Diaspora

New Roles for Maria Abi-Habib and Natalie Kitroeff in Mexico City – The New York Times Company

It’s been a great year for Maria Abi-Habib, our bureau chief, and Natalie Kitroeff, our correspondent, in Mexico City. Now both of them will be stepping into exciting new roles. Read more about their next moves.
Maria Abi-Habib and Natalie Kitroeff delivered expansive coverage of the assassination of Haiti’s president last year, reporting that went on to receive a Polk award and become a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Maria also ferreted out a secret airstrip used by drug traffickers to find a motive for the killing. And Natalie showed how the U.S. government’s backing of Haiti’s increasingly authoritarian leader helped fuel the country’s descent into turmoil.
Now we’re thrilled to announce that they will both be taking on new assignments in the Mexico City bureau.
Maria Abi-Habib, The New York Times’s Mexico bureau chief, is taking her impeccable reporting skills to a newly created position: investigative correspondent with a primary focus on Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America.
Maria’s reporting in Haiti last year revealed staggering levels of corruption and criminality within the Haitian president’s inner circle, as well as a history of corruption and mismanagement by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Haiti.
She followed up her exclusives with an even bigger one: The slain president had been drafting a secret dossier on the activities of drug and arms traffickers that hit men had been tasked with retrieving from the president’s home the night of his death.
“Following the assassination in July of Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moïse, the muddled explanations that dribbled out of the country made little sense. Now a sweeping investigation by The New York Times into his intensifying efforts to challenge the powerful criminal drug-trafficking networks that permeate Haiti’s government, security forces and business elite has shed light on the killing and the likely reasons behind it,” The Washington Post editorial board wrote about her work.
This year, Maria has driven The Times’ continuing coverage of Haiti’s descent into gang rule and the cartel violence encroaching on Mexico’s government. Most recently, Maria investigated a major infrastructure project in southern Mexico — the Maya Train — which the president has promised will reinvigorate the region. But Maria’s reporting found that current and former officials fear the project is headed for disaster, including the risk of collapsing into the ground.
Since arriving in Mexico City in April 2020, Natalie Kitroeff has been a tour de force in her coverage of the region. So when it came time to look for a new bureau chief, we knew it had to be her.
As the Mexico City bureau chief, Natalie will drive our news coverage in the region as we approach a crucially important presidential election season in Mexico, with far-reaching implications for the United States.
In 2020, Natalie’s coverage of the impact of Covid-19 revealed that officials in Mexico City were concealing the severity of the virus from citizens and that a nationwide shortage of oxygen tanks was leaving Mexicans to die at home.
She also led a team that uncovered serious flaws in the construction of Mexico City’s subway system that resulted in the collapse of an overpass that killed 26 people and injured scores more — an investigation that is now part of a package of stories that is a Loeb award finalist this year.
Natalie’s reporting has also shined a spotlight on the Biden administration’s policies in Central America: She showed how the growing migration crisis on the southern border has paralyzed the United States’ anti-corruption platform just as regional strongman leaders have tightened their hold on power, and how billions of dollars spent on aid programs have failed to stem migration.
In July, she led the bureau’s examination of the U.S. ambassador’s relationship with Mexico’s president, which many U.S. officials fear is setting back American interests in the region.
This month, Natalie returned to The Daily, making frequent appearances as a guest host.
Congratulations to Maria and Natalie who will both be stepping into these new roles in the fall.
Michael Slackman, Lauren Katzenberg, Greg Winter and Diego Ribadeneira
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