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

Friday, May 15, 2020

Three Years Without Javier Valdez

Yaqui for Borderland Beat from: Riodoce y Rev301 plus
Three years later, the murder of Javier Valdez continues without full justice. The conviction against one of the material perpetrators is positive news and we hope that it will be one more step in a journey that should have as its destination the sanction of all those responsible, material and intellectual.

Mexico continues to be one of the countries with the highest number of journalist killings worldwide and a place where very few perpetrators are penalized for attacking those who report to us. Since that fateful May 15, 2017, the UN-DH team in Mexico has documented 31 other journalist murders to date.

As established by the CNDH, journalists are people who "collect, generate, process, edit, comment on, opine, disseminate, publish or provide information through any means of dissemination and communication, whether eventual or permanent" . They therefore fulfill the fundamental function of informing the public. And they are attacked precisely because someone with the power to do them harm is not interested in seeing that information published.

Without access to information, we cannot form educated opinions and subsequently adopt behaviors consistent with those opinions. That is why the Inter-American Court of Human Rights considered that "freedom of expression is a cornerstone in the very existence of a democratic society."

In this sense, the existence of free and unimpeded journalism is as important to a democratic rule of law as is a democratic constitutional order or free elections. Freedom of expression cannot be subject to editorial pressure, disqualification of rulers or devoid of protection when investigating actions by non-state actors.
The anniversary that  the publication , Riodoce, co - founded by Javier Valdez marks today as a tribute to his fallen companions, forces us to reflect on what has happened in these more thousand plus days that have passed without one of the most authentic investigative journalists that was shot down in cold blood, at "high noon", with 12 bullets representing "the 12 rivers" , the translated to english , ie, RIODOCE.

The murder of Javier, in broad daylight, in the center of Culiacán and less than two months after the murder of Miroslava Breach, the then President of the Republic promised to reinforce in an exemplary way the specialized organs for the protection of journalists and for the investigation of the aggressions committed against them.

Today we see that this commitment has not yet been fulfilled. On the one hand, the Special Prosecutor's Office for the Attention of Crimes committed against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) has seen its budget reduced every year from 2014 (approximately 39 million pesos) to 2019 (13 million), registering a small increase in 2020 (14.5 million).

On the other hand, the Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists has had to deal each year with an exponential increase in the number of beneficiaries without the corresponding increase in their budget, which has implied difficulties for the implementation of the protection measures in different periods.

In this context and, above all, comparing the number of attacks with the number of sentences handed down for the crimes committed, it is inevitable to express that there is still a long way to go to ensure that journalists can have an environment that is conducive and safe for the execution of its essential function.

Javier described journalistic activity in Culiacán as "walking on an invisible line drawn by the bad guys — who are in drug trafficking and in the government — in a field strewn with explosives."

And despite the significant progress that has been made, that remains the reality for many and many journalists throughout the country. His dedication and tenacity to literally confront the various powers installed is a source of enormous admiration and recognition by the entire team that makes up the Office in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Javier Valdez lives in the spirit of his fellow journalists who say no to silence and resist in their commitment to truth and justice, whom we will continue to strongly support.

* The author is Deputy representative in Mexico of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

A Tribute to Javi's Legacy cannot be complete without this, The letter from Javier Valdez's son:


I look for you everywhere, in every space, in every object you felt, I look for you in my dreams, but I don't see you. I do not see your face, your large and worn body, already half a century old ”(sic), begins the letter that Francisco Javier Valdez wrote to his father, journalist Javier Valdez, co/founder of Río Doce and correspondent for La Jornada, assassinated on May 15, 2018.

In his writing published on Facebook, Valdez Triana asks society not to leave his father alone, "because he needs everyone's help." That in a way, although not specific, it demands justice for the journalist, who was robbed of his life in the vicinity of the weekly Río Doce.

“They have left me without your love, without half my heart. You stole my heart, you earned my love, I gave you the best of me: my love. I can feel you, in every step, in every verse that I read, in every poem that you wrote and wrote, "wrote his son.

Javier Valdez Cárdenas, a journalist from the state of Sinaloa, is the sixth journalist and the second correspondent for the newspaper La Jornada assassinated so far this year in Mexico.

Valdez wrote books related to drug trafficking: "Miss Narco", "Orphans of Narco", Narcoperiosmo "and" Malayerba ".

3 Years Without Javier Valdez: The letter from GRISELDA TRIANA, the Journalist's Widow:
Sopitos May 15, 2020:

May 15 - in addition to being Teacher's Day - This is a date that has remained in the collective memory of Mexico for being the mourning anniversary of journalist Javier Valdez . This 2020 marks three years since the murder of the Sinaloan investigative journalist who dedicated his life to documenting the stories of drug trafficking, violence and organized crime in our country.

His murder deeply affected Mexico. In addition to being emblematic in the fight for press freedom in our country and inspiring dozens of social movements, it is the date that continues to go unpunished and the voices calling for the case to be clarified will never again be silenced.
Griselda Triana , the widow of journalist Javier Valdez, shared this Friday with the media a letter in which she not only remembers her times with the reporter and her intimate moments with the  father of a family; She also requires the authorities to solve their homicide and invites us to never forget the victims who, due to Mexican violence, have lost their voice and their pen. We share the full text below.

"Today marks the third anniversary of the murder of Javier Valdez Cárdenas, and the progress in the search for justice is not what we, as a family, would like to have. His crime remains unpunished , we do not know why they killed us, we are still waiting for answers.

Faced with a fact like the one we have lived in Culiacán since that May 15, 2017 , the resources of resistance do not run out. At least not on my part because I keep intact the hope that in the future all those responsible will pay for what they did to Javier and to our entire family and to the entire society.

Although it is true that after three years we bear the burden in a more serene way, we still have not found the peace that our heart needs . We continue to miss Javier, my daughter Tania and my son Fran, they lack their father, and I, my life partner.

I have no doubt that Mexican journalism needs Javier's pen like never before. His "Malayerba" column is still missing every Monday in the weekly Ridioce , those short chronicles about the lives of people in the world of drug trafficking that he published in the media that he founded with his colleagues; His publications as a correspondent in the newspaper La Jornada, where he worked for more than 18 years.

Many victims have been left without a voice since they killed him, as he wrote about the women who were looking for their missing children, took an interest in and cared for children and youth who were easily copied by criminal organizations, gave a voice and a face to victims of violence . They got rid of him because someone did not like what he wrote .

That was easy. There were several against him alone . Within seconds they blinded our lives from twelve shots.
It is inevitable not to remember minute by minute what happened that midday in Culiacán , a few meters from Riodioce offices, where he came from. They were waiting for him even though they wanted to pass the murder off as an attempted robbery. The crime scene is always on my mind: his body face down on the asphalt, covered with a blue blanket and the hat that I gave him covering his face.

I do not forget the call of Ismael Bojórquez, the director, our friend, to tell me that Javier had been shot. The tone of his broken voice is etched in my memory. After that, everything turned into a whirlwind. Our life cracked.

Leaving Sinaloa was not easy, but the fear and pain were unbearable. I had to leave the place where I grew up, where I met Javier and got married, where we raised our family, the city where he was inspired to write his stories. Any chance of returning was dashed .

One loss after another. One duel after another. This is how life is usually when violence takes away the one you love the most .

In the course of these three years I have not stopped demanding justice. On February 27 of this year, the possibility of knowing why Javier was killed appeared . It was in the abbreviated trial in which Heriberto Picos Barraza, nicknamed among the gangsters as "El Koala", accepted to have participated on the day of the murder. He is serving his sentence in a medium-security federal prison in Sinaloa. They gave him only 14 years and 8 months years in prison for having “cooperated” with justice.

The new accusatory criminal system allows perpetrators to admit their crime; in return they receive shorter sentences. Although it is a small victory, he did not leave me satisfied because he did not confess details or why they killed him.

The investigation has not been easy for the Office of the Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) of the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (FGR), and of the Civic Proposal organization that represents me.

The reading of the Public Ministry about what happened, which I heard at the trial - me from a separate room - provided some indications of what happened on May 15. They all belonged to a cell of the criminal group commanded by Dámaso López Serrano , who they nicknamed the "Mini Lic". His statements cleared the panorama full of doubts and allow us to know from which criminal organization Javier's murder was ordered. ( El Mini Lic walked thru the US Border and gave himself up not long after and is in US custody not long after)

One of the challenges of the Mexican authorities will be to get the leader of this criminal group, who is imprisoned in the United States , under the figure of a protected witness, to be transferred to Mexico and held accountable for this crime. What they call a crime against freedom of expression, for me is the murder of my husband of 26 years ago.

This will be our demand to know the truth , but we need to have guarantees that this criminal - the son of Dámaso López, who is nicknamed in those worlds "El Licenciado" , compadre of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, "El Chapo" - does not have any privilege that makes it easy for him to evade your presence before the judicial authorities of our country.

The coronavirus contingency has made it impossible to continue the intermediate hearing, often suspended. He is still awaiting the sentence of another of the assassins . One more is dead since October 2017.

Due to the crisis, we will not be able to hold the citizens' conferences that we put together in his memory the previous two years in various parts of the country but especially in Culiacán, where artists, poets, human rights defenders, journalists, citizens who considered him their friend, their ally participate , to continue making visible the injustice and impunity that prevails.

The coronavirus pandemic that plagues many countries in the world, and the cost it is charging in our country is high. I respect those who face this pandemic and the people who are suffering the most, and it hurts me for the loss of thousands of people who have been infected.

But the authorities must not forget those who every day, and for years, have been in search of justice . We cannot pretend that nothing is happening and make other tragedies that we live in this country invisible, tens of thousands of victims and those who were violently taken from us for their journalistic work.

I do not forget. We do not forget . Here we are. We long for Javier. That 2017 he had just completed its first 50 years. His early morning presence in the café is missing, in the meetings of every Monday in the editorial office of Rodoce, from where he did journalism that bothered those who feel powerful, his calls to the States section of La Jornada. He is missed at his mother's house, especially on Fridays when he went to eat with her.

I miss him every night, especially on those nights when he asked me not to fall asleep before he did. His chronic sinusitis that manifested itself when the temperature changed. I still miss his large hands and his large and strong presence.

Our afternoons at “El Guayabo”, his favorite canteen where he drank whiskey with many liters of water and ate peanuts, the place where he talked with all the people who came to him and where he fed himself to write many of the stories in his column: "Malayerba" .

I miss him crying as easy as the day that Tania, our daughter, married and I was afraid that he was going to have an attack of emotion, the pleasure and sadness of seeing her leave. I long for his northern style and carefree talk.

I miss Sundays when I woke up and listened early to the noise of the keyboard of his computer while he wrote, when he made me breakfast and we spent the rest of the day watching television series together.

I write this on Tuesday May 5 . Everything was fine until the afternoon until I received a message from a close person asking how I am. My automatic response is: "everything is fine". But I am not. I notice it because the crying started easily and immediately.

The photographs are scattered on the dining room table, I drink coffee in one of his cups, that yellow color that Tania gave him on Father's Day, I have at hand the book
 "Journalism written in blood" , an anthology that gathers texts from six of his eight books.

Since May 1st I have uploaded fragments of one of his latest texts included in this book to Facebook, it is my way of honoring him. How can I contain the cry if so many memories are there, gathered? I have at hand those images of our student days, of boyfriends. I pregnant with Tania, then Fran. At work, with our friends, from our vacations, the four of us, from the inner workings of Riodioce.

The memories crowd and sink deep because I will not be in Culiacán this May 15. I will not go to the place where his ashes rest, I will not walk the streets and avenues of the city that he loved so much, especially the Álvaro Obregón that we patrol together many nights. I will not come to our home, I will not see the people who wanted it. This hurts so much.

My eyes are puffy and my nose is red. I can't stop running, and I have a hard time writing. I pout, I can't help it. May will always be sad, very sad.

These are some fragments of his books that I have been pasting in with these photos of us .

“One feels like a tightrope walker, an acrobat of journalism: juggling so as not to remain silent, keep silent. And one shouts protests at rallies, 'they won't shut us up.' Actually they already have. Half or totally, as in Tamaulipas or Sinaloa or Chihuahua. They already send and we are not the ones who type on the computers when making the notes, they are the ones who choose the letters, the words, the paragraphs and photos of our stories ” .

"Javier when he worked on Canal 3 de Culiacán". Photo: Griselda Triana

“In Mexico it is increasingly difficult to do journalism. They are violent, convulsed times, of a galloping decadence and a frightful decomposition that does not allow a decent life. And if in the country there are no conditions for a decent life, less to do journalism. At the end of last year I published my most recent book, Narcojournalism. But just when I wanted to put an end to it, new cases of journalists killed or disappeared, threatened, arose. It is a book with stories that have no end. It was difficult to close it and deliver it to the editor. Even now it hurts to have put a final point that is diluted, stained with blood and pain .

Javier Valdez: Journalism in violent times, anthology Journalism written in blood.
                         "Javier reporting in the Sierra de Chihuahua". Photo: Griselda Triana.

“In this environment, courageous and dignified journalists and journalism are more fragile and vulnerable. In addition, there is a society that does not shelter, that does not accompany the brave journalism in Mexico. This condition occurs especially in the midst of diverse regions. Therefore, doing journalism in these conditions is an act of resistance, of exercising freedom of expression amidst many threats, and many journalists have a narco spy in the newsroom or are threatened by criminals inside and outside the government. and they seem to type the stories with an automatic rifle pointed at them . "

“This 2017, in March, three reporters were killed in Mexico, including my colleague and friend Miroslava Breach Velducea, who was shot eight times as she was leaving her home. In a message that the murderers left him, they said he had "a long tongue'. And if we go to that, all the brave journalists in this country, worthy, who do this acrobatic journalism, we have a long tongue. That they kill us all, if the sentence for doing this journalism is death . ”

“Miros, as we called Miroslava, was a correspondent for La Jornada in Chihuahua, like Javier  in Culiacán. I felt her death so closey. One says, it was there, in Chihuahua. But no, it was actually here, close, inches from these fingers that write, those eyes that read newspapers, those stories that without journalists we would not know. If Miros dies, we die too. The entire society suffers amputations of ears and eyes and hands that they criticize, denounce, investigate and publish in the media. He is not just another journalist, he is a society wounded in the death of every journalist. ”

I, personally, will never forget May 15, 2018 either. It is etched in my brain, my mind, just like the day my father died in a minor traffic accident. Not for the same reasons , of course; altho my dad was even younger than Javi. He was only 45 years young, For me , myself,  I was  barely 15; he was taken before his time in a freakish event. I could hardly bear the brundt of the cold new reality, as I will always imagine Javi's familia THAT day.

My dad was a BIG persona, not that folks who did not know him might notice, however, he and Javi shared much of the same habits, sense of humor and above all the sense of righteousness. I grew up right smack dab middle of the Civil Rights movement and my best friend and role model was all over that, my Dad !  This thought NEVER crossed my mind until I was actually writing this !

Hence; I always have this certain affinity for the family that will never know me; that of Javier Valdez.


  1. Do not expect to "make a living" as a journalist with your name all over the place while stepping on the wrong toes, these days that applies more amd more every day on the US where it is still dangerous to be a black guy while drinking monsters with kisses or while in your house or apartment even if yiu are an hero first responder in Kentucky.
    Please, in the name of your family if nothing else Do not be heros with name and address out there, at least use pseudonyms chingadamadre!!!
    Atte, 100% on your side.
    PS no amount of government money will make HR or DH efficient or effective on time for anything anywhere in the world, the US government under administrations of different parties have been cutting off from them, no lack of reasons, justified or not, specially if your country has been WRONGLY accused of being terrorist sponsor or in posession of ficticious Weapons of Mass HR has spoken yet much less named names.

  2. Bless You All.
    Sorry for your loss

    PS Can anyone Reprint some of his articals ? so we can understand better Why he was murdered in cold blood

    I hope Peace finds its way to everyone that this Great Man touched
    ( very sad )

  3. Did they actually catch the killers vor there still free to kill more.

  4. If you enter the date of Javier's murder into the Search Engine, ie May 15, 2015, you can find the many posts myself and others have done about him and the murder. It happened during a war between Los Chapitos and Los Damasos. El Koala is in custody but there are at least 3 more outstanding suspects who have yet to been brought to justice. Both Father and son "El Lic" and "El Mini Lic" Damaso are in custody in the US on unrelated trafficking charges, but are thought to be the material authors of Javier's murder. I also highly recommend his books. He has won many literary awards, including from the CPJ, Committee to Protect Journalists.

  5. reporters need to move the U.S. jorge ramos is save in Mami

    1. Yes but he is afraid to enter Mexico.

    2. 4:56 jorge ramos has become a highly paid old pretty boy who will stop at nothing to promote whatever he gets paid to promote.

    3. Jorge Ramos is as racist as he believes Trump to be.

  6. CDS killedcthis guy.. 😥


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