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5 links from the past week
- Reporters from several outlets around the world, calling themselves “The Cartel Project,” published an investigation into the 2012 murder of Veracruz, Mexico journalist Regina Martínez, which they portray as the template that organized crime-tied politicians have since used to silence the press. They aim to finish the work Martínez was doing—investigating the corrupt links between Veracruz’s state governors and organized crime—when assassins killed her in her home. Stories appear concurrently in The Washington Post, The Guardian, Spain’s El País, Mexico’s Proceso, and OCCRP.
- An unsealed whistleblower complaint from a border wall construction site in California has some remarkable allegations, summarized by The New York Times’ Zolan Kanno-Youngs. Among them, contractors brought Mexican citizens illegally onto their work site, on the U.S. side of the border, to work as armed guards. CBP records meanwhile show that between October 2019 and March 2020, migrants breached the border wall in California and Arizona more than 320 times.
- Two new Colombian online investigative outlets, Vorágine and La Liga Contra el Silencio, collaborated to tell the story of Juana Perea, a Bogotá-raised beachfront hotel owner and defiant activist in the town of Nuquí, Chocó. In October, Perea became one of many social leaders murdered in northwest Colombia by the Gulf Clan neo-paramilitary group. Pair this with Verdad Abierta’s thoroughly reported and vividly photographed story about William Castillo, a social leader in Antioquia’s Bajo Cauca region whom Gulf Clan hitmen murdered in 2016.
- “Since 2007, the U.S. government has relied on a small coterie of Mexican officials to implement the Mérida Initiative,” begins an account presenting a trove of U.S. documents that the National Security Archive obtained via a FOIA request. It’s hard not to cringe reading U.S. officials’ words of praise for Mexican counterparts who now face criminal charges for links to organized crime.
- Honduras’s ContraCorriente finds that, after years of corruption undermining public-private infrastructure projects, the public almost completely distrusts the government’s announced bipartisan rebuilding effort following hurricanes Eta and Iota.