“The corrupt, the evil, are in reality very few. We men and women, on the other hand, keep being the majority, and so I do not lose the hope that Mexico can change.”

Lydia Cacho, born in Mexico City in 1963, is an author, journalist, and women’s rights activist. Following the publication of her first book, Los Demonios del Edén, she was arrested, detained, and abused before being subjected to a year-long criminal defamation lawsuit. She was cleared of all charges in 2007 but continues to be the target of harassment and death threats due to her journalism.

In the spring of 2005, Cacho published Los Demonios del Edén: El Poder Que Protege a la Pornografía Infantil (The Demons of Eden: The Power That Protects Child Pornography), an exposé of child abuse and pornography rings in Cancun. She accuses a Cancun hotel owner of being involved in a child pornography ring and mentions that Puebla businessman Kamel Nacif Borge protected him. The book also implicates various well-known politicians.

In October 2005, seven months after the publication of her book, Nacif Borge sued Cacho for criminal defamation. In December of that year, police officers from Puebla forced her into a van and drove her 950 miles across Mexico, reportedly ramming gun barrels into her face and taunting her for 20 hours with threats that she would be drowned, raped, or murdered. She was then briefly imprisoned, but was released on bail.

On February 14, 2006, the Mexico City daily newspaper La Jornada revealed several telephone conversations between Nacif Borge and Mario Marín, governor of the state of Puebla. In these conversations, which took place before Cacho’s arrest, Marín and Nacif Borge discussed putting Cacho in jail and having her beaten and abused in order to silence her. The publication of the calls created a media frenzy. A year later, in January 2007, Cacho was acquitted of all charges of defamation.

Cacho, however, remains under threat. In 2009, she reported being watched and followed by unknown individuals, some of them armed. She has received death threats on her blog, including one which reportedly said that Cacho would soon appear with her throat slit. Although the death threats continue, police have refused to investigate these incidents.

In addition to Los Demonios del Edén, Cacho is also the author of Memorias de una Infamia (Memoirs of a Scandal, 2008) and Con mi hij@ no (Not with My Child, 2009). She is a columnist for the Mexico City newspaper El Universal. Cacho also founded and directs the Refuge Center for Abused Women of Cancun and is president of the Center for Women’s Assistance, which aids victims of domestic violence and gender discrimination.

Cacho has won many awards for her work, including the Tucholsky prize from Swedish PEN, the Freedom of Expression prize from Spanish Journalists’ Union in Valencia, the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, the Oxfam/Novib PEN Award for Free Expression, the Amnesty International Ginetta Sagan Award for Women and Children’s Rights, and the PEN Canada One Humanity Award.