top of page

The Red Note podcast profiled in El Economista

Today's issue of the Mexican newspaper El Economista featured an interview with The Red Note producer Estefania Bonilla Hernandez about the podcast and the problem of femicide in Ciudad Juarez and across Mexico.

A full translation of the Economista article is reproduced below.


Podcast "The Red Note" denounces the feminicides and the disappeared in Ciudad Juárez

A team of documentary filmmakers and journalists collaborated in a sound testimony that addresses the case of systematic gender violence in that city as a paradigm of atomization in the country.

By Ricardo Quiroga / El Economista

In January 1993, the Chihuahua state police discovered a body in the desert outside Ciudad Juárez. It was the body of Alma, who is historically considered the first reported victim in the series of murders in the border city. Between May and October of the same year, the findings of the bodies of 10 other young women in the desert were reported. All were victims of violence and sexual assault. Most were between 13 and 22 years old. They were members of low-income families, many of them students and / or workers in the maquiladoras installed in Ciudad Juárez during the last three decades.

Despite the fact that by December of that year, when the bodies of at least 25 women were found on the outskirts of the city, the authorities refused to acknowledge that a pattern of gender violence was taking place. They did not dedicate resources to solve the femicides. And in the absence of an investigation, the task of searching and investigating was assumed by the families of the victims.

The confrontation of mothers and fathers to search for their relatives, the finding of patterns, the evident systematic violence exercised even from the institutions: the justifications of the authorities, who held the families responsible; the perpetuation of organized crime, hypersexualization in the workplace, the minimization of cases, the fabrication of guilty parties, the evidence disappeared by the police, the alleged reparation of damages with economic amounts in exchange for the families not continuing with your investigation.

All this, every detail that civil society managed to find out and the authorities tried to evade, is part of the podcast series in two languages ​​entitled “La nota roja”, which is produced, written and narrated by the Mexican journalist and activist Lydia Cacho and that since last September 22, a new episode has begun to premiere every week until reaching 10 deliveries. The series is also written by the film director Craig Whitney, with the main production by Estefanía Bonilla, with whom El Economista spoke about this narrative work.

“One of the things that must be understood about this phenomenon is that it plagues not only Mexico but all of Latin America and I would dare to say that the whole world. We are taking much of the issue of Ciudad Juárez as a place for case studies to try to explain from the particular point of view a phenomenon that is occurring at a global level, ”explains Bonilla.

She points out that the work is designed both for those who know the case and for those who will approach it through this sound work. For those who know him, she indicates, the podcast has turned out to be "a remover of memories and emotions that are not easy to digest and deal with." While for those who do not know the fatal story, still without an outcome, the podcast offers enough tools to understand the reasons for the phenomenon and why it continues to occur, now not only in the boundaries of Ciudad Juárez.

“It is still very current, unfortunately. But it is through this global circumstance that we go back and tell the story based on the interviews and field work that we carried out together with the journalist Alicia Fernández, who lent us her research, her contacts and helped us to put together the argument. It became really feasible for us to explain the whole global context of how this is affecting families and the country today ”.

In this way, "La nota roja" collects testimonies and opinions from people involved in the investigation of the cases, such as the librarian and author Molly Molloy, who doubts that the series of murders of women in Ciudad Juárez had such an appearance. outright, as what happened in 1993, when public opinion began to know about them, since previously they were not being counted in the official statistics; or feminist activist and playwright Eve Ensler, who said that Ciudad Juárez "felt like a war zone against women, where the violence of poverty merged with the violence of sexual brutality and murder.”

Estefanía Bonilla explains that “unfortunately, until it is your turn and it is not close to you, you do not pay attention. But that is the reason why it is necessary to return to Ciudad Juárez, because it is precisely the first place where you can find the possible answers. That is the reason why the profession of the journalist has also turned out to be so dangerous, because of course answers have been reached, the issue is that they should not come to light. Many of these responses are in the mechanisms of impunity that the State has generated precisely in order not to resolve these cases, not so much because it is not interested but because it goes against its economic and electoral interests. Trying to arrive at those answers is now the great work that we all have before us. Some have lost their lives because of it. But we believe today more than ever that it is necessary for us to start moving forward as a civil society ”.

It doesn't take much digging to reveal the extent of the violence in the country. In the case of the podcast, in the first minutes of the first episode, after recounting a violent moment experienced during the investigation, journalist Lydia Cacho, who lives outside the country due to the constant threats and homicide attempts, anticipates:

"I have to tell this story with my heart in my hands because I know that the systematic murders of women and girls will never end until we can tell the whole truth about how and why they happen and who are responsible for them in the chains of power" .

Due to the complexity of the work, the production team decided to make at the same time a documentary under the direction of Estefanía Bonilla, scheduled to premiere in 2021 with the name "Flowers of the desert: Stories of the red note", the process of which was will speak in the next installment of this series.

The content is available on Apple Podcast and Spotify, in two versions: Spanish and English.

List of chapters available so far:

• "The Crimes"

• "The Ripper of Juárez"

• "The invisible hand"

• "Monster hunt"

• "The usual suspects"

Releases, every Tuesday from 3:00 am center of the country.

This is how it begins:

“Until a few years ago, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, was known as‘ the most dangerous city in the world ’, and with good reason. In 2010, one was more likely to be murdered in Juárez than in Tijuana, Matamoros, the favelas of Brazil, Syria or Somalia. More than 3,700 people died in a year during the war between the Juárez and Sinaloa cartels for control of the city. Before this outbreak of violence emerged, Juárez was known to the outside world as 'the city that killed women.'


bottom of page