Katherine Corcoran's Book Examines the Killing of Mexican Journalist Regina Martinez

Historians in the News
tags: journalism, press freedom, Mexican history

n 2011, corrupt Mexican police and cartel members murdered Javier Sicilia's son and six others. In the aftermath, Sicilia — a journalist for Proceso magazine — published an open letter headlined "Estamos Hasta la Madre" (We've had it up to here), launched a peace initiative and demanded government reform.

A year later, Regina Martinez, another Proceso journalist, was beaten and strangled in her apartment.

Since 2000, 150 Mexican journalists have been killed, according to Reporters Without Borders. Hundreds of thousands of Mexican women and students disappeared during this time of intense turmoil in Mexico. This year, on the 11th anniversary of his son's murder, Sicilia lamented the lack of reform, writing that "there's nothing left to say."

But Katherine Corcoran has plenty to say, in her epic new book In the Mouth of the Wolf, a deeply reported and riveting account of Regina Martinez's murder.

To some, what Corcoran has uncovered shows how broken Mexican society is. But paradoxically, her reporting also reveals the best of Mexico — the courage and integrity of Mexican journalists, the resilience of citizens determined to find justice where the rule of law is itself hostage, and the love of family and country that unifies the Mexican people.

Martinez, who was born in 1963, was a veteran journalist and crime reporter for Proceso, known for investigative journalism and its focus on politics and social issues. Direct, unflinching, outspoken — these are the traits that led to Martinez's murder for reporting on government corruption, human rights abuses, and the relationships between government and organized crime in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

The Veracruz government quickly claimed to resolve the murder with the arrest of a suspect, but the accused said his confession was coerced. Martinez's colleagues were deeply skeptical of the government's handling of the case — which discounted her reporting as a motive for her murder and included testimony from dead eyewitnesses — and conducted an independent investigation.

Corcoran, a former Mexico City bureau chief for The Associated Press, traveled throughout Mexico while researching In the Mouth of the Wolf. She met with reporters that Martinez had mentored and followed various leads at great personal risk to identify Martinez's killer.

Read entire article at NPR