Reporter Pablo Ruelas Barraza was found shot to death in Huatabampo (Sonora state, northwest Mexico) on 13 June, apparently executed by two gunmen who tried first to kidnap him. Ruelas, 38, worked for regional dailies Diario del Yaqui in Huatabampo and El Regional de Sonora in Hermosillo. The past month has been grim for the country’s journalists.
Local media said Ruelas Barraza, a general reporter, had received death threats. Reporters Without Borders called on investigators to consider that he might have been killed because of his work and warned that focusing on his previous brushes with the law must not be allowed to interfere with this.
The organisation said the killing again raised the issue of when the federal government was going to apply the new agreement on protecting journalists signed last November.
A total of 74 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000 and 13 others have disappeared. The government’s war against drug-traffickers has cost about 40,000 lives since December 2006.
Cartoon : Hernández
10.06.11 - Acapulco daily’s news editor missing for past three days
Marco Antonio López Ortiz, the news editor of Novedades Acapulco, a daily based in the resort city of Acapulco (in the southwestern state of Guerrero), has been missing since 11:30 p.m. on 7 June, when he was kidnapped by several individuals as he went to meet a woman friend in a bar, according to reports yesterday on the websites of his newspaper and El Sur, another local paper. Colleagues from Novedades Acapulco found his car outside the bar.
The staff of the two newspapers did not want to provide Reporters Without Borders with any additional information about the case. The Guerrero State Commission for Human Rights (CEDH) said no complaint had been filed with the commission by López’s family by yesterday evening.
“Like CEDH president Juan Alarcón Hernández, we voice our solidarity with López’s family and colleagues and we hope he will be found safe and sound soon, even if the outcome of the most recent disappearance of a journalist in Mexico makes us fear the worse. There have been many murders and disappearance in this region and two journalists were murdered in Guerrero last year without any progress in the investigation until now.”
Violence against journalists, human rights activists and civil society representatives continues unabated as a “peace caravan” that set off from the southern city of Cuernavaca six days ago continues to head for the US border, where it is due to arrive tomorrow. Led by Javier Sicilia, a poet whose son was murdered in March, it is intended to remind the federal authorities of the terrible toll from their offensive against drug trafficking – 40,000 dead since December 2006.
“Organized crime has to be combated but the authorities, who are themselves often its accomplices, cannot continue this insane offensive that has plunged the country into a state of war and sacrificed so many innocent lives,” Reporters Without Borders added. “The international community is not doing enough to denounce this collapse of the rule of law. What remains of civil liberties as armed terror continues to reign?”
Reporters Without Borders will continue as long as necessary to relay the important “No more blood - No + sangre” campaign by leading Mexican cartoonists. A total of 73 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, and 13 (including López) have gone missing since 2003.