LYDIA CACHO – Journalist and Human Rights Activist

Ms. Lydia Cacho, a prominent journalist and human rights activist, has received numerous death threats over the past several years. There was also an attempt on her life in February 2006 that has been attributed to her publication Los Demonios del Eden, which documents allegations that powerful businessmen have been involved in child prostitution and trafficking. She is president of the organization Centro Integral de Atención a las Mujeres (CIAM), a women’s assistance centre which provides shelter and assistance to women and girls. She recieved the 2007 Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award for Women and Children’s Rights.

On 9 February 2005, Lydia Cacho received two death threats from a former agent of the Agencia Federal de Investigación (AFI) demanding that she hand over his wife and chlidren, who were taking refuge at a CIAM shelter. Upon reporting the incident to the Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), she was told that the former agent was “well protected by his bosses.”

In January 2005, Lydia Cacho received two threatening calls from a man known to be connected with organized crime. He had previously threatened Lydia Cacho and other CIAM staff members with a gun in November 2004. Cancun police reportedly obtained a list of individuals targeted by organized crime, which included Cacho’s name.

From 25 April to 1 July 2005, Lydia Cacho recieved at least 42 threatening phone calls at the CIAM office in Cancun, Quithata Roo from a former police officer of the Policía Judicial del Estad in Coahuila state, whose wife and children were also being sheltered by CIAM. The man visited a women’s shelter in Saltillo, Coahuilla state on 10 March 2005 where he harassed the manager there. Although this former police officer was under investigation by the Agentes Federales de Investigación for alleged links with organized crime, judges refused to make any investigations with regard to his threats and refused to issue an arrest warrant.

Following pressure from national and international organizations, Lydia Cacho did finally receive protection from three AFI agents starting in late 2005.

In December 2005, Rubeiro was arrested in Cancun and taken to Puebla City to face defamation charges filed by a businessman based on her publication of Los Demonios del Eden. During the drive to Puebula City, the police officers implied that she might suffer ill-treatment, sexual assault, and “disappearance”. Upon arrival, she was detained for several hours before being released on bail.

On 14 February 2006, audiotapes leaked to the media reportedly contained telephone conversations between senior government officials in Puebla, including the governor and a leading businessman, where the Governor agreed to organize this arrest of Lydia Cacho.

On 7 May 2006, while Lydia Cacho was being driven in a PGR vehicle by one of the AFI agents protecting her. After the car began shaking violent, the agent stopped and inspected the vehicle. It was found that the wheel bolts had been sabotaged in an apparent attempt to cause a fatal accident.

The charges against Lydia Cacho were finally dropped in February 2007 and The National Supreme Court is investigating the involvement of government officials in the planning of the arrest.


Letter by Monique Pongracic-Speier sent on July 22, 2005 and May 23, 2007.