LYDIA CACHO IS ALIVE TODAY. But tomorrow, Lydia Cacho could be killed. – Because Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho cracked her local Pedo Elite – a brotherhood of rich men who rape girl-children. Tomorrow Lydia Cacho could be killed because she is now pushing further yet – following the trail from her local Pedo Elite to top-level networks trafficking girls, the global suppliers – the Russian, Albanian, Italian, Japanese and Chinese mafias, the Latin American drug cartels, – the international Uber-Patriarchy itself, that is – owners and operators of the international recreational assault market, reaping billion dollar profits in what has increasingly become the global sex-trafficking of girl-children.
Men around the world want to recreationally assault girl-children. Men’s demand in the female assault market (ie, “prostitution/forced prostitution/sex-trafficking”) has pivoted from young women to girl-children. For example, from her investigative work, Lydia Cacho has learned the Russian Mafia has saturated the Internet with girl-child porn, “infomercials” in effect, to drive the demand for their product. As men’s global demand has shifted to girl-children, supply has had to keep pace. Girls ages 4-17 are now being enslaved by these multi-national rape-dealers to be continuously sold. The Uber-Patriarchy has found their girl-child enterprise far more lucrative than their other business ventures, because – unlike cocaine, a girl-child can be sold again and again.
As more younger and younger girls are brought into the global market, the total number of all females of all ages ensnared by these assault-suppliers is staggering: According to Lydia Cacho, the total number of females world-wide now enslaved for captive rape now exceeds the total number of Africans enslaved in the Americas over the entire duration of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
In the male rank system – Uber-Patriarchy, Alpha-Patriarchy, Beta-Patriarchy, – males of the highest rank, – international Uber-Patriarchy males, – are conferred impunity – freedom from scrutiny, freedom from accountability, freedom to commit crimes as they wish. Because Lydia Cacho is determined to tell the world their crimes, – tomorrow Lydia Cacho could be killed.
Powerful men have told her to stop or she will be raped and bludgeoned to death, – that her corpse will be hacked into pieces, – that those who love her won’t find those pieces. Hired goons constantly tail her. Already she has survived their torture. But none of these men and none of their goons have stopped Lydia Cacho. No they have not… In fact, every time they commit atrocities against her to make her stop her feminist work, Lydia Cacho undertakes even more courageous feminist work.
This is the story of how one woman cracked her local Pedo Elite. This is the story of Lydia Cacho. – A story which starts at the beginning.
A feminist gave birth to Lydia Cacho. Feminist Paulette Ribeiro Monteiro birthed six children, including daughter Lydia. Lydia Cacho’s mother founded a women’s development organization in Mexico City’s slums. Fighting for women’s rights and against poverty, she often brought Lydia along: “I can’t imagine my mother could have any idea just what effect seeing those little girls in the slums…would have on my soul,” Lydia Cacho said. “While she and her colleagues gave talks, I would attempt to play with my peers, only to discover with alarm how girls my age were physically unable to hold a pencil [due to malnutrition]… At that age, somewhere between 7 and 10, a child has no idea what to do with the strange feeling brewing inside her that some omnipotent force is lying to us and controlling our reality… I later learned patriarchy was (its) name…” When Lydia Cacho was12-years-old, the first World Conference on Women’s Rights, – the 1975 UN Conference for Women, – convened in Mexico City. There, the world’s feminists declared: ‘Women of the entire world, whatever differences exist between them, share the painful experience of receiving or having received unequal treatment, and that as their awareness of this phenomenon increases, they will become natural allies in the struggle against any form of oppression, such as is practiced under colonialism, neo-colonialism, Zionism, racial discrimination and apartheid, thereby constituting an enormous revolutionary potential…’
Lydia Cacho: “(Because) my mom was a feminist, I saw everything through that lens, that lens you can never take off… In a Mexico where nothing good comes to women who dare speak a word of protest, I learned to rebel.” At 16, Lydia Cacho led workshops on women’s rights. At 23, after nearly dying from the loss of a kidney, Lydia Cacho established herself in Cancun as a journalist for Mexico’s first major feminist magazine. Lydia Cacho and her mother founded a women’s rights organization in Cancun together, and organized women’s conferences there. Lydia Cacho landed an editorial column in Cancun’s newspaper, La Cronica, and used it to write on women’s issues. She founded an organization for feminist journalists, which grew from 12 to 600 members across the Spanish-speaking world. Soon Lydia Cacho was appearing before the United Nations General Assembly to report on the status of women in Mexico.
Amazingly, Lydia Cacho then launched a feminist radio-talk-show called These Women. “On the show, we called upon women to defend their rights,” Lydia Cacho explained. “These women spoke invariably about the violence they suffered as being an obstacle that limited their ability to work, to be free, to be happy. They spoke about their father’s sexual abuse, their husband’s rape, their boss’ sexual harassment…” Lydia Cacho’s feminist radio-talk-show was so popular it branched out into Lydia Cacho’s feminist newspaper, This Mouth is Mine. Lydia Cacho’s feminist newspaper was so popular it branched out into Lydia Cacho’s feminist TV show, also called This Mouth is Mine. “We were breaking down paradigms,” Lydia Cacho said. “Feminist programming on Televisa? Yes. A complete success.”
Battered women started to show up at the radio and television stations, asking Lydia Cacho for help. In 1990s Mexico, beating a woman was not a crime if her injuries healed within 15 days. Lydia Cacho organized these women to push for a law to make beating a woman a crime. [It took over 10 years, but in 2007, these women got their law: The General Law on the Right of Women to a Life Free from Violence now makes beating a woman in Mexico a crime]. The number of battered women showing up at the radio and television stations asking Lydia Cacho for help, however, only continued to grow. About the same time Lydia Cacho decided she would open a battered women’s shelter, her feminist television program, on a successful five-year run, was abruptly canceled. It was ‘obscene,’ she was told, to discuss birth control on TV. Still, Lydia Cacho continued as a feminist journalist both in print and on television.
This is when the first warning came. In 1999, coming back from a reporting trip in the south of Mexico, Lydia Cacho stopped at a truck stop to use the restroom. Lydia Cacho: “A slim but muscular blond man had apparently followed me into the restroom. When I came out of the stall to wash my hands, he sprang at me, immobilizing me. He then attacked me, raped me, and left me for dead. When I eventually dared to move again, I telephoned my mother.” The rapist had dislocated Lydia Cacho’s arm and hip. He had broken several of her bones and ribs during the rape. Lydia Cacho: “I was completely unable to explain to the doctor how I had managed, given my injuries, to stand up and walk out of the restroom under my own strength.” Lydia Cacho later will learn a Mexican Governor who two years later would be in US prison for ties to organized crime, had objected to her work and had ordered the rape.
For most women, – this, – understandably, – would be the end of the story. But for Lydia Cacho, it is just the beginning.
Once her arm was out of the sling, once her broken bones and ribs had healed, Lydia Cacho focused on opening a high-security women’s shelter for battered and trafficked women. After the right building was found and the work needed to open it underway, Lydia Cacho’s feminist partners in the project pulled out. They feared for their lives, they said, once they realized that, because this was Cancun, many of the women who had been asking for help were running from powerful dangerous men. Lydia Cacho’s mother told her not to give up, that the right women will come to help her make this happen. Lydia Cacho did not give up, and the right women did come.
The shelter was based on the battered women’s shelters feminists of the Second Wave had opened in the US, – but specially-enhanced for the corruption and lawlessness of Mexico. This was a super high-security refuge where women could stay three to six months. “(W)e had digital video cameras installed to record the perimeter of the center 24-hours-a-day, in order to capture evidence of any attacks or threats, as well as recording the faces of the aggressors themselves,” Lydia Cacho said. The surveillance video was sent off-site in case men set the building on fire or detonated a bomb. Lydia Cacho: “Following the first occasion on which death threats were received at the shelter (from an arms dealer with ties to government officials), we purchased a specialized telephone device to record such threats…” The shelter offered women free personal security, free legal help, and free counseling, with a focus on overcoming PTSD.
Lydia Cacho also began quietly investigating the men these women were running from, the men her former feminist partners had feared – mafiosos, drug lords, politicians, cops. Lydia Cacho’s man-investigations became part of the shelter’s strategy to stay one step ahead of the perps. “(W)e investigated every story of violence that the women we were protecting brought to us,” Lydia Cacho said. “Our team was now juggling 70 cases a month involving women whose lives were in danger, most of them due to human trafficking, forced prostitution and domestic violence.” Eventually the shelter would come to serve 30,000 women a year. Lydia Cacho took no salary as Director, man-investigator, and general shelter-worker.
Running a women’s shelter in Mexico is dangerous. There were only three other women’s shelters in Mexico at this time, – all under siege. Lydia Cacho: “We knew what was being done in Torreon, in Aguascalientes, and in Mexico City, places where shelters for victims of abuse had been opened but were struggling because armed husbands or pimps would simply show up at the shelters and threaten the teams’ lives. (These shelters) were essentially defenseless – abandoned by the state, mistrustful of corrupt local police, and threatened by a variety of aggressors.” For support, Lydia Cacho and the other first shelter founders joined to form a national shelter network.
Yet despite Lydia Cacho’s careful planning, shelter fortification, and shelter networking, her shelter came under attack. Lydia Cacho: “One morning a powerful local drug dealer who raped his children and battered his wife came to the crisis center. He had a shotgun and was accompanied by two other gunmen armed as if they were going to war. (He) yelled at us from the outside, ‘Bring my wife or bring Lydia Cacho. I will kill you both for defying me.’” The local police responded to the shelter’s urgent call for help, took one look at the military-style weapons these men had – and left. Lydia Cacho called their commander, who advised her to give the man his wife back. The man shot and hit the crisis center. Lydia Cacho got hold of Mexico’s Anti-Drug Czar, whose drug agents, just by showing up, sent the men packing. There was no investigation or arrests. This is Mexico, after all, where, according to Lydia Cacho, 9 out of 10 crimes aren’t investigated.
After this first attack on the shelter (more would follow), Lydia Cacho brought in judo instructors to teach staff how to knock a gun out of a man’s hand. Other measures were also taken: “A friend of mine who used to belong to a SWAT team reviewed our protocols and instructed me for two hours every night for four months, until I knew how to handle everything from kidnappings to death threats, from a group crisis, to how to attend to gunshot wounds,” Lydia Cacho said. “Everyone on the team knew the rules: We were to always travel in pairs, and we all had satellite radios that back then were only used by criminals or specialized police forces.” They also had the shelter doors armored, and the windows replaced with bullet-proof glass.
In late 2003, a 19-year-old from Cancun, “Emma,” made headlines by accusing Cancun businessman Succar Kuri of operating a child rape and child porn ring. Emma told authorities she had been victimized by Succar Kuri since age 13, her cousin since age 9, and her sister since age 8. As the city of Cancun is in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, the Quintana Roo Attorney General’s Office called a news conference. At the news conference, they distributed the girls’ photos, the girls’ mothers’ names, and the girls’ mothers’ cell phone numbers. News reports blamed the girls for ‘sexually provoking’ the businessman, and especially blamed the victims’ mothers. Newspapers published pictures of the girls’ homes. Lydia Cacho: “By also showing photographs of the exteriors of the victims’ homes, neighbors would be sure to figure out who the mothers of all the victims were, and to judge them for having – allegedly – handed their daughters over to a pedophile.” The girls were hounded out of their schools and into mental breakdowns.
As Lydia Cacho condemned this misogyny in print and on television, as she explained how these girl victims were now being re-victimized, Succar Kuri’s wife called the Cancun teenager – twice. Succar Kuri’s wife, – who as a child was herself a victim of Succar Kuri, who would later be seen on videos Succar Kuri made preparing small girls for her husband to rape, and who would later be found to have acted as a relay in the international child porn network, forwarding the pictures and videos to Las Vegas, – ordered the teenager to retract her statement. If Emma did not retract her statement, Succar Kuri’s wife said, videos of Succar Kuri ‘having sex with’ Emma would be made public. Both calls to Emma were recorded by a children’s advocacy attorney, a woman working pro-bono with the teenager. Succar Kuri’s wife also called Emma’s mother, – ordering her to make her daughter retract, or else mother and daughter would die.
On October 29, 2003, Succar Kuri fled Mexico – after being tipped-off by people inside the Quintana Roo Attorney General’s Office that Mexican authorities were working with Interpol, and planned to arrest him the following day. It’s unclear if Quintana Roo’s Governor ordered his Attorney General’s Office to tip Succar Kuri off, as each publicly blamed the other for facilitating the ringleader’s escape. Succar Kuri’s escape-flight to the United States was arranged by Kamel Nacif, a prominent member of the Pedo Elite and Succar Kuri’s main protector.
Succar Kuri and Kamel Nacif are both Lebanese-born international businessmen. Having met in “international business circles,” Kamel Nacif helped Succar Kuri establish himself in Mexico. Both men operated out of Mexico.
Succar Kuri owns hotels and property in resort meccas across Mexico. (Little girls from around the world are less likely to arouse suspicion in affluent tropical tourist destinations). Succar Kuri owns at least 59 luxury villas and units in Cancun alone. He also owns retail businesses at the Mexico City Airport (where employees said he held in-trafficked girls’ identification and travel documents, as well as out-trafficked girls themselves, before he put them on planes). He also owns retail businesses in eight Mexican tourist destinations, including restaurants, clothes shops and jewelry stores (through which he laundered money made off the girls, with laundering connections to organized crime). Succar Kuri owns three homes in Southern California and a home in Arizona. Succar Kuri is a multi-millionaire.
Kamel Nacif, a sweatshop magnate, is also a multi-millionaire. He is known as “The Blue Jean King” for owning an empire of clothing maquiladoras in the Mexican State of Puebla. (His factories are also known for having turned Puebla’s waters denim-blue). His jeans are sold world-wide as familiar brands in familiar stores – Levi’s, Tommy Hilfinger, Abercrombie & Fitch, etc., sold at the Gap, the Limited, Walmart, etc. Kamel Nacif also owns sweatshops in China, Korea, Thailand, New York and Los Angeles. Under the Obama administration, Kamel Nacif was denied entry to the US due to his links to organized crime, specifically, mob figures in Nevada, drug running, arms running, and money-laundering. Kamel Nacif was denied entry despite the fact that his umbrella company, Tarrant Apparel Group, is headquartered in Los Angeles. Some of Kamel Nacif’s sweatshops also produce Disney-sponsored children’s toys.
Three days after Emma and her mother received death threats from Succar Kuri’s wife, Emma filed a second report with local authorities. Emma told authorities Succar Kuri offered her and other girls up for rape to his ultra-wealthy businessmen and politician friends, that he traded girls across borders with other ultra-wealthy businessmen, that some of these girls were never seen again, and that he was fully protected by the many Mexican politicians who participated in these rapes, – rendering him untouchable. Male members of the Cancun press, long enjoying free-time in the local brothels courtesy of local brothel-owners, who were themselves recipients of cartel-trafficked females, continued to blame the girl victims and their mothers. Lydia Cacho overheard her male colleagues wonder out loud if a 12-year-old girl could enjoy sex, and laugh that “old Succar likes young meat.”
The next day, a second girl came forward, stating she had been raped by Succar Kuri since age 6. A third girl also came forward, saying she met Succar Kuri when she was in kindergarten, and that he started abusing her at age 5. A fourth girl, a fifth girl, and a sixth girl also offered similar testimonies. After making their reports, authorities forcibly took these girls from their mothers, and placed them in child protective services.
The girls, all of whom came from poor families, told Mexican authorities that it was in a posh section of Cancun, in Succar Kuri’s Villa #1 at Solymar Villas, that they were raped, photographed and videotaped. According to statements the girls made, they were brought to the oceanfront villa by other children, who told stories of money, extravagant gifts and the chance to slide down a big slide into Succar Kuri’s pool.
Three doors down from Villa #1, according to journalist S. Lynn Walker of Copley News: “Succar Kuri’s American neighbors were struck by the constant flow of young girls to his Cancun retreat. Tom and Jean Vickers, a retired couple from New Jersey, had bought a two-story villa at Solymar in 2000. When the Vickers arrived to spend their winters in the Caribbean, they often saw Succar Kuri and the girls splashing around in his pool. ‘We noticed it from Day One,’ said Jean Vickers, 73. ‘He had them in the swimming pool. We constantly saw young girls, children.’”
Succar Kuri’s other US neighbors called Cancun Police to ask if the pedophilia Succar Kuri practiced with female children was legal in Mexico. Other neighbors, EJ and RC, reported to local police that after Emma had made her statements to authorities, Succar Kuri’s “people” came and removed boxes from his residence. Cancun Police, these neighbors said, ignored their concerns.
A subsequent search warrant executed by federal agents at Succar Kuri’s residence uncovered an envelope with hundreds of pornographic photographs of girl-children from Mexico and around the world. Based on this one apparently overlooked envelope of photographs, Lydia Cacho estimates that at least 200 girl-children from around the world were sexually assaulted by Succar Kuri. Lydia Cacho: “Among the scores of pornographic photos recovered by the federal agents, there is one showing a small girl barely four years of age, with blond hair styled in a Prince Valiant cut, bound at the wrists and naked, and before her is the nude body of an older man with a large paunch, his erect penis positioned directly in front of the child’s frightened face… According to federal authorities, 20 compromising videos filmed by Succar Kuri himself were recovered in the search but later disappeared. A year later, Cancun Police agents were discovered putting them up for sale at US$40,000 a pop.”
Succar Kuri trafficked children across international borders. He ran girl-trafficking operations in the Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Baja California, Vera Cruz, Chiapas and Puebla, as well as Mexico City, the nation’s capital. He also may have been linked, directly or indirectly, to girl-trafficking operations in Juarez, where scores of girls and young women disappeared or were found sexually tortured and killed.
On the evening of November 4, 2003, Lydia Cacho was locking the shelter up for the night when she got a crisis call. A distraught woman begged her to please come now. “There’s a girl here,” the woman implored. “ – She needs your help.” Under the dark sky of hurricane season, in a block of identical government apartments, Lydia Cacho found the open apartment, ducked inside, and immediately realized this girl was Emma, – the Cancun teenager now in hiding. Lydia Cacho: “(Emma) collapsed in tears and told me she had reached her wit’s end, pleading with me to please help her.” She cried and shook uncontrollably. Lydia Cacho gently guided Emma to the couch and they sat down. The television hanging on the wall opposite them blared. Lydia Cacho reached to turn the TV off . ‘No!’ Emma yelled. ‘You have to leave it on!’
The evening news was about to broadcast an undercover recording Emma had made, an “interview” with the Pedo Elite Kingpin himself – two days before he fled Mexico. Emma had been wired by the children’s advocacy attorney, and sent out to lunch with Succar Kuri. While Emma’s wire recorded Succar Kuri talking casually about his crimes, the attorney was secretly filming the teenager and the pedophile with a high-zoom lens from across the street.
‘You’re a journalist!’ Emma shouted. ‘Please make it stop! Call the TV and tell them not to show the video!’ Panicking, Emma pushed the phone into Lydia Cacho’s hand. ‘Make it stop, make it stop!’ Emma wailed. Lydia Cacho truthfully said she probably couldn’t stop the news. ‘They’re going to kill me, they’re going to kill me!’ Emma shrieked. ‘They’re going to kill my mom, and my little sister, and me, and my cousins, because we did it, we reported them!’
Lydia Cacho called the TV station and was told the tape would roll any second. And there it was, on Mexican television – Succar Kuri boasting to Emma about raping four-year-old girls: “But I’m telling you that’s all allowed!” Succar Kuri openly declares in a leafy tropical restaurant as Emma twirls the straw in her drink nervously. “Because that’s the risk you take when you go to some lonely old fuck’s house, it’s all part of the risk… All that’s allowed. For instance, I say to Lesley, ‘Bring me a girl who’s four,’ and if she says, ‘She’s already been fucked,’ and I see if she’s been fucked already, then I see if I’m gonna stick my dick in her or not. You know this is my weakness, it’s my kink, and I know it’s a crime and it’s not allowed, but it’s so much easier this way because a tiny little girl like that doesn’t stand a chance because you can convince her really really easily, and then you fuck her. I’ve been doing it my whole life… They all bleed with me, my wife bled, a bunch of different housemaids I’ve fucked bled. Plus they don’t bleed because they’re virgins, they bleed because they’re really small.”
Emma’s phone rang. ‘You bitch!’ one of Succar Kuri’s five sons spat on the phone. ‘I’m watching the news, Emma, I saw what you did…and either you drop this whole thing or you’re dead.’ He hung up, and Emma started hyperventilating. She slumped against Lydia Cacho as if already dead. Lydia Cacho asked Emma why these men wanted to kill her. Emma said Succar Kuri had direct access to governors, to congressmen, even to the president of Mexico. ‘You don’t know who these people are!’ Emma screamed.
The next day Emma was admitted into Lydia Cacho’s shelter. Lydia Cacho also won the release of the child victims who had come forward and been forcibly removed from their mothers. These girls and their mothers were admitted into Lydia Cacho’s shelter, and, happily reunited, found safe harbor there. More and more girls came forward. Many took refuge at the shelter. All received protection and trauma care.
The girls told Lydia Cacho that Succar Kuri constantly made them watch pornography. One girl told Lydia Cacho that when she was eight years old, ‘Uncle Johnny,’ before raping her, said all fathers did this to their children, but she didn’t have a father, so she didn’t know. After the assault, Succar Kuri held up a knife and told her he would cut her into pieces. He also told her if she told her mother, he would kill her mother. Since the assault, the girl wore four pair of underpants every day. ‘He is the devil,’ the girl told Lydia Cacho.
All of the girls and their families were required by authorities to undergo regular psychological evaluations. In Mexico, anyone reporting that they were the victim of a crime is subjected to psychological evaluations and medical tests, a “pre-condition” to determine whether or not “an investigation” should be opened.
On November 12, 2003, Mexico’s Attorney General held a press conference to announce Interpol had issued a warrant for the arrest of Succar Kuri for international money-laundering. Lydia Cacho contacted Interpol, then boarded a plane with Emma to Mexico City to meet with Interpol agents. Emma met with the agents privately, and told them everything she knew about Succar Kuri’s child rape and child porn network.
After four months at the shelter, Emma had stabilized. Lydia Cacho found Emma a job in news production in Mexico City, while Emma found herself an apartment there. Lydia Cacho also extended Emma’s protective services: “Whenever she moved around the city, she did so by car, with a chauffeur, to shield her from Succar Kuri’s threats.” Lydia Cacho, with funds she’d raised, financed Emma’s continued education.
On November 22, 2003, Succar Kuri called Lydia Cacho. He was going to kill her, he said, for meddling in his life. Two days later, on November 24, 2003, the US Marshall Service notified Mexican authorities that they had located Succar Kuri. The US Marshall Service asked Mexico to send the paperwork they needed to arrest Succar Kuri on the Interpol warrant. Mexico waited 2½ months before sending the US the paperwork they needed to make the arrest. After the Mexican government finally coughed up the authorizing documents, on February 4, 2004, the US Marshall Service arrested Succar Kuri in Chandler, Arizona. He was held in an Arizona prison, awaiting transfer to Los Angeles, from where he would then be extradited to Mexico. This extradition process, however, was interrupted by US Magistrate David K. Duncan who expressed ‘mistrust of Mexican authorities’ in the Succar Kuri case. The US Magistrate decided to hold Succar Kuri in US prison, delaying his extradition to Mexico until he felt Mexican authorities wouldn’t just release Succar Kuri.
On February 24, 2004, Lydia Cacho’s mother died. Paulette Ribeiro Monteiro, after three years of suffering, died in Lydia Cacho’s arms. Lydia Cacho: “Before she died, my mother made me promise that I would never open the door to spite or anger, that no matter how much suffering I faced, I would remember that my task…is to build.” Paulette Ribeiro Monteiro told her daughter that instead of spite or anger, which would only blind her and colonize her spirit, she must use hope and dignity to defeat the fear which men will inevitably try to create in her in their attempt to control her. Lydia laid her mother to rest.
In July 2004, Succar Kuri’s cellmate told Arizona prison authorities that Succar Kuri had hired two inmates to kill Lydia Cacho, Emma, and the children’s advocacy attorney who had recorded him boasting about raping four-year-old girls. The children’s advocacy attorney withdrew from Emma’s case.
At the end of 2004, a male journalist questioned Lydia Cacho about Succar Kuri’s child rape and child porn network. Random House had asked him to write a book about it. Lydia Cacho suggested they collaborate. “We met to go over the information I had: an index of the investigation that included hard data on money-laundering, international sex-trafficking, child pornography rings, several powerful politicians involved, and a couple of assassinated girls,” Lydia Cacho recounted. “Once he saw the details, (and) read aloud the names of the powerful men involved, (he) told me he was no longer interested in participating, that I would have to write (the book) on my own. It was too dangerous, he said, not worth the risk.”
Lydia Cacho wrote The Demons of Eden: The Powers Protecting Child Pornography in just a few short weeks. In her book, Lydia Cacho names billionaire Kamel Nacif as Succar Kuri’s main protector. She also names the politicians, government officials, and police who raped the girl-children. Included, for example, are state senators, congressional representatives, members of the Mexican prosecutor’s office, and the Federal Police Bureau Undersecretary. Succar Kuri, Lydia Cacho reported, headed an international sex-trafficking network of children, through which he made and sold child porn, the money from which he laundered, as evidenced by scores of unusual banking transactions through his company, Kanan Banana, of which $US20 million in suspicious transactions were subsequently frozen by authorities.
As Lydia Cacho was finalizing her manuscript, a man walked into her Cancun news office with a suitcase stuffed with cash. “He said I could have $1 million if I would drop the book,” Lydia Cacho said. “The message and the money were from a corrupt Mexican senator.” Lydia Cacho told the man and his suitcase to go away. A few days before the book was to be launched, Lydia Cacho’s editors at Random House were summoned to the office of the newly-appointed Federal Police Bureau Undersecretary, a former Senator – who was named in the book because the children reported he raped them. The Federal Police Bureau Undersecretary told the editors to drop the book. After Lydia Cacho’s editors politely refused, the Federal Police Bureau Undersecretary told them he would kill them. [Making death threats is not illegal in Mexico. – Not even while pointing a gun. – Neither is hiring a hitman to kill someone. – Hiring a hitman to kill someone is legal in Mexico. (Death threats are also much more likely to result in death in Mexico, especially for Mexican journalists; Mexico has one of the highest rates of murdered journalists in the world)].
“By the time the book was ready,” Lydia Cacho recounted, “I had already survived several death threats, an assassination attempt, and a couple of car chases with gunmen trying to scare me to stop my investigations. And deep inside me, no matter the risk, I knew it was something I had to do.” As she would tell the newspaper El Tecolote, “I did this quite consciously knowing that I could be killed for this, – but there was no other way.” Lydia Cacho needed protection though, and asked Mexico’s Anti-Drug Czar if he could provide her with protection for her book launch. The shelter had developed a good relationship with him and his drug agents, who helped stop the first shelter attack. They also helped stop the second shelter attack, – in which hitmen clutching grenades surrounded the shelter and ordered Lydia Cacho to come out or they would rain down grenades on her safe-house, – not to mention the countless rescues of battered and trafficked women from armed men in homes and businesses, where Lydia Cacho and shelter staff, backed by a few of the Drug Czar’s agents, disarmed men and spirited their wives and girlfriends to safety.
Mexico’s Anti-Drug Czar tried to dissuade Lydia Cacho from going ahead with her book: ‘Your book has evidence that can make an important part of the federal government crumble,’ he warned. ‘This is an international human trafficking network, Ms. Cacho.’ She told him she had made a promise to the children, and would not back down. Mexico’s Anti-Drug Czar assigned four special agents as Lydia Cacho’s bodyguards. He also loaned her an armored vehicle. And he deployed an additional fifteen heavily-armed special agents for the book launch itself. On May 19, 2005, the book launch went forward as planned. Lydia Cacho: “I looked at my editors and they could not believe their eyes. For the first time in their life, they had to present a book while surrounded by special agents to protect them from the Federal Police… Half of the mafiosos I had investigated were sitting there at the book launch; amongst 200 people, they quietly took notes and had a man taking pictures.” Thereafter, the Drug Czar assigned three special agents to guard Lydia Cacho. The Drug Czar told her he would now be obliged to provide her bodyguards for life.
The publication of Lydia Cacho’s book encouraged more and more girls and young women to come forward. Meanwhile, Succar Kuri’s “people” were hanging around schoolyards looking for Succar Kuri’s victims, especially the youngest girls. They also went to the girls’ homes to find the girls’ mothers. They offered between $US10,000 – $US20,000 to any girl or her mother who would sign a retraction. Two mothers immediately accepted the money. Given the structural injustice of Mexico, they reasoned that once Succar Kuri was extradited, he was sure to be released. – Meaning, – they were sure to die.
Emma called Lydia Cacho later that month, in May 2005, to say Succar Kuri had found her. From his Arizona prison, Succar Kuri had called Emma’s male relative. Emma’s male relative told Succar Kuri where Emma was. The male relative also called Emma to tell her she should heed Succar Kuri. Lydia Cacho: “Emma was now defending her rapist, alleging that things hadn’t really been so bad. I knew how difficult it is for victims of this sort of crime to break the paradoxical bonds linking them to their aggressors,…after all there’s a reason this type of abuser likes to get his claws into these girls…when they’re still young, during their formative pre-teen years…to link abuse and sex, love and fear, power and submission in their victim’s psyches, sometimes for the rest of their lives… (B)ut this was too much. The girls were finally free from Succar Kuri now, thanks in part to the pressure of various human rights organizations; he had been arrested on an Interpol warrant… Nevertheless, Emma insisted that I simply didn’t understand just how powerful Succar Kuri’s friends were. (She said:) ‘They’re going to kill us, Lydia. It’s better we negotiate.’”
By late summer, Emma disappeared. Lydia Cacho: “She canceled her cell phone account, she didn’t say good-bye to a single person, and she never returned to school. We searched (Mexico City) worriedly for her, but no one had any knowledge of her whereabouts.” A Salvadoran girl who had been pulled into the child rape ring by Succar Kuri also disappeared around this time. Lydia Cacho later learned that Kamel Nacif had paid Succar Kuri US$2,000 to rape this girl. One of Succar Kuri’s lawyers, who would step down from Succar Kuri’s case after watching one of the child porn videos, later told Lydia Cacho that Succar Kuri told him he killed the Salvadoran girl.
Ten months later, in May 2005, Emma sent Lydia Cacho an email. She was in Los Angeles, she said, with Succar Kuri’s lawyers, who had brought her there. Emma was afraid Succar Kuri was about to be extradited to Mexico, and would then be released. She was sure they would all be killed. Emma also apologized to Lydia Cacho for something that was about to happen, – without explaining what that was.
Ten days later, on a morning newscast, Emma appeared on TV. Lydia Cacho: “Emma appeared wearing a small crystal bead in the center of her forehead, Hindu-style, her hair permed and bleached a shade of blond identical to that of Succar Kuri’s wife. On national television, she recited a prepared speech, defending Succar Kuri and alleging that my book was full of lies.”
Recanting her charges against Succar Kuri and calling Lydia Cacho a liar on national television – Lydia Cacho wrongly believed it must be these devastating betrayals, – these hopelessly-trauma-bonded-female betrayals – that Emma, – in her email, – had apologized for in advance.
Following Emma’s national television appearance, the other girl victims and their families at the shelter fell into despair. As did shelter staff. Lydia Cacho: “There we were, Succar Kuri’s threats still hanging over us, every one of us operating under a great deal of emotional strain resulting from the constant expenditure of effort required to listen to the abhorrent stories told to us by the girls Emma had brought in to us. And now this same young woman who had been given more opportunities than any of the other victims was siding with Succar Kuri.”
In September and October of 2005, Lydia Cacho got sick. For two weeks, she was hospitalized in critical condition due to acute renal complications. She only had one remaining kidney – and it was failing. While in the hospital, she picked up infectious pneumonia and bronchitis, – which extended her stay in the critical care unit for several more days. Once released, Lydia Cacho spent weeks at home recuperating.