Mexico City: Palast Wins Journalism Award

Nicole Powers
Association of Mexico Journalists annual awards, Mexico City.

The Association of Mexican Journalists has awarded Greg Palast their 2019 prize for International Reporter for his exposés on the theft of elections from Georgia to Mexico and his reporting from Venezuela.

Recipients are chosen each year by a panel from throughout Latin America. Palast was presented the award at a ceremony held at the organization’s headquarters in Mexico City on Friday, June 7. The ceremony was covered live by the nation’s television outlets, expecting the President of Mexico to appear to present the award. But President Andreas Manuel Lopez Obrador (universally called AMLO) was in the difficult last minutes of negotiating the agreement that backed down U.S. President Donald Trump from his threat to impose tariffs that could have crushed the economies of both nations.

In a nod to the tense moment, the biggest applause from the audience of Latin America’s top journalists came when Palast said, “Most of us in the U.S. oppose the latest Trump tariff tantrum.”

Palast also acknowledged his fellow award recipient, Julian Assange, now imprisoned in Britain, facing extradition to the U.S.

“Assange is in prison today for the sole crime of letting Americans know the truth about their own government and the deadly crimes of our leaders.”

Palast tried to explain the problems that result from America’s press, which is weaker and more submissive to the viewpoint of the moneyed class than the Latin press.

“If my fellow Americans seem as ignorant and crazy as chihuahuas, foolishly electing people like George Bush and Donald Trump, forgive them, because my countrymen don’t get the truth through their news, only exposure to a torrent of cheap propaganda.”

Palast with fellow honoree Stella Collini.

The third international prize went to Argentine Stella Colloni for a lifetime of investigative scoops, including risking her life to expose “Operation Condor,” the CIA’s program to assassinate Left officials in Chile and throughout Latin America. [Photo at right with Palast.]

Palast concluded by recognizing the astonishing courage of Mexico’s reporters. “I am honored to accept this award — from a courageous nation of journalists far more courageous than me, who have given their lives to report the news. All I can do is commit to honor your award by continuing to fight to uncover the truth, whether in Caracas or Mexico or Washington.”

* * * * *

Palast’s acceptance speech:
[original in Spanish]

My esteemed fellow reporters,

If my fellow Americans seem as ignorant and crazy as chihuahuas, foolishly electing people like George Bush and Donald Trump, forgive them, because my countrymen don’t get the truth through their news, only exposure to a torrent of cheap propaganda.

But let me defend my countrymen.

Americans never elected George Bush. In 2000, I discovered how Bush stole the election in Florida. My story for BBC, The British Broadcasting Corporation, was published all over the world — except in my own nation.

And later, in 2006, they stole another election. Here, in Mexico.

I directed an investigation for The Guardian of England that proved, without any doubt, that AMLO [now President Lopez Obrador] had won. That story was completely disappeared from the media in my country.

Don’t blame Americans. They really believe Donald Trump was elected President.

Let me tell you today that that did not happen.

Before the 2016 elections, Trump’s political agents eliminated 1,100,000 Black and Hispanic citizens from the voter rolls. If it were not for the purge of these voters and the disappearance of their ballots, Trump would not be President.

I reported this discovery for Al Jazeera and in Rolling Stone magazine, but the U.S. television news kept Americans in the dark.

I’ve brought some copies of my film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, which has subtitles in Spanish, which explains how Trump stole the election and how he can steal the next one in 2020. I do this to protect my countrymen from being blamed for electing this spoiled, rich, fanatic, orange-stained baby.

And permit me to add, most of us in the USA oppose the latest Trump tariff tantrum.

Today, as I accept this honor, I am sadly aware of the absence of my fellow journalist, Julian Assange.

Assange is in prison today for the sole crime of letting Americans know the truth about their own government and the deadly crimes of our leaders.

I am honored to accept this award — from a courageous nation of journalists far more courageous than me, who have given their lives to report the news. All I can do is commit to honor your award by continuing to fight to uncover the truth, whether in Caracas or Mexico or Washington.

Thank you so much.