One Woman Cracks the Pedo Elite. Chapter 2.

Preface & Chapter 1 here. Chapter 3 here. Chapter 4 here.

On December 16, 2005, Lydia Cacho, barely recovered from the kidney failure, pneumonia and bronchitis which had put her in critical care two months earlier, was driving to the shelter, back to work. She called shelter staff, per protocol, saying she’d arrive any minute. One of her bodyguards went out on the corner and waited.

Lydia Cacho: “When I parked my truck and turned off the engine, a small car drove past, and then I got out of my vehicle. Suddenly, a silvery blue car with Puebla State plates stopped in the middle of the street, blocking the way, and three (men) jumped out, one of them wearing a white T-shirt and a shoulder holster that clearly had a gun in it. Another held a pink folder in his hand and was walking very quickly towards me. I looked to my left – behind me on the street was a white Jeep Liberty. I scanned it for plates – this one was from Puebla too. At both corners, cars were closing the street. At that moment, I was convinced they were contract killers, although I didn’t know who might have hired them. Then I glanced down the street toward the intersection – a red car was blocking it, and a man standing outside (the shelter) was gesturing to another close by. I thought they were about to shoot me, and my heart froze. The man with the folder shouted as he approached me, ‘Lydia Cacho, easy now, don’t try anything, you’re under arrest.’ There were two men coming at me head on, and another slipped around the side of my car. Terrified, and hardly realizing what I was doing, I pushed the car alarm button on my key ring and tried to climb back in, but by that time one of the men had already reached me, and he quietly pulled out a gun and hissed: ‘Don’t try anything, and don’t call your bodyguards, or we’re sure to have some fireworks on our hands’… ‘On what charges? Who’s charging me?’ I managed to ask once or twice, trying to maintain my composure… One of them took a gun, put it to my head and said, ‘Shut up!'”

The men told Lydia Cacho she was being arrested for defamation. They were taking her to the Quintana Roo Attorney General’s Office in Cancun first, they said, and then to Puebla, to jail. [Puebla, the city, is in the Mexican State of Puebla, over 1,000 kilometers from Cancun, a 20-hour car drive across five Mexican states]. ‘Don’t resist,’ one of the men threatened. ‘Journalists sometimes get killed by stray bullets.’ Lydia Cacho: “Like a slap to the face, the echo of his words knocked the air straight out of me, and I felt instantly nauseated. And they were all almost as nervous as I was. The man with the pink folder kept shoving it in my face, opening it to show me – but all of the pages inside were blank.”

“My car alarm continued to blare, and I knew that my colleagues were probably watching everything over the closed security system we had installed… I knew that everything had been recorded…(on) a hard drive (which stored) 24-hour-a-day footage from our cameras around the building… From his post at the corner…one of the three guards on my security detail witnessed everything that was happening.” A second guard, a female, later testified that the guard on the corner called the head of security, their boss. ‘Ms. Cacho is being taken away,’ he told him. The head of security asked: ‘Are they policemen?’ Despite the fact that the men abducting Lydia Cacho were wearing street clothes, not uniforms, and were blocking off the street with unmarked cars, not cop cars, the guard said, ‘They look like policemen.’ The head of security replied: ‘Let them take her then.’

*

“As we approached the building where the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Quintana Roo is housed – not 15 minutes after I had first gotten into the car – I saw that the agents had spoken the truth and we really were going to the Attorney General’s local Cancun Office, so I lowered my guard. It was not until that moment that I discovered I had practically stopped breathing,” Lydia Cacho said. “The tension had petrified my lungs, I was inhaling barely enough to keep from passing out… I took in a large gulp of air and was instantly seized with a loud fit of coughing that interrupted the agents as they exchanged instructions… I never thought the sight of the main entrance to the State Attorney General’s building could produce such a wonderful feeling of relief in me… They’re not hitmen! This is legal, and I’m going to come out of it, I thought.”

“A couple of people at the entrance to the building recognized me, but I wasn’t able to see their faces, and then the agents shoved me toward the hallway, pushing and pulling me. ‘That’s Lydia Cacho from TV,’ I heard a woman say… One of the (men) alerted the others: ‘They’ve seen her… quick, get the papers you son of a bitch.’ They closed ranks around me so no one else could see me (and took me to a room)… ‘Please, I have the right to speak with my lawyer…I’m sick, I have bronchitis, I have the right to see a doctor,’ I repeated several times. ‘Yes, yes…settle down,’” said Comandante Montano, the man who had held the pink folder of blank pages. (Comandante Montano told me to sit down). ‘We’re going to let you see your lawyer, and you can bring your medicine and everything. Just remain calm so we don’t have to handcuff you and we don’t set off any fireworks. You wouldn’t want to get shot by a bullet now, would you? I’m told you’re a real feisty one.’” Lydia Cacho sat down. Comandante Montano and the other men, (a mix of Puebla and Cancun police agents), laughed – then turned their attention to the paperwork before them. Lydia Cacho: “Suddenly a local Cancun agent who recognized me approached my chair… Without saying a word, he spilled some papers on the floor next to me where I was sitting. As he slowly gathered them back up, he leaned in towards me and whispered, ‘Ma’am, don’t let them take you in the car…they’re going to off you… The Attorney General hasn’t signed off on this, ask them to let you see him.’”

Just then a woman from the shelter’s board of directors burst into the room. She embraced Lydia, who desperately whispered to her friend, ‘Don’t let them take me – they’re going to kill me.’ ‘Sit down!’ the Comandante barked angrily. The woman, with iron determination, announced that she would now go speak to the Attorney General about this. Lydia Cacho: “As she left the room, I could hear her voice trail off as she told the agents to hold tight since I had the right to request that my lawyer review the petition for my arrest…. ‘Moreover,’ she insisted, ‘Ms. Cacho is ill, she was just released from the hospital… if you take her anywhere, she mustn’t travel by highway, because her health is delicate’… When (my friend) left, Montano and the…other agents laughed mockingly. One of them said, right to my face, ‘Nosy fucking bitches, now you’re scared, aren’t you?’” The men grabbed Lydia Cacho’s arms without warning, lifting her out of her chair, rushing her out of the room. As they led her down the hallway, Lydia Cacho spotted her shelter co-workers, the shelter lawyer and her bodyguards. Without thinking, she yelled, “You guys follow me, call the Anti-Drug Czar, they’re going to kill me!” When Lydia Cacho’s friends tried to speak to the Attorney General, an official they knew well, an official who had always welcomed them into his office, – he refused to meet them. Later they would learn he had just taken a call from the Governor of the State of Puebla, Mario Marin, a prominent Pedo Elite.

“(O)ne of the men behind me grabbed hold of my hands, positioning my two fists at my back, while the other two agents immobilized my forearms. Quickly an agent positioned himself in front of me, and they practically ran me out of the building’s back door,” Lydia Cacho said. “A second later, I felt a sharp yank at the back of my head. Someone was pulling my hair with rage; I buckled in pain and allowed myself to be pulled along. A few moments later, the man dragging me by the hair hurled me into the back seat of a car.”

“Additional Cancun agents were already waiting for us,” Lydia Cacho said. “They immediately activated a series of highly coordinated maneuvers… Ahead of us was the red Jetta, leading the way. Why so many police officers? I thought to myself. I peeked behind us, hoping to see my bodyguard following, but the only vehicle there was the white Liberty (which we would later prove [was owned by] Kamel Nacif). They floored it, and we…headed for the highway. It was at that moment I realized I had been tricked. A feeling of outrage swelled up inside me. I sat up and began rattling off at the top of my voice, ‘This is illegal! This is a kidnapping! You didn’t let me see my lawyer! I need my medicine! I never saw an arrest warrant!’… I closed my eyes and thought, My God, they’re going to kill me, they’re going to disappear me…” Comandante Montano sat in the front seat, with Jesus Perez, the driver. Perez whirled around, pressed the barrel of his gun to Lydia Cacho’s forehead, and yelled:“Just shut up, bitch! You’re with us now!”

*

Lydia Cacho was being abducted in a car flanked by three other vehicles – a vehicle of men in front of her, a vehicle of men alongside her, and a vehicle of men behind her. When this phalanx reached the highway, the vehicle in front and the vehicle alongside honked good-bye to Montano and Perez. Perez waved back at the two vehicles and laughed. “It suddenly dawned on me that I was going to be spending the next 1,118 kilometers or more alone in a car with two armed police agents,” Lydia Cacho said, “and three more in the vehicle behind us.”

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“Montano was now behaving courteously,” Lydia Cacho recounted. “He explained that his boss chose to send him rather than anyone else because he had a reputation for being kind.” Perez laughed, then lit a cigarette. Montano and Perez lit cigarette after cigarette, chain-smoking and complaining to each other that they hadn’t had time to eat breakfast that morning because they’d been too busy coordinating with Cancun Police. They asked Lydia Cacho questions as if they didn’t know who she was, then demonstrated they knew exactly who she was, referencing, for example, her TV show. One minute Montano made himself accessible, potentially simpatico, listening as he drew on his cigarette; the next minute Montano flew into a rage: ‘Why’d you mess with Kamel? Why’d you have to go poking around in the bosses’ lives? What do you want to go writing about their business for?’ Lydia Cacho: “A shiver ran down my spine (at the mention of Kamel Nacif). I started to explain to them what my book was about. I asked them if they had any children… I asked them to imagine that while they were driving along in the car with me, some man had just taken their small daughter or son and was using them to make pornographic films while raping them.” They said they would slice off the pedophile’s testicles and skin him alive before killing him. Montano clarified that it couldn’t be done in the State of Puebla though, because in the State of Puebla, the pedophiles were in charge.

Lydia Cacho coughed uncontrollably. Montano and Perez, smoking, talked about the men they’d shot. They talked about rape in prison. Montano and Perez asked Lydia Cacho if she liked the ocean. Perez said they were asking because, ‘we might just toss you into the ocean in a little bit.’ Lydia Cacho could not stop coughing. She told them, between hacking, that she was sick. She pleaded for some medicine for her cough. Perez asked Lydia Cacho to lean forward. ‘I’ve got your medicine right here…a little cough syrup, you want some?’ he asked, groping his genitals and laughing.

Lydia Cacho: “A few hours went by and the two agents were explaining what a big mess I’d gotten myself into by writing that book of mine. They alternated comments about how powerful and important Kamel Nacif was with others about how stupid it was of me to think I could get away with defaming him, and still others about how pretty I was. They said they thought the boss was giving them a nice little reward when…shown a photograph of me wearing a bikini. I felt the stomach acid rising up into my throat; I realized the last thing I’d eaten was a bowl of fruit at eight in the morning. But I wasn’t hungry… Every now and then I would carefully bring my arms to the front of me to get rid of the numbness that kept taking over… They went into explanations from time to time about how they had been trying to locate me for two months without knowing where to find me. But then they contradicted themselves…asking if I was worried someone would break into my apartment when I was away (at the hospital), saying it was such a nice little apartment… One minute they’d (talk) to me in a friendly, respectful tone, and the next they might just as easily be insulting me or telling me how I was their little reward and we were going to have fun together on this trip.”

“In a moment of silence, I went out on a limb and asked Montano to let me make a phone call,” Lydia Cacho said. “To my surprise, he said, ‘Of course, ma’am. We just have to stop somewhere because I don’t have any more minutes left on my phone card.’” They pulled into a rest stop and parked. Montano and Perez sat silently and smoked. Lydia Cacho asked if she could make that phone call Montano promised. Montano dialed, reached back to hand her his phone, hung up and said, ‘No answer.’ Lydia Cacho: “(We would repeat this) same scene over and over again. For some reason I was unable to comprehend; every time, overcome with anxiety, I actually believed he was going to let me talk to someone. But he didn’t, and after awhile, the two men chuckled.” Sitting in the car at the rest stop, Lydia Cacho asked if she could use the restroom. “Montano told me to go ahead, but before I could make a move, the two told me I’d better not try to run away because one time a prisoner they picked up in Veracruz tried that and they had been forced to shoot a couple stray bullets at him. They asked each other if they ever did figure out which one of them ended up killing the prisoner who tried to run when they let him out to go to the toilet. They went over all the details of how the man died and how they had to carry him back into the car, his pants covered in urine, all because he tried to pull a fast one on them. And so I stayed in the car,” Lydia Cacho said, “silent. The same scene was repeated with ever so slight changes of script four more time over the following 20 hours, every time I asked to use the restroom.”

Lydia Cacho was being held captive in a car by two chain-smoking goons who wouldn’t let her use the restroom two months after she was hospitalized in critical condition for kidney failure (she only had one kidney; she had lost her other kidney as a young woman, nearly dying from that experience), and barely recovered from the pneumonia and bronchitis she’d contracted in the hospital. Montano and Perez began talking between themselves about how inviting the ocean looks at night. “Montano glanced at me in the rear view mirror, Lydia Cacho recounted, and quietly asked, ‘Do you know how to swim in the ocean at night? Of course, it’s sink or swim, you know.’ Lydia Cacho: “Trembling not only from fever but from fear, I hugged my arms around my body… Gazing at the jungle beyond the highway (I remembered I sailed sailboats and) muttered, ‘I’m a sailboat captain. I can sail, and I can swim.’” The men laughed and laughed; they laughed at her. Then Montano told Lydia Cacho she could now make a phone call. She was in disbelief, as this time, her family answered and Montano actually did hand her his phone. Montano put his gun in Lydia Cacho’s face, resting the barrel on her nose. Hearing the voices of the people she loved, suddenly Lydia Cacho felt she might just survive, – she felt – salvation. ‘You’re OK,’ her family said, ‘right?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, her heart racing. ‘I’m OK.’ ‘You’re being escorted by women,’ they said, ‘right? So you’re OK.’ ‘Women?’ Lydia Cacho asked. ‘No, they’re men!’ Montano snatched back the phone and hung up. Then he said, almost sweetly: ‘I hope you trust me now. I hope you can see how nice I am.’ Lydia Cacho, traumatically grateful, said that she did.

Montano’s phone rang. It was someone he called ‘the boss.’ The boss asked Montano if there were any witnesses. Lydia Cacho: “(Montano and Perez) made a couple of phone calls and I slowly realized they were asking the (men behind us) in the Liberty if anyone was following us. I was hoping that my bodyguard was tailing us.” Pleased, Montano hung up and said, ‘They’ve left you all alone.’ Lydia Cacho: “The two of them took turns telling me how I’d better behave and how I was going to have to perform oral sex on them if I wanted them to give me anything to eat. I sat still and said nothing. The phone rang again. Montano’s voice repeated, ‘Yes sir; yes, boss; yes.’ All of the sudden they stopped. Montano moved quickly to the back of the car and sat next to me… He pulled his gun out, ordered me to open my mouth and proceeded to put the gun barrel in my mouth. I immediately felt like coughing. I could smell his breath next to my face. ‘Come on, cough lady…’”

It goes without saying that these men torture Lydia Cacho. And while she minimizes what happened in that car in Infamy, her book-length account of these events, in an interview with Australian journalist Paul McGeough, she recounted what happened in greater detail:They had their guns in my mouth and in my genitals. I was handcuffed and they made me lie face-down. As they drove through the night, they undressed me and took turns sitting on me.” Perez struck her with his pistol, fracturing her rib. Oral rape was forced at gun point. In Infamy, Lydia Cacho breaks from the recounting these atrocities by writing: “Ten years later, when Montano was arrested for torture and I had to confront him in court over the course of five hours, I could still smell his breath from a distance. When the Judge asked me to explain the sexual torture I had endured on that infamous road trip, I broke down in tears, but Montano laughed…” Lydia Cacho told the reporter McGeough she didn’t write about the torture in detail in her book because she didn’t want that to be the focus. She wanted the child rape and child porn network to be the focus; she wanted all those who tried to destroy her so that rich men could continue to rape five-year-old girls to be the focus. She said people like victims, not survivors. She said she is not a victim. She said she is a survivor.

*

Meanwhile, as soon as Lydia Cacho was kidnapped, her family and shelter staff alerted international human rights organizations and the media that her life was now in danger. Lydia Cacho: “(My family and friends) wrote to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists in New York and sent urgent cables to all the national newscasts and media outlets… Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, and the World Organization Against Torture all sent out emergency bulletins… The news spread like wildfire. A network of journalists from Puebla and all over Mexico [and also internationally] began covering my case and gathering vital information about my captors and the corrupt officials who made my kidnapping possible…”

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Governor Marin

The Governor of Puebla, Mario Marin, – who had arranged for Lydia Cacho to be kidnapped and tortured, – was now being contacted by diplomats, international human rights organizations and journalists, and urgently pressed to make sure Lydia Cacho got to Pueblo alive. Lydia Cacho: “(No one) could have ever imagined that the criminal collusion surrounding the events that were still unfolding had in fact been orchestrated by the Governor himself, and that three other Governors were involved in the plot to have me killed.”

 

*

 

The car suddenly stopped. ‘How about a little swim?’ Montano asked happily, while Perez lit a cigarette. “It was dark out,” Lydia Cacho said. “The two agents rolled down their windows and asked me a couple of times if that noise they were hearing was the sound of the ocean. ‘I think so,’ I replied. The Liberty pulled up even with us and the men spoke to each other through the open windows. The man (driving the Liberty) shouted over: ‘Here it is, the ocean, it looks pretty calm. We’re gonna go get some shrimp cocktails.’ The street was deserted, and all the seafood joints lining it were closed. I found myself trying to reason with them almost like a small child: ‘But everything’s closed, seafood restaurants don’t stay open in the middle of the night! Why are you all leaving? Where are you going?’ Nobody responded. Slowly it dawned on me and I thought silently, They’re leaving so the others can throw me into the ocean. I called in anguished silence to my dead mother. Please, Mama, please don’t let them throw me into the sea, no one will ever find my body…”

‘No,’ Montano said, changing his mind. ‘We’d better just get going.’ Lydia Cacho collapsed in relief. But then she saw the Liberty was driving off anyway, and that Montano and Perez weren’t moving. “(T)hey turned off the engine, and Montano got out. From the driver’s seat, Perez asked halfheartedly, ‘Don’t you feel like swimming?’ and he motioned toward the door with his gun. He stepped out of the car, leaving his door open… ‘Whenever you’re ready,’ Perez said to me… ‘Bet you don’t feel like writing anything now, do you? Not feeling so brave, anymore, are you, to walk around telling lies and defaming people like that?’… My body felt heavy and I kept imagining the weight of a rock tied to my legs… Perez suddenly spoke more loudly, pretending he didn’t know I was listening. ‘Like the boss said, she was acting very belligerently, she tried to escape, and she ran into the water. We tried to find her, but it was just so dark out’… Perez opened the other door and I felt glued to the seat. He pulled my hair so strongly that I moved with him. He pulled me out onto the sidewalk where I fell on my knees, crying…”

“(T)hey debated shooting or drowning me,” Lydia Cacho told the reporter McGeough, offering more details than provided in her book-length account.“For maybe an hour they’d put me in the car, pull me out, push me towards the water, then drag me back.”

Perez dragged Lydia Cacho to the ocean by her hair, deciding, finally, to drown her. ‘She got hysterical and we couldn’t pull her back out. We were just trying to do our job,’ Perez said, lifting her up off the ground to hurl her into the ocean, ‘and bring her in safe and sound.’ Montano’s cell phone rang. Lydia Cacho was dropped. Montano answered and kept his replies short: ‘Yes. No. Yes, sir. No, sir. Yes. All right, sir.’ Having received new orders from Governor Marin, Montano signaled Perez to put Lydia Cacho back in the car. Lydia Cacho: “He hung up and spoke to Perez through gritted teeth. ‘Change of plans.’” When she was in the back seat again, Montano spun around to look at her. Sarcastically, he said, ‘You’re famous, ma’am. You’re on TV now.’”

*

Lydia Cacho: “We…began our ascent into the Veracruz mountains. Cold came streaming in through the front windows, which were now completely rolled down. The two agents smoked in the front seat while I struggled to remain awake, my face now leaning against the glass… Montano spoke suddenly, his voice shaking me out of my trance. ‘We’ll be arriving in a few hours, so don’t you forget, like we said – you tell them we treated you well, and we won’t do a thing. But if you start blabbing, well then, you know how it is ma’am – we know where you live and we know where you work, we even know what beaches you go to… We know where your father lives. We know everything about you.’” They even knew, they told her, that one security grille on her apartment was loose and ‘easy to open.’

In a town called Hope, they pulled up next to a red car. Lydia Cacho: “Out of this vehicle stepped a tall, dark man with a mustache. He was visibly exasperated… He directed two female plainclothes (Puebla) Police agents sitting in his vehicle to get out of his car. He ordered Perez to get out and practically shouted his instructions to the two women. ‘You two have been in the car with her since Cancun.’” Montano took over the wheel and the two women got into the car. One offered Lydia Cacho her lipstick. ‘Fuck off,’ Lydia Cacho said.

*

As they arrived at the building of the Puebla Attorney General, the media awaited them. At the top of the building’s steps a bank of TV cameras and reporters, along with Lydia Cacho’s family, watched as they approached. The men in the Liberty, still following them, called and told Montano: ‘Go to the main entrance. – And make sure they see her with the women.’ Lydia Cacho: “The two female agents got out of the car and escorted me, one on each arm, as though they had been at my side the entire time.” As they ascended the steps, under her breath, Lydia Cacho said: ‘The toll booths in Merida have cameras; they’re going to know you weren’t with me.’

As the two female agents pushed Lydia Cacho through the press, Lydia Cacho’s sister stepped forward and held her. “Everything’s going to be OK,” her sister whispered. Lydia Cacho heard not her sister’s voice, but the voice of her mother, before the two female agents pulled Lydia Cacho back. Finally, Lydia Cacho thought, the nightmare is over.

Inside the building, the two female agents took Lydia Cacho into a room, with Montano following, and closing the door behind them. “A new and very aggressive group of agents burst into the room,” Lydia Cacho recounted, “and told Montano to hold it right there. They argued briefly, and Montano told them that he had orders to get me to my prison cell as quickly as possible, but the others ignored him, and one yanked me by the arm and shouted, ‘Get downstairs!’” Lydia Cacho was hustled downstairs by this new group of agents, who were strangely at odds with each other. “I saw that there were two distinct groups of agents,” Lydia Cacho said. “Some had been instructed to feign restraint, and others were highly irate and barking counter-orders.” The female agents followed, showing signs of fear. Downstairs, Lydia Cacho said, “(A) young man came over to me, and I tried smiling at him, hoping to elicit some feeling of compassion… He avoided my eyes and shoved me carelessly against the wall as if I were a sack of potatoes. With everyone watching, he pulled the front of my jacket open and, pretending to slip, placed his hands on my breast and grinned. Then he hung a numbered sign around my neck, stood back, snapped a few photographs, told me in a tired automatic voice to turn first to one side, then the other, and the next thing I knew he grabbed me by the hair without a word and slammed my head against the wall.”

Lydia Cacho was put in a Gessel chamber – a confession room with a two-way mirror. “(O)n the ground in front of me lay a torn mattress reeking of urine and blood. It was covered in multiple dried bloodstains… A few minutes passed, then the door opened and the strongest-looking of the men walked in, tossed out a couple of insults, and told me it was time I was taught a lesson, ‘to see if you really want to go on writing lies.’ I couldn’t believe it; I no longer had the strength to believe any of this. My family was right there, upstairs, just a few steps away – and they were going to beat me up?”… For awhile I could not remember how many times the man shoved and pushed me around the cell. It was only years after I was able to read the deposition of three witnesses in my torture case that one woman had said, ‘We thought he was going to crush her head against the wall so many times.’ I lost all sense of time…”

*

“The door opened suddenly,” Lydia Cacho said. “A man wearing a jacket with the embroidered initials of the (Puebla) State Human Rights Commission on it was shown into the room. [This, Lydia Cacho will later learn, is the President of the Puebla State Human Rights Commission]. He walked over and stood facing me, holding a piece of paper in one hand and a pen in the other… He greeted me as though we were acquaintances getting together for a quick meal in a cafeteria rather than strangers meeting for the first time in a torture cell. He didn’t ask but told me that I had been treated very well by the police and that I should sign the Human Rights Commission’s document he was holding out to me… I refused to sign… The man told me I looked just fine to him, that it didn’t appear as though I’d been mistreated at all.” Lydia Cacho marveled: Who could possibly have the power to set all this in motion…?

A woman Senator Lydia Cacho knew came in and embraced her. ‘They want to kill you,’ the Senator whispered. ‘It’s the Governor of Puebla.’ Later, for having had the compassion to embrace Lydia Cacho, as Lydia Cacho, for the first time since this nightmare began, broke down and cried, – this Senator with a 30-year political career who belonged to the same political party as Governor Marin and Mexico’s President, would be deleted from all future ballots – punishment for having held Lydia Cacho as she wept.

Puebla’s Police Chief, who’d been behind the two-way mirror watching the man slam Lydia Cacho’s head against the wall, announced that Lydia Cacho would now be going to jail. It’s ironic, Lydia Cacho thought. I actually feel safe going to jail! Taken outside, she was then driven from the building of the Puebla Attorney General to Puebla’s Jail. “There were several cars following behind us carrying my family, human rights advocates [real ones], and members of the media.”

*

At Puebla’s Jail, three men in black military uniforms carrying long guns escorted Lydia Cacho to a strip search by a woman prison guard. The men positioned themselves so they could watch from a distance. ‘Are you the one on the television?’ the woman guard whispered. ‘The one who wrote the book about Kamel Nacif and the raped children?’ ‘Yes,’ Lydia Cacho answered. ‘Nacif has some of his people in here,’ the guard cautioned in a conspiratorial whisper. Then she hissed urgently under her breath, ‘Don’t let them take you into the high-security area… They’ve got it all set up – you’re going to be beaten and raped’… ‘But how? Who?!’… ‘Some of the female prisoners,’ the guard replied. ‘With broomsticks’… ‘Please, please,’ Lydia Cacho begged. ‘Don’t let them hurt me!’ The female guard told the three men that due to the prisoner’s high fever, she must take the prisoner to the infirmary, and that their orders to take the prisoner elsewhere will have to wait.

At the prison infirmary, a young woman with a dragon tattoo an an IV in her arm kept up a lively and mostly one-sided conversation with Lydia Cacho. ‘Did Kamel Nacif put you in here? You’re not going to get out. He’s in charge here; a lot of girls are in here because they complained about abuses at his sweatshop factories.’ Lydia Cacho said the charges against her weren’t criminal, that she should be out in a few hours. ‘Neither are mine,’ the young woman said. ‘They don’t even have any evidence against me, and I’ve been here six months’… Other women in the infirmary, Lydia Cacho recounted, “talked about the power Kamel Nacif wielded in Puebla, and about his associate, [also a sweatshop owner, both of] who exploited prisoners by putting them to work in their textile factories.” Kamel Nacif, Lydia Cacho will later learn, also opened his factory operations within the prison itself, forcing the female prisoners into slave-labor. Lydia Cacho also will later learn that Kamel Nacif trafficked people (from China, for example) for forced labor in his Mexican sweatshops, these slave-labor trafficking arrangements helpfully pushed through by the President of Mexico himself, – a personal friend.

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*

A female guard came to the infirmary to inform Lydia Cacho she was now to be taken to a special holding cell. Although this is not included in her book-length account of events, Lydia Cacho told the journalist McGeough that in the special holding cell, she was held down by female prisoners as other female prisoners raped her, that afterwards, they beat and tortured her, that the rape was paid out and arranged by the Puebla State Attorney General, – a woman, – Blanca Laura Villeda Martinez, – under the orders of Kamel Nacif.

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Puebla State Attorney General Blanca Laura Villeda Martinez, who arranged for Lydia Cacho to be raped and beaten in jail, as ordered by Kamel Nacif

The journalist McGeough: “Why has Cacho chosen to reveal the Puebla rape now? She isn’t sure – and she seems somewhat surprised that the words tumble so easily from her mouth… ‘In Infamy, I wrote about the rape – and then I removed the passage. I wasn’t ready to talk about it. There were so many interviews that focused on my ability to understand and to explain, and I can’t tell you how many TV interviewers tried to make me cry. – So I thought it was healthy to not talk about it. I’m not interested in sitting down to talk about how it affects the rest of my life…’”

After the assault by the female prisoners, Lydia Cacho explained, “I was fainting when they told me to put my clothes back on… I grabbed hold of the bars and felt my legs giving way – I could no longer stand upright. I crumpled into a crouching position close to the floor and called to the guard, who graciously brought me a plastic chair.”

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Judge Rosa Celia Perez Gonzalez, who signed orders for Lydia Cacho’s “detention”

Lydia Cacho was hunched in the plastic chair in her jail cell, when a woman judge, – Judge Rosa Celia Perez Gonzalez, – appeared before her. “It was I,” Judge Rosa Celia Perez Gonzalez announced, “who ordered your detention.” For the first time since this nightmare began, Lydia Cacho was now finally read the charges against her. For writing about Kamel Nacif’s links to the international child rape and child porn network in The Demons of Eden, Lydia Cacho was being charged with defaming Kamel Nacif. Lydia Cacho: “The Judge read me the entire report and at long last I realized that the whole thing was actually an attempt to defend the pedophile Succar Kuri.” The Judge showed Lydia Cacho a retraction Emma had signed. The Judge then handed Lydia Cacho a prepared retraction and told her to sign it. Lydia Cacho: “After 20 hours of abuse in the car and (then the) rape and torture in prison, they (wanted) me to sign a prepared statement, which would have been an admission that The Demons of Eden was lies; that I had concocted it all to make myself famous.” Lydia Cacho told the Judge she would not sign. “I was agog,” Lydia Cacho said. Interestingly, Lydia Cacho was agog not at the retraction the Judge wanted her to sign, but now that Lydia Cacho understood what was happening, she was agog at how her situation could effect the victims of Succar Kuri: “If I was to remain in prison, the (US Magistrate) who was holding Succar Kuri behind bars in Arizona would think that the contents of my investigation were false, and that would contribute to Succar Kuri being set free! Then the girls…would be brought back into the pedophile’s fold. No, we could not allow this…”

The Judge, intent on keeping Lydia Cacho in jail, set an unreasonably high bond, orders of magnitude higher than any bond ever set in the State of Puebla – and did so at 3 pm on a Saturday afternoon, knowing banks in Mexico had just closed for the weekend.

After the Judge’s appearance, Lydia Cacho’s family was allowed to see her in her cell. Family members, trying to lift her spirits, rushed in snapping pictures of her behind bars: “Smile!” they said. And, – seeing them, – she did.

Lydia Cacho V

Against all odds, Lydia Cacho’s family, friends and supporters emptied their pockets, coming very close to meeting the outrageous bail set by the Judge. The Judge, not anticipating this, called up the chain of Pedo Elites for instructions. “Later,” Lydia Cacho said, “we would discover that the…Judge had called the cell phone of the Chief Justice of the Puebla Superior Court of Justice,…who in turn telephoned Governor Marin,…who called Kamel Nacif.” And Kamel Nacif, of course, was acting in the interest of the King of them all, – the man who supplied five-year-old girls for rich men to rape.

*

Having met bond, Lydia Cacho was released. Lydia Cacho: “I was escorted from the building by several armed men. In an instant, I was outside. Free. I looked around me…but I couldn’t see my family. Then I spotted them in the distance…We ran towards each other…” Lydia Cacho’s release, however, was conditional: she had to report to Puebla’s Jail in person once a week for a year, over 1,000 kilometers from home; she had to submit to psychological and medical examinations, day or night, whenever summoned; and she could be re-arrested at any time. If Lydia Cacho loses this case, if she is found guilty of having defamed Kamel Nacif, – she will be sent to prison. Puebla Attorney General Blanca Laura Villeda Martinez, who arranged for female prisoners to rape Lydia Cacho in jail, told reporters that should Lydia Cacho be found not guilty, she would then ‘see to it personally’ that Lydia Cacho be ‘locked away.’

Meanwhile, the Puebla defense team which had been assigned Lydia Cacho’s case – before even meeting her – quit. – Given the death threats and all. Now Lydia Cacho had to find a lawyer: “The first such expert to agree to work with me never showed up at the Court on the day of the hearing, claiming to have been afflicted with a bout of diarrhea that rendered him unable to leave the house. The person who had recommended his services later admitted to me that the lawyer had in fact spent all night going over my book and the evidence for the case and simply didn’t have the courage to tell us that he was scared…” The Anti-Drug Czar gave Lydia Cacho an armored vehicle and assigned six new special agents to guard her.

009

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Lydia Cacho reporting to Puebla’s Jail as required by the terms of her release, followed by a special federal agent acting as her bodyguard

*

Lydia Cacho: “The idea that practically the whole of the Puebla justice system as well as the State’s Governor were conspiring against me seemed absurd, and I for one refused for a time to believe it was true. But the reality of the matter turned out to be unfathomably shocking.”

*

It will be learned that – yes, – the whole of the Puebla justice system as well as the Governor of Puebla were conspiring against Lydia Cacho, – as well as 30 Mexican leaders, – including five Governors, two Senators and the Federal Police Bureau Undersecretary. Even possibly the President of Mexico himself. The President of Mexico will publicly call Lydia Cacho: “The enemy of the people.” (For those unfamiliar with this grisly historical reference, Josef Stalin, the lunatic totalitarian who killed more people than Hitler, publicly denounced a person as “The enemy of the people” before they ended up dead).

*

Irma Benavides, luego de presentar la denuncia contra su esposo Kamel Nacif, ofreció una conferencia en la cual hace responsable al empresario de su integridad
Kamel Nacif’s wife

An unbelievable thing then happened. Kamel Nacif beat his wife so viciously, she almost died. Though she fled their home, she feared her husband would hire a hitman to kill her. Trying to stay alive, trying to be one step ahead of any hired hitman, Kamel Nacif’s wife was taping her husband’s phone calls. On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2006, Kamel Nacif’s wife anonymously surrendered these tapes to the media. In one Kamel Nacif conversation, while Lydia Cacho is being abducted and tortured by the goons in the car, Kamel Nacif thanks Puebla Governor Marin for “smacking” Lydia Cacho. Kamel Nacif tells the Governor he is sending him two bottles of cognac in thanks. These men call each other “Daddy,” “Precious,” and “Hero;” they are jubilant. In another phone conversation, Kamel Nacif is talking with his sweatshop-owning associate who is at the Puebla Attorney General building as Lydia Cacho is brought in by the two women agents. The associate suggests to Kamel Nacif that women prisoners should rape Lydia Cacho. Kamel Nacif tells the associate that that has already been arranged. In another call between the same men, they discuss the Judge, the associate telling Kamel Nacif: ‘She is a true brother to us, a thousand times over.’ Kamel Nacif arranges a thank you pay-off for the Judge – an all-expense-paid trip to Las Vegas. In another recording, an older recording, Kamel Nacif talks to Succar Kuri himself, from whom he orders two girl-children “to fuck.” One of the girls Kamel Nacif orders from Succar Kuri was the Salvadoran girl who later disappeared and who Succar Kuri later told his lawyer he killed. Kamel Nacif’s wife will later seek safety in Lydia Cacho’s shelter, where shelter staff will help this woman escape from Kamel Nacif and out of Mexico.

The media played these phone messages over and over again. Sales of The Demons of Eden kamelwent through the roof. And then another unbelievable thing happened: 40,000 people took to the streets, bravely calling for Puebla Governor Marin’s impeachment. Other protests followed, in support of Lydia Cacho. A democracy protest of this scale had not taken place in the State of Puebla in over a century.

 

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Protesters give Governor Marin a bottle of cognac

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*

Lydia Cacho: “My case had taken a step forward, and the consequences were almost immediate: My telephone started ringing off the hook…the Puebla State Attorney General (Blanca Laura Villeda Martinez) stepped up her attacks against me in the press…the death threats multiplied…and I received communications from third parties operating on the Governor’s behalf wanting to know ‘how much money’ I would need ‘to let the whole thing drop’… People were stopping me on the street to take photos with me, to ask for my autograph, or to tell me what a big impact my book had on them. My three person security detail – (now) two men and one woman – found they had to step up their vigilance; we couldn’t be sure whether one of these people approaching me with a smiling face might not also be carrying a gun.”

*

At a later point, the United Nations Human Rights Council will advise Lydia Cacho to leave Mexico. They will recommend she seek political asylum. Consequently, Lydia Cacho will be offered political asylum by several countries, including the United States under the Obama administration. But Lydia Cacho will refuse: “I think  if somebody has to leave my country, it should be the mobsters,” she will say. “Why me? — I love Mexico.”

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One Woman Cracks the Pedo Elite. Preface & Chapter 1.

Chapter 2 here. Chapter 3 here. Chapter 4 here.

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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.

 

Chapter 1

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.”

Sample Pedo Elite Protector: Emilio Gamboa Patron, Parlimentary Coordinator in the Chamber of Deputies

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.

 

Pedo Elite: The Federal Police Bureau Undersecretary

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.

 

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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.

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Lydia Cacho working with girls and their families.

*

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.

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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.

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The shelter attorney holds a tabloid with Emma on the cover

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.