Ana Lilia Pérez

Foto: Simone Ahrend, sah-photo

The writer and journalist Ana Lilia Pérez was born in Mexico City in 1976. She studied history, journalism, financial journalism and communication studies, before she began to work as a journalist. Soon she became one of the most distinguished reporters in Mexico. Since 2003, she has been working for the largest political magazines in Mexico, Contralínea and Fortuna, as well as for a great number of leading international media. She was recognized for her sensational, meticulous and courageously researched reports in the largest Mexican publications such as La Jornada, El Financiero, or Milento and many other international magazines. Her special subject is the corruption in her country and she addresses issues such as money laundering, human trafficking, organized crime and especially the appalling entanglement of politicians and businessmen with the mafia. Ana Lilia Pérez published several books on what really happened to her during her research. In 2010, she published Camisas Azules, Manos Negras (Blue Shirts, Black Hands, Random House) and in 2011 El Cártel Negro: Cómo el crimen organizado se ha apoderado de Pemex (Random House) in which she documents her research into the illegal deals of the mineral oil company Petróleos Méxicanos (Pemex) and sets out to prove, on a grand scale, the connections of highly placed state officials of the Mexican government to the mafia. Her adventurous, brave and often life-endangering research has led to multiple unsubstantiated arrests, persecution, warnings of court convictions and death threats. Despite her precarious situation, she remains a fighter and insists without compromise on her right to freedom of expression. She has received numerous prizes for her work, among them the “Preis für die Freiheit und Zukunft der Medien” of the Leipzig Media Foundation in 2012. In June 2013, she was honored by the Mexican Writers’ Association with a medal for defending freedom. From July 2013 to June 2014, she received a grant from the German PEN Writers in Exile Program and then returned to Mexico to continue her work there. Her book Mares de cocaína. Las rutas náuticas del narcotráfico (Oceans of Cocain. The Nautical Routes of the Drug Trade) was published in 2014, two years later it was translated into German (Kokainmeere. Die Wege des weltweiten Drogenhandels)