19 The Robert Spiers Benjamin Award

Richard Marosi

Best reporting in any medium on Latin America

AWARD DATE: 2017

AWARD NAME: 19 The Robert Spiers Benjamin Award

AWARD RECIPIENT: Richard Marosi

AWARD RECIPIENT AFFILIATION: Los Angeles Times

AWARD HONORED WORK:Mexico’s Housing Debacle: A Failed Vision

AWARD SPONSOR: JetBlue

Through rigorous investigation and compelling writing, Richard Marosi of the Los Angeles Times exposed the origins of a $100 billion scandal that has littered Mexico with shoddy housing projects and the broken aspirations of millions of would-be homeowners. Conceived at the turn of the century as a public-private initiative to build affordable suburbs across the country, the program raised billions from global investors and sparked the largest residential construction boom in Latin America. But instead of lifting up working-class families, the Times found, the program set off a “slow-motion social and financial catastrophe.” Drawing on documents, interviews and inspection of 50 developments from Tijuana to the Gulf of Mexico, Marosi chronicled how corruption, poor planning and impunity trapped thousands of Mexicans in unhealthy, sub-standard housing many could not afford. The Times series skillfully explored themes of poverty, inequality, corruption and accountability. It is a powerful example of investigative reporting and lucid writing arrayed against a major public issue hiding in plain sight.

Citation Recipient: Almudena Toral, Maye Primera, Oscar Martinez and Carlos Martinez
Affiliation: Univision News Digital/El Faro
Honored Work: “From Migrants to Refugees: The New Plight of Central Americans
(Judge Carlos Dada recused himself from the citation selection.)

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