When Gildo Garza finally fled his home state of Tamaulipas in 2017 and arrived in Mexico City, he knew where to go first: the federal attorney general’s office. Even if the chances were slim, he had a sliver of hope investigators would find and prosecute the narcos and corrupt politicians who wanted him dead for his reporting. But as he described the threats and violence he faced, further anxiety filled Garza’s thoughts. He didn’t know how he could afford to care for his family in the Mexican capital. Most reporters in his home state are paid between $75 to $150 per month and he scraped by on multiple jobs, freelance work and consulting gigs.
“Have you been to see the Mechanism?” an attorney in the office asked him. Garza would soon fall into the safety net that is the Federal Protection Mechanism for Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, an agency formed in 2012 to address rising violence against activists and reporters. Today, approximately 1,500 human rights defenders and journalists are officially receiving support.
..Garza saw colleagues back home struggling to get protection in critical moments and started the Association for Displaced and Attacked Journalists to further advocate for them. CPJ’s Hootsen shares similar critiques of the agency.