Press freedom groups denounced the murder of a Mexican journalist who was gunned down after receiving threats and bribe offers to stop reporting on a local politician in the state of Veracruz.
Unknown gunmen shot and killed Leobardo Vasquez Atzin in the town of Gutierrez Zamora, Veracruz. The murder comes just days after Vasquez stated on his Facebook page, Enlace Informativo Regional, that he received threats after reporting on public corruption in the town of Tecolutla. The town’s mayor is allegedly involved in an illicit property grab. Vasquez worked for various local newspapers before starting Enlace Informativo Regional.
“The murder of Leobardo Vázquez Atzin is the latest in a string of murders in Veracruz state, the most dangerous area for journalists in the western hemisphere,” Jan-Albert Hootsen the Mexico representative for the press freedom organization Committee to Protect Journalists said in a prepared statement denouncing the murder.
Vasquez’ murder is the third of its kind in Mexico since the start of 2018. This follows a bloody 2017 where more than a dozen journalists were murdered with complete impunity. The ongoing attacks on reporters and the press led the International Press Institute to label Mexico as the deadliest country for journalists. The number of murders of journalists surpassed Iraq and Syria, Breitbart Texas reported at the time.
Last year, three of the murders took place in Veracruz, considered to be one of the deadliest states for journalists.
In early January, Jose Gerardo Martinez, an editor for El Universal, was killed in an apparent robbery gone wrong as he bought toys for his children in Mexico City, Breitbart Texas reported.
Just one week later, a team of hitmen murdered Carlos Dominguez Rodriguez in front of his family in the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. The independent journalist wrote a column denouncing cartel violence in the region shortly before his murder. Soon after his murder, members of the Cartel Del Noreste, the drug cartel that runs Nuevo Laredo, ordered local journalists to drop the story — issuing a gag order of sorts so as not to look into the case nor hold protests or other events.
While not considered a journalist in the traditional sense, unknown gunmen killed Leslie Ann Pamela Montenegro in February. She was a satirist known as “La Nana Pelucas” who made a name for herself as a government and social critic on Youtube. A team of suspected cartel assassins killed the artist at a restaurant in the Mexican beach resort city of Acapulco, Guerrero. The satirist managed to offend drug cartels with the content of her writing/ This led to cartel gunmen issuing a series of threats that eventually led to her murder.
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. He can be contacted at Iortiz@breitbart.com.
Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.