Death of a Journalist, Notes from the Inside

Tiny - Posted on 11 July 2016

Jose H. Villarreal, Plantation Prison Correspondent

The recent death of the Mexicano Journalist Ruben Espinoza who was found dead in a Mexico City apartment along with four wimmin was a reminder of the many sacrifices that Journailist make. Delivering the truth is very threatening to those who oppress others. Apparently there is a lot of oppression in parts of Mexico at this time.

I have read PROCESO, the Spanish language Magazine which Espinoza worked for. It has a reputation for getting to the truth. PROCESO like its sister News Magazine, ZETA, are the rare gems in the battle for truth in Mexcio. Both of these publicatins have always spoke truth to power. They have always called out corrupt officials and translated what the power struggles throughout Mexico were REALLY about. The many deaths of their Journalists speak to the danger in this work.

Being a photo Journalist was how Espinoza gave back to the people. He knew that his work posed a threat to his own safety, but any Journalist will tell you that their ability to get truth out there is far more important than themselves. The Journalist is COMPELLED to deliver this truth, it is why Journalists around the world pick up the pen or the camera.  

What some say sealed Espinoza’s fate was when he published the photo that he took of Governor of Vera Cruz, Javier Duarte, which was published on the February 16, 2014 cover of PROCESO news Magazine along with the heading “VeraCruz Lawless state”. I would say that this may have tipped the scales against him but his career of Journalism seems to have led up to this.

All of the bodies showed signs of torture and the wimmin were all raped in this attack. Those who carried out this crime against the people attempted to send the message that truth will not be tolerated in the Mexican@ press. What they do not understand is that there will always be Journalism and this will not change. All their acts did was to create MORE Journalism surrounding the corruption in VeraCruz and other parts of Mexico. All their actions did was shine a larger light on the great Journalists like Espinoza and others who continue his work.

The current MexicanGovernmentis undable to provide security to its own people, this has been obvious for some time. It has been a year and they still have not provided Mexican@ families with real answers about the 43 of Ayotzinapa whose parents continue to search for the bodies of those children. As in any oppressive situation, the people will have to obtain justice from their own actions. Internationally we can also raise awareness and shine a bigger light on this Journalist Hunting in Mexico.

For the Chicano nation, those Mexican@ Journalists are our heroes and it is from them the living and the dead Journalists where we draw our strength as fellow Journalists. Here I am held in a control unit in U.$. borders and tortured in S.H.U and yet I too understand the importance of delivering truth. I have experienced retaliation for my writing as well, having my mail leaving the prison confiscated, censorship and denying my mail coming into me, not only being held in a windowless cell but then having no electricity in my cell for a month, having no water in my cell for days, verbal coercion, denying my access to cosmetics for months, raiding my cell at 5:00 am and being dragged out handcuffed in my underwear after a critical article of mine was published about this prison etc. I understand that my torture in large part continues BECAUSE I continue to speak truth about the oppression that all prisoners face in the prisons in Califas, in Aztlan and throughout U.$. borders but like the Mexican@ Journalists I know that it is my duty to continue no matter what and this I will do.

Journalists in prison also face grave threats, not just from the state directly, but also from the agents of the state who arrive in the form of bribed prisoners. It is quite easy to have those who fall for the state’s tactic of subverting the people’s unity and pitting us against each other. There are many who do not like for the boat to be rocked for many reasons. Some would say it’s easier and safer for their behavior if nobody spoke out about the state repression but I would disagree. Exposing the state and educating the people to me is far more important than anything that can be done to me or any other Journalist whether in prison or outside of prison. Raising public opinion amongst my fellow prisoners will always continue because people’s journalism is correct and what is correct will always prevail in the end. In the spirit of Ruben Espinoza boldly arouse the people!

Jose H. Villarreal


Pelican Bay State prison S.H.U.


Sign-up for POOR email!