After learning that local TV presenter Adela Jazmín Alcaraz López has been missing for the past five days in Rioverde, in the north-central state of San Luis Potosí, Reporters Without Borders reiterates its appeal to President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto to pledge to combat impunity in crimes of violence against journalists,
With a total of 85 journalists killed and 16 missing in the past decade – including five murdered and three disappeared in 2012 – Mexico continues to be the western hemisphere’s deadliest country for media personnel and other news and information providers.
“ What policy for combatting impunity will Peña Nieto implement after he is sworn in as president on 1 December?” Reporters Without Borders asked.
“How will justice will be rendered to the families of the victims of a decade of violence that was exacerbated by the federal offensive against drug-trafficking during the outgoing president’s six-year term? What are Peña’s plans for carrying out a complete overhaul of the judicial system, which is essential? These are not just our questions – they are the questions being asked by an entire population that no long trusts its institutions.”
A presenter for Canal 12 TV, Alcaraz has not been seen since 26 October. Her mother Enriqueta López Chávez, reported her disappearance to the prosecutor’s office in San Luis Potosí on 29 October and the police have begun an investigation. Reporters Without Borders hopes that every effort will be made to find her safe and sound.
The masked blogger known as Ruy Salgado El 5anto meanwhile resurfaced on 20 October after a month’s silence, posting an audio file on his El 5antuario blog announcing the website’s closure and saying goodbye, without offering any explanation for his disappearance or the termination of the El 5antuario project.
16.10.12 - Open letter to president-elect of a country with 100 dead or missing journalists
Dear President-Elect Peña Nieto,
You are ending a European tour with a visit to Paris before being sworn in as your country's next president on 1 December. Tomorrow you will meet with French President François Hollande and the next day you will address the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on "Changes in Mexico and their role in the panorama of global change."
Will the changes your refer to include the tragic toll of a decade of extreme violence in your country? Are they the proposals you plan to submit to you embattled country during your six years in office"
Culminating with outgoing President Felipe Calderón's federal offensive, the Mexican tragedy has had a toll of more than 60,000 of your fellow citizens killed in the cross-fire between the drug cartels and security forces that are often infiltrated by organized crime.
The victims include more than 100 journalists killed or missing - 85 killed and 16 disappeared - in the past decade. The latest are Ramón Abel López Aguilar, 53, photographer and editor of the Tijuana Informativo website, murdered yesterday in Tijuana, and “Ruy Salgado” also know as “El 5anto,” a Mexico City-based blogger who disappeared mysteriously on 8 September amid a controversy about last July's federal elections.
The country you will lead from 1 December onwards is also scarred by the terrible repression in San Salvador Atenco in May 2006, when you were Mexico state's governor. What justice will be rendered? What sustainable judicial system will allow the rule of law to be restored?
And which constitutional guarantees will at last be applied so that journalists, bloggers, human rights defenders, civil society representatives and now also electoral transparency activists are able to exercise their freedom to obtain and impart information and question the authorities without fear of being harassed or killed?
The way the investigation into López Aguilar's murder in Tijuana is already developing reminds us of all the other police and judicial investigations that were either rushed or became bogged down in endless bureaucracy and just sustained the prevailing impunity.
López Aguilar's son-in-law, who also works for the news site, has been detained as a suspect on the grounds of contradictions in the statement he gave to the police. But the police have yet to identify a motive. As Tijuana Informativo had just published major reports on drug trafficking and organized crime in the region, what reason is there for excluding the victim's reporting as the most likely motive?
The same denial of reality has been seen in many other cases, such as the murder of Regina Martínez, the magazine Proceso's correspondent in the east-coast state of Veracruz, now one of the world's ten most dangerous places for journalists. Justice and truth are so often sacrificed to political calculation or convenience at the expense of fundamental constitutional rights.
What commitments have you given on these issues? How do plan to keep your promises? How to plan to enlist the participation of a civil society disgusted by the institutions that are supposed to represent and protect them?
These are the key challenges that need to be addressed during your six years as Mexico's president. A watchful and unforgiving observer, Reporters Without Borders will press you for answers.
Reporters Without Borders