Fomer Mayor Behind Bars
“Justice is not a desire; it is a right. That is the reason why I will keep fighting. I appreciate the journalists’ and society’s support. I am respectful of the legal processes and timing, but I celebrate the work of the State Attorney General’s office, and I also trust the institutions. We are all the society.” Karla Silva
By Jesús Aguado
The mastermind of the aggression against the reporter from Silao, Karla Silva, is behind bars.
Silva is a 24-year-old journalist, a correspondent for El Heraldo de León in Silao. In an interview granted to this paper, she said that on September 4, 2014, she was brutally attacked by three people. The then Silao mayor, Benjamín Solís Arzola directed the former director of Public Security in that city, Nicasio Aguirre (a fugitive from justice), and the former coordinator of the local police, Alejandro Fonseca (in custody), to arrange the assault.
“While they were beating me, they said: Bájale de huevos a tus notas o te va a cargar la chingada (stop writing tough articles or you’re going to be dead,” Silva remembered.
Solis Arzola concluded his three-year-period as mayor on October 9 this year. After the crime, Silva’s duties to cover events pertaining to safety or public life related to the government were reduced. A few days later, the perpetrators were arrested, but they were released because they pled guilty and requested a trial under the regulations of the new criminal system. The perpetrators pointed to the former director of Public Safety in Silao as well as the former mayor as masterminds of the crime.
Finally, on Wednesday, March 9 of this year, the State General Attorney’s office issued an arrest warrant for Benjamín Solís Arzola, executed on the evening of Friday, March 11. On Sunday, March 13, after a 14-hour-hearing, Judge Gloria Esther Hernández linked Solis Arzola to the process and also ordered a two-month preventive detention until the fact is proven.
Karla Silva will grant an interview to Atención within the next hours. On her Facebook page, she posted “Justice is not a desire; it is a right. That is the reason why I will keep fighting. I appreciate the journalists’ and society’s support. I am respectful of the legal processes and timing, but I celebrate the work of the State Attorney General’s office, and I also trust the institutions. We are all the society.”
Inteview granted to Atención in July
Question: How was the conflict resolved?
Karla Silva: It has not been resolved. The penal process is still in progress.
Q: In your opinion, was the authority’s response correct?
KS: The state authority’s response was regular because they did have enough material for investigation, and the mayor of Silao has not been punished. The Attorney General’s Office (PGR) has not paid attention to it, even if they have enough evidence to conduct an investigation and a trial.
Q: After the repression, were you afraid to work in the media again?
KS: Fear, no; uncertainty, of course, because if those responsible are not punished, my life is at risk as well as that of my loved ones.
Q: How have you overcome what happened to you?
KS: It is an experience difficult to overcome because the emotional damage is irreversible. I have not had enough time to assimilate what happened because the legal process is still in progress, and it will take time to be concluded.
Q: Currently, how is your relationship with the local authorities? Have they respected your right of access to public information and your right of expression?
KS: The relation is complicated. They deny me access to information, which represents information blocking. Access to information is not just mine, but that of the citizens.
Q: How does the situation you experienced impact the country with regard to respecting the journalist’s work?
KS: If those responsible do not receive proper punishment, then that will represent an easy opportunity for white-collar criminals to attempt to move against the consciences of citizens, and the journalists will be afraid to inform.
Q: What is your opinion of the case in San Miguel de Allende?
KS: The repression of the right of expression is happening across the country, and most of the time those responsible are the mayors. It is lamentable that this case occurred in a city with such international fame because it is a city visited by thousands of foreigners and, just for that reason, authorities must have an open mind to public scrutiny. A “letter of apology” does not repair the damages nor guarantee a punishment to those responsible. A judicial punishment could guarantee that such incidents will not happen again.