By Henry Romero
The security fence surrounding the hotel in the upscale neighborhood of Polanco, Mexico, where Justin Bieber was scheduled to give a news conference, was impressive. It was far away from the main entrance of the hotel – far enough away to make sure that the throngs of frenzied girls would not be able to trample their object of lust to death. Girls still dressed in their school uniform endured the sun for hours, screaming or singing his songs together, without knowing each other but bonding through their love for him.
When we, the photographers and journalists, were walking past to get into position for the news conference, the girls begged to come along with us “Sir, let me carry your equipment; don’t you need an assistant?; Pleeeease, I love him sooo much, please, take me with you…….” while they hugged the fence and held pictures of Justin pressed to their hearts.
The first version of the killings came from Mexico City media. “Massacre in Tamaulipas State,” said the news anchorman. Seventy-two corpses had been discovered on a ranch in San Fernando municipality, all showing signs of a mass execution.
News of executions, macabre assassinations and kidnappings are commonplace in northern Mexico, but this headline was not. With journalists’ reflexes we began to plan a trip to what suddenly became the bloodiest theater in the drug war. In the past two months a candidate for governor was gunned down, two mayors assassinated, grenades exploded on city streets and the cousin of a media mogul kidnapped. In one weekend 51 people had been murdered in infamous Ciudad Juarez.
CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico (Reuters) – Mexican troops fanned out in the remote countryside near the Texas border on Thursday as they hunted the perpetrators of the worst massacre in the country’s escalating drug war.
Heavily armed patrols in armored personnel carriers, trucks and jeeps swept though towns and cities in the border region while helicopters buzzed overhead a day after the bodies of 72 people were found in an empty building at a remote ranch.
News coverage is a daily activity for me, and however I get involved in a story it’s not just a job; it’s also what I enjoy doing. Sometimes I’m just an observer behind a camera, but other times I also end up being affected personally. When the new H1N1 flu virus broke out in Mexico there was an additional factor for me; it was impossible not to suffer the first days of the epidemic as the head of a family.
I thought of the photos that I wanted to take, but I couldn’t help thinking of my daughter, my wife and my mother. As Colombians living in Mexico City we were all exposed to the unknown virus. Fear and uncertainty dominated my family, friends and the millions of people with whom I share the streets of this metropolis.