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Ginger Thompson Cabot Prize Citation

For nearly 15 years, New York Times Mexico bureau chief Ginger Thompson has been indispensable reading for those who want to understand the intimate and sometimes painful relationship between the United States and its near neighbors of Mexico, Central America and Haiti.

In an era when U.S. reporters are finding less and less space for news from Latin America, Thompson has demonstrated that there is not a more compelling way to draw attention to important issues than through the eyes of her real-life subjects. From her base in Mexico, her reporting has spread far and wide.

Her piercing curiosity and keen sense of human rights have produced unusually dramatic and tightly woven stories on U.S.-backed death squads in Central America, the mysterious disappearances and murders of women on the U.S.-Mexico border, anarchy in Haiti, the growing threat of US-based Latino gangs in Central America and the pathetic plight of smuggled illegal aliens making their way to United States in dangerous sea voyages -- just to mention a few.

Ginger Thompson
Ginger Thompson, Mexico bureau chief for the New York Times

A decade ago, she was a co-author for an award-winning 1995 series for The Baltimore Sun on the US-backed Honduran death squad, Battalion 3-16. Her coverage of the murder and disappearance of women in Ciudad Juarez and the indifference of the authorities to their plight, required a deep understanding of Mexican culture. Her attention to human drama created a detailed, anecdotal record of the scourge of kidnappings in Haiti.

Her sensitivity to the human plight behind the big political stories is evident in her reporting on US-based Latino gangs in Central America, as well as her coverage of the under-reported violence along the Mexican border.

In a year of debate in the U.S. about immigration, her reporting on Ecuadorians trying to reach the U.S. via Guatemala, through illegal sea journeys, describes not only a very sophisticated smuggling operation but also the desperation of the immigrants involved.

Published: Jun 26, 2006
Last modified: Jun 26, 2006