Even pro-government journalists aren't safe from this kind of bullshit. "There was an opposition protest, and I was told to go there and look for any information that may disgrace the protesters," Veronica said. "Once I got to the place with the photographer, two guys came on a motorcycle and scream[ed] that we were from one of the most famous [independent media sources]." This was enough that "three middle-age men came out dressed in the same outfit, pointing at us with a shotgun and leading us to a building parking lot, where two of them started to stroke their penises, telling [me] that I would know what they do to 'imperialist saboteurs.'" They then proceeded to wail on her photographer until "he managed to pull out our media ID card, which let them realize that we were 'comrades.'"
When she returned to the office, she recounted the incident to her boss, who frankly could have been a bit more sympathetic. "He told me that I couldn't be so naive, and that it was my fault by putting them in a situation where they would mistake us with somebody else. Since that incident, he forced us to wear [a shirt with the company's logo] every time we cover something on the street, so the paramilitary know that we're 'the good guys.'"
Other journalists are handed shirts with bullseyes on them.
Ultimately, The Goal Is To Terrify Everyone Into Silence
Of course, the government has also made a habit of straight-up jailing reporters who don't play nice, like radio personality Braulio Jatar. He was coincidentally charged with "money laundering" immediately after publishing videos of a protest.
"Laundering money? What money?"
This was similar to what photojournalist "Antonio" went through some years ago, when he was taking pictures of a riot near his vacation home. "I took some photos of the event, and some guys from a famous newspaper told me to go with them to the newsroom in order to sell the photos for a very good price," he said. "Once I was in the car, those guys told that they were from the Intelligence Service, and I literally pissed my pants, which cost me several punches in my face." For the next 48 hours, things amazingly went downhill from there.
"When I got to the prison, they ordered me to call my mother and tell her that I was going to another city to make an investigation. Then I was jailed with other five guys in a tiny cell with no beds and no toilet, having to take turns to lie down and rest for 30 minutes in a floor full of urine, excrement, and puke of some who couldn't resist the disgusting smell."
They did rock-paper-scissors, and the 30-minute lie-down went to the loser.
He was starved for his first day, but on the second, "... they gave us rice and beans in a big pot as if we were animals. I only eat a little bit because it tasted horrible, I slept some hours on a guy's shoulder, and I didn't go to the bathroom even once."
He was released on the third day, but before he left, "... a cellmate told me that this was the modus operandi of the Intelligence Services, disguising as reporters in order to catch rioters and journalist[s]." Since he'd told them he was on vacation, Antonio was easy bait. "When I was about to leave, a soldier told me that if this incident appears on the press, they would 'fuck my entire family,' so I didn't say a single word to anyone."
Until now. Because fuck those guys entirely.
Robert Evans has a book about how prostitution, beer, hard drugs and cursing built civilization. You can read A Brief History of Vice now!
It's Spring Break! You know what that means: hot coeds getting loose on the beaches of Cancun and becoming imperiled in all classic beach slasher ways: man-eating shark, school of piranhas, James Franco with dreadlocks. There are so many films about vacations gone wrong, it's a chore to wonder if there's even such a thing as a movie vacation gone right. Amity Island and Camp Crystal Lake are out. So what does that leave? The ship from Wall-E? Hawaii with the Brady Bunch? A road trip with famous curmudgeon Chevy Chase? On this month's live podcast Jack O'Brien and the Cracked staff are joined by some special guest comedians to figure out what would be the best vacation to take in a fictional universe. Tickets are $7 and can be purchased here!
For more insider perspectives, check out My Wealthy Country Became A Dystopia Overnight: 6 Realities and 5 Apocalyptic Realities In A Country That's Out Of Food.
Have a story to share with Cracked? Email us here.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out 3 Foreign Countries That Just Don't Give a F#@%, and other videos you won't see on the site!
Follow us on Facebook, and let's be best friends forever.