“The Fixer”, dangers and exploits of a key figure for journalism



Mexico City, Aug 8 (EFE) .- The book “El Fixer”, by the Mexican Miguel Ángel Vega, narrates in first person the exploits and dangers experienced by a journalist who manages to get “bone deep” in the world of organized crime .

“The engine of the book are the stories that a journalist lives in his eagerness to open access to documentary filmmakers, writers, directors and foreign correspondents who come to Mexico to record all kinds of issues,” Miguel Ángel Vega, known to Efe, tells this Sunday ” fixer “(guide) born in 1971 in Culiacán, northwestern state of Sinaloa, cradle of the cartel of the same name.

In his first book, the film director also describes, between the anecdote and the implacable testimony, his decision to enter the bowels of the cartels more than a decade ago for his cinematographic films, or the terror that the brutal murder of Javier Valdez in 2017, his companion in the weekly Riódoce.

FUNDAMENTAL AND INVISIBILIZED?

With a thousand and one stories such as the difficult filming of a documentary in the homeland of Joaquín “el Chapo” Guzmán, which included threats and the most diverse characters, Vega describes the world of the “fixer”, who has the “capacity” to “suggest stories” to foreign journalists.

And already on the ground he becomes a “todologist” capable of producing a theme, hiring drivers, renting equipment and dealing with complex situations in “high risk” areas, always safeguarding the safety of the team.

“You have to make sure that if a foreign team enters Mexico, they go as they arrived and no one gets hurt. That is why the figure of the ‘fixer’ is very basic in this type of coverage,” he stressed.

Vega has been on the verge of not telling it on many occasions, such as the one in which during a recording there was an armed clash between the interviewees and their rival group, with the team of reporters involved.

For this reason, he claims the figure of the “fixer” and, although unlike some of his colleagues he does not “bother” when he is not given “credit”, he defends that many reports are “crystallized” thanks to the “fixer”.

THE MOST HUMAN SIDE

Throughout the more than 300 pages of the book, edited by Penguin Random House, Miguel Ángel Vega also makes an X-ray of the world of drug trafficking and its different characters, from hitmen to drug cooks or high command.

“The goal of the ‘fixer’ is to gain the trust of these people,” explained the writer, who has often found himself in difficult situations and recalls that the greatest fear of a drug trafficker is to run into an undercover agent of the Control Agency. Drugs of the United States (DEA).

A native of Culiacán, he assures that 100% of the municipality’s population is “two degrees” apart from iconic characters, such as El Chapo and his family.

“The issue of drug trafficking is a culture that has permeated all social spheres,” says Vega, who affirms that the gunmen “are like you and me.”

“They are charming, they are intelligent, they are dreamers, they are nice. And they yearn one day to be something more than a simple hit man”, points out the filmmaker, who although he recognizes that there are reasons to “demonize” them, they are also the fruit of a “future truncated”.

About the bosses, Vega states: “He is not the archetype of a wild, ignorant person with bizarre tastes. They may not have education but they are well informed and know how to do business. They are very analytical and can be very cold.”

THE DANGERS IN MEXICO

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries for the practice of journalism. The NGO Article 19 has documented 141 murders from 2000 to date, in possible cases related to its work.

A total of 43 journalists have been assassinated during the term of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, seven of them with protection mechanisms, as recognized by the government.

“Many journalists try to keep that distance, they even censor themselves because they know that the government, the authority, is not going to do its job,” he explains.

Vega lived closely with the cruel crime of the renowned journalist Javier Valdez, perpetrated by gunmen who shot him twelve times. “I felt insecurity, then confusion, then pain, and finally anger came,” he recalls.

After more than a decade, Vega left the job of “fixer” and the reasons are clear: “I think I already saw it or lived it all. I just need to live death, and I’m avoiding it. (…) It was too much, I was already to the bone and there is a point at which one must know how to stop and pay attention to fear. ”

In this context – and while he continues to pursue his dreams of making movies and has his third film “Before Dawn” in the pipeline – Vega is very clear that the Mexican president’s almost daily attacks against the press do not improve security or freedom of movement. expression.

“I can only say one word. It’s ridiculous,” he concludes.

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