MEXICO: Journalist and writer Héctor de Mauleón threatened for investigative reports

Rapid Action Network: 23 June 2016RAN 13/16

PEN International and PEN Mexico are seriously concerned by the threats received by award-winning journalist and author Héctor de Mauleón for a series of investigative reports he published in El Universal on alleged dealing in drugs and weapons by a group called the Asamblea de Barrios (Assembly of Neighbourhoods’) in Mexico City. The threats, sent via social media, began after De Mauleón’s first piece appeared in May 2016 and have increased since his third column was published in early June, in particular since 22 June when a raid was carried out by the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office. PEN calls on the local and federal authorities to ensure De Mauleón’s safety and to investigate the threats against him as a matter of urgency. It urges the authorities to guarantee the protection of all journalists under attack in Mexico for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

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Please send appeals calling on the local and federal authorities in Mexico to:

  • Investigate the threats against Mexican journalist Héctor de Mauleón and punish those responsible;
  • Ensure the safety of De Mauleón and other Mexican journalists so they can carry out their work without censorship or fear;
  • End the harassment of Mexican journalists for their work, and provide them and all Mexican citizens with the protection they need in order to safeguard their right to freedom of expression.


Mexico City Attorney General’s Office
(Procuraduría General de Justicia del DF)
Lic. Fernando Ríos de la Garza
Procurador General de Justicia del DF
Gral. Gabriel Hernández #56, Col. Doctores, delegación Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06720, Mexico City
Email: rodolfo.rios [at] pgjdf.gob [dot] mx

Mexico City Government
Miguel Ángel Mancera
Jefe de Gobierno de la Ciudad de México
Plaza de la Constitución S/N Primer Piso, Centro, Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06010
Email: jefaturadegobierno [at] df.gob [dot] mx

Ministry of the Interior (Secretaría de Gobernación)
Roberto Campa Ciprián
Subsecretario de Derechos Humanos de la Secretaría de Gobernación
Abraham González No. 48, Col. Juárez, Del. Cuauhtémoc, Ciudad de México. C.P. 06600
Correo electrónico: campa1_2000 [at] [dot] mx
Twitter: @osoriochong

Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression (Fiscalía Especial de Atención a Delitos en contra de la Libertad de Expresión – FEADLE)
Lic. Ricardo Nájera
Correo electrónico: ricardo.najera [at] pgr.gob [dot] mx


#Mexico: @PEN_int and @PENMexico condemn threats against journalist and writer @hdemauleon {insert RAN link}

Please send a copy of your appeals to your nearest Mexican diplomatic representative.


PEN members are encouraged to:

  • Publish articles and opinion pieces in your national or local press highlighting the case of Héctor de Mauleón in Mexico
  • Share information about Héctor de Mauleón and your campaigning activities via social media


Messages of solidarity can be sent to Héctor de Mauleón at @hdemauleon


Born in Mexico City in 1963, Héctor de Mauleón is one of the most important writers and journalists in Mexico. He is the author of the short story collections La perfecta espiral [The Perfect Spiral] and Como nada en el mundo [Like Nothing in the World], the novel El secreto de la Noche Triste [The Secret of the Sad Night] and three works of nonfiction: El tiempo repentino [Sudden Time], Marca de sangre [Mark of Blood], Los años de la delincuencia organizada [The Years of Organized Crime] and El derrumbe de los ídolos [Fallen Idols] (see here for details). He is deputy director of the magazine Nexos, a columnist for the newspaper El Universal and presenter of the programme Focus dedicated to Mexico City.

On Tuesday 21 June 2016, De Mauleón was sent threats via his Twitter account by the Asamblea de Barrios or ‘Assembly of Neighbourhoods’ (@BarriosAsamblea). The threats followed his publication of a series of investigative reports published in his column in El Universal (see below) where he stated that the Asamblea de Barrios was in possession of a property in Mexico City where weapons and drugs were allegedly sold, and indicated the presence of drug dealers in two of the city’s neighbourhoods. The Asamblea de Barrios is an organisation set up in 1987 in response to the government’s ineffectiveness following the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City.

De Mauleón, winner of PEN Mexico’s Award for Journalistic Excellence in 2011, had received threats via social media previously. The threats reportedly began after the publication on May 2016 of the first of his three columns on the issue, where he criticised the Asamblea de Barrios having taken over a building and drug dealing in a central district of Mexico City. However, the most recent threats came after the Mexico City Attorney General’s Office raided the building in question on 22 June.

The writer continues to receive threats from various Twitter accounts. For example, on 22 June he received the following Tweets from the Asamblea de Barrios’ account: Take care of yourself because now you know we’re all around Mexico City and there are thousands of us” (“ahora si cuídate por que sabes que estamos en todo el df y somos miles”) and “now I come alive when you leave your house” (“ahora si vivo cuando salgas de tu casa”).

The same day, the Ministry of the Interior in Mexico City tweeted its condemnation of the threats against De Mauleon.

Héctor de Mauleón’s columns, in order of publication:

18 May 2016: ‘.((strlen(‘’)>40) ? substr(‘’,0,40).’…’ : ‘’).’

19 May 2016: ‘.((strlen(‘’)>40) ? substr(‘’,0,40).’…’ : ‘’).’

6 June 2016: ‘.((strlen(‘’)>40) ? substr(‘’,0,40).’…’ : ‘’).’