Four years ago, on July 31, 2015, five lives were taken in a Mexico City apartment. They were Nadia Vera Pérez, Yesenia Quiroz Alfaro, Mile Virginia Martín, Olivia Alejandra Negrete Avilés, and Rubén Espinosa Becerril. Their torture and execution-style killings received international attention, in particular because Nadia Vera, a social justice organizer and human rights defender, and Rubén Espinosa, a photojournalist, had fled to Mexico City from Veracruz following attacks and death threats due to their work. Before her murder, Nadia stated that should anything happen to her, it would be Javier Duarte who was responsible. Duarte was then governor of Veracruz and is now serving a nine-year sentence for corruption after he fled the country and was extradited from Guatemala. During his rule, widespread human rights abuses were the norm, including the assassination of journalists and political opponents.
While a few people have been detained for the murders, the state’s investigation has been egregiously irregular, incompetent, and disrespectful to the victims and their families. Over the course of four years, it has offered a variety of narratives – from a robbery gone bad to a cartel settling of accounts – yet, unsurprisingly, has assiduously avoided investigating the most likely scenario, that it was an extrajudicial assassination ordered and organized by state actors.
By Mirtha Luz Pérez Robledo
FromSomos El Medio
July 28, 2016
Translated by Scott Campbell
On July 31, 2015, Nadia Vera Pérez, Yesenia Quiroz Alfaro, Mile Virginia Martin, Alejandra Negrete Avilés, and Rubén Espinosa Becerril were murdered in a Mexico City apartment. Nadia, a social justice activist and human rights defender, and Rubén, a photographer and journalist, had both fled Veracruz after receiving death threats for their work. Before her murder, Nadia stated that if anything should happen to her, it would be Javier Duarte who was responsible. Duarte is the governor of Veracruz, renowned for his corruption and human rights abuses, including the deaths of 17 journalists during his rule. The state’s investigation into the murders has been condemned as full of irregularities. Nadia’s mother, Mirtha Luz Pérez Robledo, wrote this on the eve of the one year anniversary of her daughter’s murder.
In self-defense, in defense of memory
When they wrest what we love most from us, the possibility of justice no longer exists.
When the word justice loses meaning, all that remains for us is the defense of Memory, of self-defense.
Translator’s note: On April 1, Gustavo Castro was permitted by the Honduran government to leave the country and is now back in Mexico.
March 29, 2016
Translated by Scott Campbell
Relatives of Berta Cáceres report that the Attorney General is protecting the murderers. There are economic ties between the coordinator of the prosecution and DESA’s lawyers [the company behind the Agua Zarca dam]. They claim that the Honduran State knew of the plan to murder indigenous leader Berta Cáceres.
President of the Republic, Juan Orlando Hernández,
Attorney General of the Republic, Oscar Chinchilla,
The relatives of Berta Cáceres, the COPINH [Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras], the Platform of Social and Popular Movements of Honduras (PMSPH) and the Popular Coordination Berta Cáceres, for the ears of Honduran society and the international community, we are writing you to express and demand the following: