash that goes by the name of WORKING FOR A LIVING!!

    Down here, when it gets cold enough you can't do anything outside no matter how much you want to.

    See here:



    It's 'real', folks

  27. Damn Chivis you have just lost a certain level of credibility by stating that you don't agree with all she has to say...since her jouranlistic standpoint is founded on the common interest of the truth, while your perspective is obviously founded on something less than the truth.

    What she has to say is based on analysis and inference from hard evidence obtained through hard labor that has cost her sources' lives. Your disagreement with her is based on what? Your narrowminded selfserving American perspective? Enlighten us how your investigation of secondary and tertiary sources trumps her infiltration of the underbelly of criminal activity and corruption at the heart of Mexican politics through the use of primary sources? Please make a case for yourself, because just based on that one statement you made it is obvious that your envy has gotten the best of you.

  28. @8:20PM
    jajajaja well no, I do not in anyway hold myself up as a journalist. I am a citizen reporter contributing to Mexican Drug war blogs, just rying in my little way to inform the uninformed in the English speaking world,

    Anabel is a wonderful journalist but because I feel she has allowed a personal prejudice in her writing does not mean that I discount all she has to say, in fact I am in agreement with much she has to say.

    Time will tell which of us is correct, but if I had envy of any journalist I would not republish their work.

    Sure I I wish I could convey my thoughts as well as she and captivate a reader as she, but I am very happy with the life I have enjoyed which has afforded living in some very distant lands and learning the culture of many people.

    I thought of making a case but if you follow Hernandez you yourself should know what I am speaking of the "hard evidence" you speak of has soften over time. However, why would I want to make a case against a person that I admire? She can be wrong or could I, but I can have an opinion. it is that simple.

    BTW this American is Mexican and has been in Mexico for a decade, smack in ground zero. I have enjoyed relationships with many of the people written about here on this blog. You do not know me. Or anything about me. I research and write not for money from writing book, but for the love of the nation of my ancestry.

    I wrote the disclaimer as people were writing saying how can I support Hernandez yet support Calderon. people think if we post something not authored by us we support the contents.

    If I have lost credibility for having this opinion than your opinion of me was not that great to begin with...BUT unlike you I will challenge anyone trying to say you do not have the right to have one. Which is why I posted your comment.

  29. Tell him senora chivis. this is why I hate this kind of ppl that talk based on what they read and not what they have gone through. jst like her or more, you deserve to be appreciated for what you do with out anything in return but the satisfaction of knowing you have make a change in someones life.many ppl admire you and im one of them

  30. 9.08 PM
    Man,i don't know why you bother replying,i really don't,you always gonna get bitch's who complain,that's their nature.

  31. 8.20
    You wouldn't happen to be Mexican would you?Its called having an opinion you crank,you getting on the old Mexican nationalistic train aint you?Nothin to do with opnion.How dare someone disagree with with her"opinions"We got a world full of fuckin whiners.

  32. 12:04Why is always about race or where you from to criticize someone that is so childish grow up ppl is 2012

  33. Wow man 9:08 PM,

    You're a knock out chévere communicator. While one blogger has been supportive to you by asking you why you responded to 8:20 PM, your response to 8:20 PM says a lot about you as a human being and also shows what a 'keen well connected mind you have' and that you can be Objective When Talking On Some Theme Or Other which means that you are honest and do your best to Find Truth, and if anything has any value in this life It Is Truth.

    Santa is proud of you!

    Saludos, k tengas un buen día,
    - SenB.

  34. Cant we all just get along ? Peace

  35. Anabel Hernandez is NO HERO by any means. She's just the latest attention grubbing hoe that seeks publicity like dope fiends seek crack.ill see in a few days see if u posted this one comment.

  36. @3:18.
    Do you have trouble sleeping at night?

  37. DD said...
    December 19, 2012 3:18 AM
    I live in the US but do agree with what you said.
    Anabel Hernandez is NO HERO by any means. She's just the latest attention grubbing hoe,i agree with what chivis said in entirety,it is attention grabbing so she can cosy up with the gringos?
    I do not have trouble sleeping at night.


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