Veracruz Journalist Asks for Asylum, Gives Urgent Plea for Help for Colleagues in Mexico

"In the battle for territory by organized crime in Mexico, the state of Veracruz has become one of the most violent and contested conflict zones. Local journalists, bearing witness to the brutal battle, are being systematically tortured and killed and the Veracruz and Mexican governments are doing nothing to protect them.  This was the urgent message on Tuesday in Austin, from former Veracruz reporter and photographer Miguel Angel Lopez Solana who made a plea for help for his colleagues in Veracruz at a forum focusing on journalism safety in Latin America, sponsored by the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and the Open Society Foundations.  “They aren’t just killing us journalists, they are drawing and quartering us…We are living in terror,” he told an audience packed with Latin American journalists and international nonprofit organizations.  Lopez Solana, 31, announced at the forum in Austin that he and his wife Vanessa will ask for political asylum in the United States because they fear for their lives in Mexico and feel that the government has failed in protecting journalists under threat. Lopez Solana and his wife will be represented by El Paso immigration attorney Carlos Spector, who has represented several Mexican reporters in asylum cases since the drug war started in Mexico in 2006." - Melissa del Bosque, May 23, 2012.