A Mexican journalist who was reported missing a week ago along with her two-year-old son told a local radio station she is in hiding and in good condition, although she urged the government to offer her protection.
Stephania Cardoso, a police beat reporter for the daily Zocalo in Saltillo, the capital of the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, issued the plea for help during a brief telefone interview aired live on Friday afternoon by Radio Formula.
"I know the authorities are looking for me and right now I'd rather not give details. Thank God my son and I are well and the only thing we ask is support from the federal authorities to guarantee our safety, the protection of the Mexican government for me and my son," she said.
In the meantime, Cardoso said she and her child will remain in hiding for safety reasons.
She said with a trembling voice that she placed the call because she knows many people are worried about her and wished to let her family know that she is alive, adding that for safety reasons she could not contact them directly.
Cardoso and her son went missing a week ago in Coahuila after last being seen at a Freedom of Expression Day event on the night of June 7.
The news became public when the reporter's mother notified the Coahuila state Attorney General's Office, which launched an investigation into her disappearance.
According to the report, Cardoso headed home from the event in the wee hours of June 8 and a few minutes later called co-workers to tell them she was safe.
But no one could reach her later that same day and she failed to show up for work.
"Many thanks to the people who I know are worried about us," Cardoso said, adding that the non-governmental organization Articulo 19 will serve as an intermediary between her and the federal authorities in providing her with protection.
Minutes later, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said on Twitter that the federal Attorney General's Office will ensure the journalist's safety.
"Fortunately the Saltillo journalist Estefania (sic) Cardoso Rodriguez has turned up alive with her young son. She'll have the protection of the (AG's office)," he wrote.
Cardoso covered the police beat, reporting on accidents, fires, robberies and other crimes, "without covering organized crime, specifically drug trafficking," the Foundation for Freedom of Expression, or Fundalex, said in a statement after the journalist went missing.
The police reporter is the 15th journalist to disappear in Mexico since 2000 and the second reporter to go missing in Coahuila, Fundalex said.
Rafael Ortiz, another reporter for the Zocalo newspaper, disappeared on July 8, 2006, the foundation said.
Mexico, where nearly 80 journalists have been murdered since 2000, is considered the world's second most dangerous country for members of the media. EFE