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Honores para los que vivían con honor

They were editors. Read this again: they were editors. And doing their job got them killed. They were Raúl Gibb Guerrero, Dolores Guadalupe García Escamilla, and Alfredo Jiménez Mota. They worked at La Opinión, Stereo 91, and El Imparcial, respectively, and were all covering events in México.

World Press, one of the world's best and least biased sources for international news, has named Gibb Guerrero, García Escamilla, and Jiménez Mota International Editors of the Year for 2005. The World Press press release states,

"Their courage, tenacity, and dedication in covering sensitive subjects, especially drug trafficking, caused them to live in a danger zone of threats and violence, which ultimately led to their murders. They led three very separate lives, but had the love of their country and journalistic integrity in common.

"By naming Gibb Guerrero, García Escamilla and Jiménez Mota Worldpress.org's 2005 International Editors of the Year, we hope to highlight the dangers Mexican journalists currently face as well as the ongoing self-censorship policy enacted by Mexican news outlets in order to protect their reporters and editors. The three courageous journalists paid the ultimate price for their integrity and as Worldpress.org honors their sacrifice the world should never forget their incredible courage."

Read more about each of these journalists here.


Why does this award matter? Apart from recognizing human courage, intelligence, and dignity, it also highlights what life is like for thousands and thousands of people in México. Under Fox's leadership, all crime increased, including the crime level among narcotraficantes and violence from narcotraficantes toward anyone and everyone who even comes close to getting in their way. These people's lives and deaths bring home both the importance and meaning of "economy."

The vast majority of Mexicans have either a very difficult or an impossible time of making a living. Bottom line: crime pays. An economy that stimulates employment for people of all ages and makes significant strides toward wages that increase over one's tenure in one's profession is what it will take to curb the violence caused by drug traffic in México, not more police, and certainly not a wall between the U.S. and México. Immigration is not the primary issue. The economy trumps immigration, legal or otherwise. What is needed now is for our two countries to develop multifaceted, resource-packed strategies for improving México's economy. This would solve serious problems that affect us all. And, it would save lives.

Poverty breeds danger. Extreme poverty breeds extreme danger, danger these editors faced willingly every day. They were soldiers without shields. Yet even in the face of danger, the "word" lives inside the "s-word," and not even this enforced nearness to the edge of the blade can make the word--or the truth--disappear, thanks to brave souls and journalists like these.

Raúl, Dolores Guadalupe, y Alfredo: que descansen en paz, y en la gloria que se merecen, la misma que ganaron con su valor.

Commentary text, copyright 2006, Ysabel de la Rosa.

For more information on World Press, see http://www.worldpress.org
Their headline subscription service is free.

México currently ranks as the world's most dangerous country for journalists. For more information on México and on the situation of journalists worldwide, see the
Comittee to Protect Journalists.

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