May 16, 2016

Former El Paso Times stars featured at the Jalisco Cafe Forum May 21

Nacho Garcia Jr. self-portrait
The Best of Times

News release by Rick Melendrez
EL PASO, TEXAS -- They were the best the El Paso Times had to offer its readers, journalist and author Diana Washington Valdez and Cartoonist Nacho García Jr., who were both great at their game. Both are homegrown and educated in El Paso. Diana and Nacho are currently retired, but they are very much active in various publishing and artistic projects. 

You are invited to our next Jalisco Forum so you can hear them tell us about the big stories and breaking news while they were at the El Paso Times. 

Diana Washington Valdez is a courageous career journalist who dedicated her life to serving the public through her work. Her news articles, books, blogs, essays and collaborations with documentaries have given a resounding voice to the powerless. She is known internationally for her investigative work focusing on the notorious murders of women that began in 1993 in Juárez, Mexico.

Her book The Killing Fields: Harvest of Women was published 2006 by Peace at the Border and released in 2007. An earlier version of the book titled Cosecha de Mujeres: Safari en el Desierto Mexicano was published in Spanish (2005, Editorial Oceano). The exposé uncovered high-level corruption related to the women’s murders, the Juarez drug cartel and Mexico’s “dirty war.”

Diana faced serious threats from corrupt police and prominent people (and a narrow escape from arrest in Mexico) because of her investigations into the murders. Her investigation uncovered corruption at the highest levels of government. She responded to threats by expanding her investigation, and  by writing a book and authoring numerous articles for foreign language media and blogs, and by collaborating in numerous documentaries.

Sandy González, a former Drug Enforcement Administration official in El Paso, told German filmmaker Klaus Wollstein that “Diana’s life is in danger” due to her investigative work. Frank Evans, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation official, called her “a witness to the truth.” Her groundbreaking and meticulous reporting has produced extensive exclusive material for her newspaper and for other publishers and blogs.

The book caused such a sensation that it was sabotaged in various ways during its initial release. A Mexican official asked the U.S. government to conduct an inquiry into her book “because it contained information that was confidential” to the Mexican and U.S. governments.

Diana is also a U.S. military veteran and political science teacher at El Paso Community College. She is currently working on new book-length projects and with; her online memoir is continuing at

Following the forum, she will have a book signing.

Diana Washington Valdez in Juarez, MX
Nacho Garcia Jr.

Nacho García Jr. grew up in a loving home supported by his photographer artist mother and a policeman/detective father. Art was a big part of his life since he was old enough to hold a crayon, all through grade school, at Burges High School, and at UTEP, where he majored in fine arts with a minor in Biology. 

Nacho received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and worked in advertising. He first worked at the Downtown El Paso Popular Department Store, doing the basement newspaper layouts and illustrations. From there, he moved on to the El Paso Times, Scott Advertising Agency, the Cashway Home Improvement advertising department, the Tony Lama Boot Company/Admar Advertising Agency, and he ended his career at the El Paso Times Editorial and News Department. He retired in 2013 after 17 years of editorial cartooning, graphic design and illustrating for the El Paso Times.

Nacho has a 45-year career of commercial design and illustrating, as well as private-commissioned and freelance assignments. In addition, he illustrated three children's books, painted four murals and has drawn hundreds of private caricatures and portraits.

He is currently an artist-in-residence at the Rock House Cafe and Gallery, where you will find him every Saturday morning and the last Thursday nights of the month sketching and drawing the most interesting people in El Paso. You can also find him on Facebook.

You are invited to the Jalisco Cafe Forum, which is an informal setting. Come and break bread with your fellow El Pasoans. Bring business cards to exchange and enjoy a unique El Paso experience, where you can enjoy a delicious bowl of menudo or choose from our breakfast menu while at the same time enjoying an informative morning.

The Jalisco Forums are proudly hosted by Hector Chávez, Daisy Ramos & Rick Melendrez.

For more information contact Rick Melendrez @ 915-565-1663.

See you 9 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at the Jalisco Cafe, 
1029 E 7th Ave, El Paso, TX

Delicious Food for thought! 

Your hosts,
Hector Chavez
Daisy Ramos
Rick Melendrez