by Luis Fernando Cárdenas
August 17, 2011
Guernica: Journalists in Mexico live in constant danger. A photojournalist from the newspaper El Diario was recently murdered in Juárez. The newspaper responded by printing an op-ed piece addressed to the cartels titled, “What do you want from us?” Can you speculate who is responsible for these attacks against the media and why?
Noam Chomsky: While I was in Mexico this year and the year before, I met with journalists and editors from La Jornada, who I think are extremely good. They gave me off the record information that they had dug up about the drug cartels and about the U.S. tolerance of them, but they said they couldn’t publish it because that’s a death sentence. The cartels have the power to kill anyone they want, so the media are intimidated. It’s obvious why the criminal gangs don’t want it published. I think El Diario knows exactly what the cartels want; they didn’t need the editorial. [The cartels] want [newspapers] to stop publishing information about them. They still do publish some. La Jornada had an article reporting the inquiries of a professor at one of the universities, a specialist on drugs, who works for the United Nations’s drug enforcement agency, and it was quite an interesting article. It goes further into why you can’t report [on the cartels]; he said that about 80% of the businesses in Mexico are involved in one manner or another with the drug racket. Now once you start publishing things like that and looking into it, you’re getting to the power centers of Mexican society, and they’re simply not going to want to be exposed. If they can use the drug assassins to stop it, they will.