Yesterday, Reporters Without Borders published an interview it obtained with Mexican journalist Emilio Gutiérrez Soto of the newspaper El Diario del Noroeste after his release on January 29th, 2009 from the detention centre in the Texan border city of El Paso where he was held for seven months. Gutiérrez fled across the border with his teenage son seeking asylum on June 15th, 2008.
In this interview, Gutiérrez describes his hasty departure after being threatened by military personnel in the northern state of Chihuahua where he lived and worked. He also recounts the circumstances of his arrest by the US immigration authorities and the conditions in which he was held in El Paso.
"I would have been a murder statistic if I hadn't fled to the United States," Gutiérrez said. In fact, one of his fellow journalists working for the same newspaper, Armando Rodríguez Carreón, was murdered in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez last November during a period of extreme violence.
It’s more than unfortunate that Gutiérrez's experience typifies the terrible situation that Mexican journalists experiencing on either side of the US border. Hopefully an increased awareness of the situation can be part of an effort by both US and Mexican federal authorities to make the border region safe.