Mexico continues to be the most dangerous place for journalists where most attacks on press freedom come at the hands of organized crime and government officials. Despite the constant assurances by the Mexican government, since 2016, the nation suffered the murders of 32 journalists with most of those cases still unsolved.
The escalating violence against journalists in Mexico and the impunity with which attacks take place earned the country in 2017 the ranking for the most dangerous place for journalists, according to the International Press Institute. During that year alone, the press freedom organization documented the murders of 14 journalists. In 2016, there were 11 journalists murdered in Mexico, with the death tolls only being higher in Afghanistan and Iraq, Mexico’s Proceso reported. Six months into 2018, Mexico saw the murders of six journalists; however other groups claim the figure is seven to include the murder of a newspaper editor in Mexico City during a robbery gone wrong.
The international press freedom organization Article 19 reported a rate of 1.5 attacks per day against journalists in 2017; the attacks included threats, physical attacks, and murders.
As Breitbart Texas reported in 2017, Los Zetas carried out one of many attacks against El Mañana in Nuevo Laredo, forcing the publication to stop printing for two days. In prior years, cartels threw grenades, kidnapped editors, and carried out other attacks against El Mañana in Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, and Matamoros.
The IPI claims that since 2006, when Mexico is said to have officially started its war on drugs, there have been more than 80 journalists killed in Mexico.
More violence is expected in the coming days as Mexico prepares for its presidential election on July 1. The likelihood of violence and the expected protests pushed the Center for the Protection of Journalists to publish a safety advisory for those covering the process. The 2018 electoral cycle is Mexico’s bloodiest with at least 130 candidates murdered in a span of 10 months.
In only five months, Mexico saw the murders of six journalists while only one of those cases is apparently resolved. In late May, authorities found the body of Hector Gonzalez Antonio in a vacant lot in the Estrella neighborhood of Ciudad Victoria, the capital of Tamaulipas. Gonzalez was a national correspondent for Excelsior and worked in various local outlets. He was kidnapped, tortured, and then left for dead in the vacant lot. His murder remains unsolved.
Five days before Gonzalez’s death, a similar homicide took place in the border state of Nuevo Leon when authorities discovered the body of Alicia Diaz Gonzalez, a writer for El Financiero. Diaz Gonzalez was also beaten to death and left in a pool of blood in her home near Monterrey. In that case, authorities tracked down the victim’s spouse and was charged for the murder.
Earlier in May, in the southern state of Tabasco, a team of gunmen shot radio journalist Juan Carlos Huerta as he was leaving his home in Villa Hermosa. The case was labeled a targeted assassination but remains unsolved, Breitbart Texas reported.
In March, a team of gunmen shot and killed Leobardo Vazquez Atzin in Veracruz. Vazquez ran the online news site Enlace Informativo Regional and recently reported on a local mayor tied to an illicit property grab. Soon after his reporting was published, the journalist claimed he was receiving threats from the politician, Breitbart Texas reported.
In February, a team of gunmen murdered satirist Leslie Ann Pamela Montenegro del Real at a restaurant in Acapulco, Guerrero. Montenegro, who went by the name “Nana Pelucas,” was a sharp critic of the Mexican government and social issues, but managed to upset drug cartels who threatened her shortly before her murder. The homicide remains unsolved.
In January, a team of assassins ambushed and killed Tamaulipas columnist and semi-retired journalist Carlos Dominguez Rodriguez in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. Dominguez was stabbed to death in front of his family. Authorities arrested a relative of the former mayor of Nuevo Laredo and several other individuals allegedly linked to the homicide.
Also in January, Jose Gerardo Martinez, an editor with El Universal, was purchasing toys for his family in Mexico City for the Three Wise Men celebration when he was robbed at gunpoint and killed, Breitbart Texas reported. In central Mexico, more families receive presents during the January 6 visit by the Three Wise Men than on Christmas Day.
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.