Abraham Rubio
Marco Antonio López
Juan Luis García
Nayeli Valencia

Mexican journalists awarded Bajo la Lupa 2021 investigative reporting grant

Bajo la Lupa has awarded a 2021 investigative reporting grant to a team of Mexican journalists whose winning proposal outlines a detailed portrait of the Mexican military, which has become the right hand of the Mexican presidency and an important ally to the United States in the fight against drug cartels.

The journalists are founders of the independent online news site Aguamala.mx, based in Mexico City and at the U.S.-Mexico border, that conducts in-depth reporting on national events made compelling by narrative storytelling.

The members of the team are:

  • Juan Luis García, who has reported in Mexico, Guatemala and the United States.  He was the first international fellow at The Texas Tribune and he also received a 2018 fellowship from the Alfred Friendly Foundation at the Missouri School of Journalism. In Mexico, he has been a news and investigative reporter for SinEmbargo.mx, Cuestione.com and EconomiaHoy.mx.
  • Marco Antonio López, who was part of the investigative journalism team for the documentary, “The three deaths of Marisela,” which premiered on Netflix in 2020. His work has been published by national and international media organizations such as El Universal, Newsweek en Español, La Silla Rota and Huffington Post en Español. He is also the author of the book, By the river, this desert.
  • Abraham Rubio, an independent journalist who has written about politics, human rights, social issues and the economy for publications in Mexico City and at the U.S.-Mexico border. His work has appeared in El Diario de Juárez, Pie de Página, La Verdad Juárez, El Pais, El Universal, Huffington Post and La Silla Rota.
  • Nayeli Valencia, a photojournalist who is focused on independent journalism. She collaborated on the book, Faces in the dark. Earthquake 19S, and now works with the team at Aguamala.

In response to our call for proposals, Bajo la Lupa received numerous investigative project ideas from Latin American journalists on issues ranging from human trafficking to deforestation to the clash of politics and science. Our international panel of judges singled out the proposal by the Mexican team, which focuses on the complex, secretive and rarely investigated Mexican military.

The judges said the team’s proposal “stood out for its bold approach to investigating the Mexican military.”  

The proposal “offers an opportunity to write a detailed portrait of the Mexican military, which has long been considered an institution that Mexicans trust as much or more than the Catholic Church. The Aguamala proposal aims to upend that thinking by showing with names and details how the military and its leaders have betrayed that trust and violated their oaths in ways that have cost lives,” the judges said.

The project will be published in late 2021.

Ignacio Rodríguez Reyna, a Mexican journalist, reporter, editor and media director, will be the project editor.

He has been editor-in-chief of the magazine Milenio Semanal, editorial director of the newspaper El Universal, and founder and CEO of the magazine Emeequis (2006-2018). He has worked as a reporter at El Financiero and the newspaper Reforma. And he is a founding associate of Quinto Element Lab.

The editorial teams working under Rodríguez Reyna’s guidance and supervision have won more than 55 national and international awards.

Bajo la Lupa was founded by InquireFirst in 2020 with a generous contribution by Anthony S. Da Vigo, a California attorney who is committed to improving the lives of Latin Americans.

He has been recognized for providing pro bono legal services for the Refugee Asylum Panel of Sacramento County and for accepting, investigating and winning the case of an El Salvadoran applicant marked for assassination by death squads.

Most recently, he funded the completion of a water project in Nicaragua, providing well water distribution to a church, a school and 65 homes.