“But then police and first-aid people said it wasn’t a palazo, it was a balazo.
“I came the following day and almost every day after that for two years.
“We based our first article on what the doctor told us about the wounds,” says Cortés. “A lady, Dr. Aubanel, sister of the ex-wife of the current mayor of Tijuana, Carlos Bustamante. Aubanel’s a cardiologist. She said she saw evidence of wounds from two different bullets. But she only said that once. She wouldn’t say that anymore. The government came right out and said there was only one gun involved, and I believe she was told from then on to say that she wasn’t an expert.”
Cortés was under the same pressure: to go along with the government’s lone-gunman line, that Mario Aburto Martínez was the sole shooter and plotter. But within four days, Cortés and Cordero were convinced otherwise. They wrote the story with the headline that sent a ripple through the nation: “Colosio: Victim of a Plot.”
Eighteen years after the assassination, there is still no agreement. “They handled the question in the movie the same way we did in the book,” says Cortés. “It could have involved organized crime, political groups, or the [old guard] interests that were affected by the naming of Colosio.”
The most widely believed theory is that Colosio proved too keen a reformer. Just days before he was shot, Colosio gave a speech to huge crowds in Mexico City: “I see in Mexico a hunger and a thirst for justice...women and men afflicted by the abuse of the authorities or by the arrogance of governmental offices.”
It was an open push toward a more transparent and responsive democracy. The old guard of the PRI must have been having heart attacks.
And although other papers clung tenaciously to the single-shooter line (including, surprisingly, the fearless Tijuana weekly Zeta), today, nearly two decades later, Cortés feels a little vindicated by the movie we’ve seen.
“It’s fiction, but it’s very similar to what we uncovered,” she says. “I think they read our book very closely, and then they worked out the movie script.”
So, has anything changed in the intervening years?
“The fact that they were able to make and exhibit this movie shows we have made some progress.” ■