Tagged: murder of journalists

Violence in Mexico hits 20-year high

(OCCRP) — Mexico witnessed a record-breaking number of homicides and murder investigations in May, according to government data.

Last month, 2,186 murders were committed surpassing 2011’s record, statistics that go back two decades show.

The number of murder investigations also peaked in May dating back to 1997. Several probes likely include multiple homicides.

“Pretty grim. Not shocking, because we’ve seen this for months,” Mexican security analyst Alejandro Hope said.

Mexico recorded 9,916 murders since the beginning of 2017, roughly a 30% increase over the same period last year, underscoring the country’s struggle to deal with escalating organized crime groups.

The deadliest state was Guerrero, in the south, a hotbed for Mexico’s war on drugs where 216 people were killed.

In the western state of Sinaloa 154 people were killed – the highest number in six years -due to violence driven by rival groups vying to fill the void left by the arrest and extradition of drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Mexico launched a militarized offensive to fight drug trafficking in 2006. Since then, over 200,000 people have been presumed dead or missing as rival cartels wage war on each other and the army.

The country’s escalating violence has hit journalists especially hard claiming most recently the life of well-respected drug trafficking reporter, Javier Valdez Cardenas.

The ensuing conflict has further damaged President Enrique Pena Nieto’s popularity.

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Journalist’s murder underscores growing threat in Mexico

(BREITBART) — MEXICO CITY — The staff of the weekly newspaper Riodoce normally meets on Wednesdays to review its plans for coverage of the most recent mayhem wrought in Sinaloa state by organized crime, corrupt officials and ceaseless drug wars. But on this day, in the shadow of their own tragedy, they’ve come together to talk about security.

It’s important to change their routines, they are told. Be more careful with social media. Don’t leave colleagues alone in the office at night. Two senior journalists discuss what feels safer: to take their children with them to the office, which was the target of a grenade attack in 2009, or to leave them at home.

Security experts have written three words on a blackboard at the front of the room: adversaries, neutrals, allies. They ask the reporters to suggest names for each column — no proof is needed, perceptions and gut feelings are enough

Allies are crucial. In an emergency, they would need a friend, a lawyer, an activist to call.

The longest list, by far, is enemies. There are drug traffickers, politicians, business people, journalists suspected of being on the payroll of the government or the cartels, a catalog of villains who make the job of covering Mexico’s chaos perilous.

There is no respite from the violence, and as bodies pile up across the country, more and more of them are journalists: at least 25 since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in December 2012, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, with at least seven dead in seven states so far this year. A total of 589 have been placed under federal protection after attacks and threats.

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Journalists bear invisible scars of Mexico’s drug war

(RAPPLER) — CHILPANCINGO, Mexico – After drug cartel thugs kidnapped him and threatened to burn him alive, Mexican journalist Jorge Martinez was so traumatized he couldn’t leave the house.

He and 6 colleagues were returning home after covering a police operation in the violent southern state of Guerrero on May 13 when some 100 masked gunmen from La Familia cartel hijacked their cars.

The narcos ended up letting them go after about 15 minutes. But it took Martinez, 44, two weeks to go outside again.

“Maybe it’s just nerves, but I feel like people are following me,” he almost whispered into the phone at the time, afraid to come out for an interview.

Two days after the kidnapping, another journalist – noted crime reporter and Agence France-Presse contributor Javier Valdez – was shot dead in broad daylight in the state of Sinaloa, scene of some of Mexico’s most brutal drug violence.

It was one of the highest-profile attacks targeting journalists in Mexico – a country where the phenomenon has become almost banal.

Journalists face harrowing risks to cover the bloody wars between Mexico’s rival cartels and the army, which have left a trail of tens of thousands of mangled bodies and hundreds of mass graves in their wake.

Reporters take their lives in their hands when they write anything that could be perceived as threatening, or even unflattering, by narcos or the corrupt government officials in bed with them.

Watchdog group Reporters Without Borders ranks Mexico as the most dangerous country in the world for journalists after Syria and Afghanistan.

Since 2006, when the government first sent the military to fight the cartels, nearly 100 journalists have been killed, more than 20 have disappeared, and more than 200 have been assaulted by drug traffickers.

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Veteran reporter Javier Valdez is 6th journalist murdered in Mexico since early March

(CHICAGO TRIBUNE) — Javier Valdez, an award-winning reporter who specialized in covering drug trafficking and organized crime, was slain Monday in the northern state of Sinaloa, the latest in a wave of journalist killings in Mexico.

Valdez is at least the sixth journalist to be murdered in Mexico since early March, an unusually high number even for one of the world’s deadliest countries for media professionals.

Valdez was shot to death in the early afternoon in the state capital of Culiacan, near the offices of the publication he co-founded, Riodoce. State Prosecutor Juan Jose Rios visited the scene and said authorities were investigating all possible motives, including that the killing could have been due to Valdez’s work, though he gave no details.

The national newspaper Milenio reported late Monday that another journalist and her son were shot dead by gunmen in the city of Autlan in Jalisco, another state known for cartel activity. Jalisco officials did not immediately respond to phone calls seeking confirmation.

Riodoce reported that Valdez was driving about a block from its offices when he was intercepted by gunmen. Valdez was also a correspondent for the national newspaper La Jornada, which reported that he was pulled from his car and shot multiple times.

Images in Mexican media showed a body lying in a street covered by a blue blanket and surrounded by 12 yellow markers of the kind typically used to flag evidence such as bullet casings.

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Murdered Mexican journalist exposed cartel-government connection

(BREITBART) — by Ildefonso Ortiz

The murder of a respected journalist in the Mexican state of Chihuahua appears to be driven by her work exposing the close ties between government officials and the Juarez Cartel. One of those investigations pointed to the mother-in-law of a cartel boss trying to run for mayor, while others looked into how the former governor of that state protected certain criminal organizations.

Over the weekend, journalists held protests in Mexico City, Torreón, and Monterrey; calling for a stop to the impunity that surrounds the murder of their colleagues. The protests come after cartel gunmen shot Miroslava Breach moments after she dropped her children off at school. As Breitbart Texas reported, the gunmen left a poster board signed by a Juarez Cartel boss that said Breach had been murdered for being a “Lenguona” or loudmouth.

While Breach’s murder has received minimal attention from international media, journalists in Mexico that spoke with Breitbart Texas revealed that they are deeply concerned by the ongoing wave of violence targeting them. As Breitbart Texas has reported, Breach’s murder is the third of its kind this year. In recent years, various freedom of the press organizations such as Reporters Without Borders and Article 19 have labeled Mexico as one of the most dangerous places to work in.

Breitbart Texas spoke with representatives of the Network of Journalists in Mexico’s Northeast who expressed their concern and anger at the impunity with which journalism continues to be silenced in Mexico. The organization continues to call on the Mexican government to investigate and punish not only the triggermen, but also those who ordered the various murders.

New information published by Breach’s employer, La Jornada, revealed that her investigation exposed how Juarez Cartel boss Carlos Arturo “El 80” Quintana had tried to get his mother-in-law Silvia Mariscal Estrada to be elected as the mayor of Bachiniva, Chihuahua. Quintana is listed as a wanted fugitive by the U.S. Department of Justice after being named in a federal indictment accusing him of various drug trafficking and drug smuggling charges in connection with the Juarez Cartel.

The move had the blessing of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and would have likely been successful had it not been for Breach and some of her close colleagues who exposed the cartel ties. At the time of the publication of that investigation, Chihuahua was run by former Governor Cesar Duarte Jaquez, a member of the PRI that left the state under a perceived cloud of corruption and narco-collusion. Breach and other journalists had been working to expose the dealings of Duarte and his close allies.

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