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El Paso Reporter Risks Life on Story of Juarez's Murdered Women

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 06:32 PM
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El Paso Reporter Risks Life on Story of Juarez's Murdered Women
Editor&Publisher: Why El Paso Reporter Risked Her Life on a Mass Murder Story
By Barbara Bedway
Published: August 10, 2006

(Leonel Monroy, Jr.)
Diana Washington Valdez in front of wooden crosses that were placed in memory of eight women that were found dead in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, in November 2001. The site is a vacant lot located at the corner of Paseo de la Victoria and Ejercito Nacional in Juarez, Chihuahua. Photo taken Aug. 1, 2004.

NEW YORK By 1999, when the El Paso (Texas) Times' Diana Washington Valdez began reporting on a string of murders of young women across the border in Juarez, Mexico, the killings had been going on for six years. But the level of U.S. media frenzy generated when a young blonde woman goes missing somewhere was notably absent in Juarez, even as the number of victims -- most of them poor, attractive girls attending school or working at one of the city's many large assembly plants -- steadily grew into the hundreds.

Many of the women were raped and mutilated prior to their deaths, their bodies dumped in ditches or vacant lots in the desert. State law enforcement authorities responsible for investigating the crimes (at least 90 women were raped and killed in similar ways) consistently failed to preserve crime scenes, collect evidence, or interview witnesses. Valdez, a bilingual reporter with plenty of experience investigating corruption on the U.S. side of the border, says, "Even I had no idea how bad it was, and how high up the corruption was occurring."

Valdez, who now covers health and environmental issues, can no longer report from Juarez "because of the serious threats against me."...Her updated, English-language book based on her coverage, "Harvest of Women: A Mexican Safari," is due out this month (a Spanish edition, "Cosecha de Mujeres," came out in 2005). There's a new documentary film about her probe. Also in production are two Hollywood movies partly based on the killings, with Jennifer Lopez starring in one and Minnie Driver in the other. An HBO film and numerous plays and books are also planned.

Valdez says of the new edition of her book, "I have more of a conclusion and recommendations that I didn't have earlier. The idea in the first book was to get out information quickly and save lives. I make a case (in the new edition) why this issue needs to be taken out of Mexican hands and turned over to an international tribunal to investigate several Mexican presidents and governors, who ruled during the crime spree, for negligence. I challenge the Mexican authorities, because the same pattern of brutal murders began spreading to other places in Mexico in 1999 and 2000, places where drug cartels have a dominant presence," she adds. "This has to be investigated."...
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Der Blaue Engel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-10-06 06:39 PM
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1. This whole story makes me so sick and angry I can't even write a coherent

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