Two gunmen in Mexico shot and killed a journalist who exposed political corruption in the state of Chiapas. The journalist had previously been targeted for kidnapping and death. The murder raises the death toll to 14 Mexican journalists killed in the first nine months of 2018.
The murder took place in the city of Yajalón, Chiapas when Mario Leonel Gomez Sanchez was as he left his home. Two gunmen went up to him and fired several times striking him in the midsection. Emergency medical personnel rushed the journalist to a local hospital, but he was dead on arrival. Hours after the murder, the Chiapas Attorney General’s Office condemned the murder and announced that they would be handling the investigation.
Gomez worked for El Heraldo de Chiapas where he reported on political matters as well as crime. The 40-year-old journalist had been the target of threats and a failed kidnapping attempt in 2016 after he had exposed two corrupt public officials. According to the press freedom organization Article 19, in 2016 Gomez reported on the alleged embezzlement of public funds by federal congressman Leonardo Guirao Aguilar and substitute congressman Ricardo Lopez Montejo — both from Mexico’s Green Party. Following the exposé, the driver of one of the congressmen contacted him on social media to threaten him. At the same time, Gomez was warned about a group of gunmen setting up an ambush to kidnap him on his way to the city’s downtown area. Shortly after the threat, Gomez received protection from state authorities but the security measures in place had since been removed leaving him a vulnerable target.
Breitbart Texas reported that 2018 is yet another deadly year for journalists and media workers:
- August 29 — Javier Rodriguez Valladares was a cameraman and TV journalist for Canal 10 in Cancun, Quintana Roo. He was shot along one of the main avenues in the tourist hotspot.
- August 8 — Rodolfo Garcia Gonzalez was a freelance photographer who often worked with Semanario7. He was shot and killed in Guanajuato.
- July 24 — Ruben Pat Cauich was a veteran journalist who founded the online outlet La Playa News in Quintana Roo, not far from Cancun. He had been previously threatened and was ultimately killed at a bar in the tourist hotspot of Playa Del Carmen.
- July 3 — José Guadalupe Chan Dzib was a crime reporter for La Playa News, Aqui y Ahora, and other local outlets near Cancun, Quintana Roo. He was gunned down outside of a local bar in Playa Del Carmen.
- May 29 — Hector Gonzales Antonio was a national correspondent for Excelsior and worked in various local outlets. He was kidnapped, tortured, and dumped in a vacant lot.
- May 24 — Alicia Diaz Gonzalez, a financial writer for one of Mexico’s largest publications, was found beaten to death in her home in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon.
- May 14 — Juan Carlos Huerta Martínez, a reporter and broadcast host, was killed by a team of gunmen outside his home in Tabasco.
- March 21 — Leobardo Vázquez Atzin ran the online news site Enlace Informativo Regional in Veracruz who reported on a local mayor tied to an illicit property grab and was killed by a team of gunmen.
- February 14 — Pedro Damián Gómez Bonifaz, director-owner of the Panorama Político, was found dead with obvious signs of trauma caused by a sharp-edged weapon at his home in Tijuana, Baja California.
- February 5 — Leslie Ann Pamela Montenegro del Real, a popular YouTube satirist and blogger who used the pseudonym “La Nana Pelucas,” was gunned down while eating dinner at a restaurant in Acapulco.
- January 21 — Agustín Silva Vásquez, a freelance police reporter from El Sol del Istmo, disappeared in Matías Romero, Oaxaca, according to his family members who reported his kidnapping. Silva Vásquez is presumed dead.
- January 13 — Carlos Dominguez Rodriguez was ambushed and killed by a team of assassins in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, who stabbed him 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 case.
- January 6 — José Gerardo Martínez Arriaga, an editor with El Universal, was purchasing toys for his family in Mexico City when he was robbed and killed at gunpoint.
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 the 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.
Tony Aranda from the Cartel Chronicles project contributed to this report.