12 April 1963|
Mexico City, Mexico
|Organization||Red Internacional de Periodistas con Visión de Género|
Ginetta Sagan Award (2007)|
UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize (2008)
Olof Palme Prize (2011)
Lydia Cacho Ribeiro (born Mexico City, 12 April 1963) is a Mexican journalist, feminist, and human rights activist. Described by Amnesty International as "perhaps Mexico’s most famous investigative journalist and women’s rights advocate", Cacho's reporting focuses on violence against and sexual abuse of women and children.
In 2004, her book Los Demonios del Edén created a nationwide scandal by alleging that several prominent businessmen had conspired to protect a pedophilia ring. In 2006, a tape emerged of a conversation between businessman Kamel Nacif Borge and Mario Plutarco Marín Torres, governor of Puebla, in which they conspired to have Cacho beaten and raped for her reporting.
Cacho is the winner of numerous international awards for her journalism, including the Civil Courage Prize, the Wallenberg Medal, and the Olof Palme Prize. In 2010, she was named a World Press Freedom Hero of the International Press Institute.
Lydia Cacho Ribeiro was born to a mother of French origin who moved from France to Mexico during World War II. Cacho attributed her refusal to compromise to her mother, who was shocked by what she called Mexicans' willingness to "negotiate their dignity in exchange for apparent freedom". Her mother also taught her social awareness by taking Cacho along for grassroots community projects into poor neighborhoods.
Cacho lived briefly in Paris as a young woman, studying at the University of Sorbonne and working as a maid. At age 23, she nearly died from kidney failure. After her recovery, she began working for Cancún newspapers, writing arts and entertainment stories. However, guided by her mother's feminism, Cacho soon began writing about violence against women.
Shortly after this, in 1999, she was assaulted and raped by a man in a bus station bathroom who broke several of her bones. Cacho believes that the attack was a retaliation for her investigations. She continued her investigations, however, and the following year founded a shelter for battered women.
Los Demonios del Edén
In 2003, Cacho wrote articles on the sexual abuse of minors for the newspaper Por Esto including a note on a girl abused by a local hotel owner, Jean Succar Kuri. Feeling that the local police had failed to act on the girl's complaint, the following year, Cacho published the book Los Demonios del Edén ("Demons of Eden") in which she accuses Kuri of being involved in a ring of child pornography and prostitution, based on official statements from his alleged victims and even a video of him (filmed with hidden camera). The book also mentions important politicians Emilio Gamboa Patrón and Miguel Ángel Yunes as involved, and accuses Kamel Nacif Borge, a Puebla businessman, of protecting Succar Kuri.
After the book's release, Cacho was arrested in Cancún by Puebla police and driven back to Puebla, 900 miles away. Cacho has stated that the arresting officers verbally abused her and hinted there was a plan to rape her. She was then imprisoned for a short time on defamation charges before being released on bail.
On 14 February 2006, several telephone conversations between Nacif Borge and Mario Marín, governor of the state of Puebla, were revealed by the Mexico City daily La Jornada, creating a media frenzy. In these conversations, before Cacho's arrest, Marín and Nacif Borge discussed putting Cacho in jail as a favour, and having her beaten and abused while in jail to silence her. The recording sparked widespread calls for Marín to be impeached.
Cacho took the case of her arrest to the Supreme Court, becoming the first woman in Mexico's history to testify there. On 29 November 2007, the Court ruled 6 to 4 that Marín had no case to answer in Cacho's arrest, jailing and harassment, a case that the New York Times described as "a setback for journalistic freedom in Mexico".
The United Nations Human Rights Council advised her to leave the country, recommended that she seek political asylum in another country, and offered her legal assistance and assistance in gaining access to international courts. While being held, Cacho was granted the Premio Francisco Ojeda al Valor Periodístico (Francisco Ojeda Award for Journalistic Courage).
In May 2008, a few days before she was scheduled to testify at Kuri's trial, Cacho was almost killed when the lugnuts on one of her car's wheels were loosened.
Awards and honors
In 2007, Lydia Cacho received the Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award for Women and Children's Rights, the IWMF (International Women's Media Foundation) Courage in Journalism Award, and the Oxfam Novib/PEN Award. The following year, she received the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
In 2009, Cacho was awarded the Wallenberg Medal from the University of Michigan for her work to bring to public attention the corruption that shields criminals who exploit women and children. Cacho was recipient of the PEN/Pinter Prize as an International Writer of Courage in 2010, which goes to writers persecuted for their beliefs. She was also named a World Press Freedom Hero of the International Press Institute.
A year later, Cacho received The International Hrant Dink Award, presented to people who work for a world free of discrimination, racism and violence, take personal risks for their ideals, use the language of peace and by doing so, inspire and encourage others. She also won the Civil Courage Prize of The Train Foundation, which she shared with Triveni Acharya for efforts against "sex trafficking, domestic violence and child pornography", and the Olof Palme Prize together with Roberto Saviano.
- Los Demonios del Edén (2005) Paperback: 224 p. Grijalbo Mondadori, ISBN 968-5957-58-4. México.
- Esclavas del poder (2011) Paperback: 320 p. Grijalbo, ISBN 978-0307882493; translated into English as Slavery Inc.: The Untold Story of International Sex Trafficking (2014) Paperback: 256 p. Soft Skull Press, ISBN 978-1619022966.
- "Lydia Cacho, Mexico". International Women's Media Foundation. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- Monica Campbell (9 September 2008). "Battling the Demons of Eden". Amnesty International. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- James C. McKinley, Jr. (30 November 2007). "Mexican Court Finds No Violation of Rights in Jailing of Journalist". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- Cameron Scott (1 May 2007). "Mexico's Most Wanted Journalist". Mother Jones. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "A bote pronto: Lydia Cacho, periodista", Life & Style, November 2006, #27
- Blanche Petrich (14 February 2006). "Mi gober, tú eres el héroe: Kamel Nacif a Mario Marín". La Jornada (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- Lilia Saúl Rodríguez (14 February 2006). "Exige PRD renuncia a gobernador por caso Lidia Cacho". El Universal (in French). Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "Revela Lydia Cacho: La ONU le recomendó abandonar el país". Proceso (in Spanish). 16 February 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- Emir Olivares Alonso (14 February 2006). "Premio al valor periodístico para Lydia Cacho". La Jornada (in Spanish). Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "2008 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize awarded to Mexican reporter Lydia Cacho Ribeiro". UNESCO. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "Ginetta Sagan Award Winners". Amnesty International. 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "Fatou Jaw Manneh Amongst Four Writers Honoured By Oxfam Novib/PEN". FOROYAA Newspaper. 20 February 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- "Lydia Cacho". University of Michigan. 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho receives PEN prize". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 16 September 2010.
- "World Press Freedom Heroes: Symbols of courage in global journalism". International Press Institute. 2012. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
- Yonca Poyraz Doğan (16 September 2011). "Taraf's Altan, Mexican journalist Cacho receive Dink award". Zaman. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "The International Hrant Dink Award 2011". fundsforngos.org. 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2012.
- "2011 Civil Courage Prize Honoree". civilcourageprize.org. October 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "2011 - Lydia Cacho och Roberto Saviano". Olof Palmes minnesfond. 23 January 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
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