Reporters Without Borders is deeply saddened to learn of journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz’s death. His body was found with those of two other persons in the town of Las Choapas, in the eastern state of Veracruz, on 11 February, six days after his abduction by an armed group.
Although the police and judicial authorities took Jiménez’s abduction very seriously, the Veracruz state government lost no time in ruling out the possibility that it might be connected with his work – covering crime for two newspapers.
Veracruz government chief of staff Erick Lagos said any attempt to link Jiménez’s abduction to his work was “unacceptable,” adding that the authorities thought it was a case of revenge or personal score-settling.
“We call on the Veracruz state authorities to do everything possible to ensure that the perpetrators and instigators of this murder are arrested and brought to justice, so that it does not go unpunished,” said Camille Soulier, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Americas desk.
“The government must not close its eyes to the constant danger to which journalists are exposed. Two journalists were murdered in 2013 in Mexico, which is ranked 152nd out of 180 countries in the 2014 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.”
06.02.2014 “Another journalist abducted in Veracruz media hell”
Reporters Without Borders is extremely concerned about Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, a crime reporter for the Notisur and Liberal del Sur local dailies, who was kidnapped yesterday by an armed gang in Coatzacoalcos, in the eastern state of Veracruz.
Jiménez was abducted as he was returning to his home in the district of Villa Allende after taking his children to school. His kidnappers forced him to get into their car and drove off, a member of the Notisur staff said.
The army, navy and Veracruz state police have been mobilized jointly to search for Jiménez, whose family has been taken by the authorities to a protected location.
“We urge the authorities to continue their efforts to find Jiménez and arrest his abductors, who must be brought to justice,” said Lucie Morillon, Reporters Without Borders head of research.
“The authorities must also closely examine the possibility that the motive for his abduction is linked to his work. A total of four journalists are currently missing in Veracruz state and another nine have been killed since 2010. This makes it one of the world’s 10 deadliest regions for media personnel.”
Nothing is known about Jiménez’s current whereabouts, the identity of his kidnappers or their motive. Jiménez is one of the few reporters to have continued to cover murders and abduction in his region, despite the dangers that can result from this kind of reporting.
The level of violent crime is extremely high in Veracruz state, which is the hub of various kinds of trafficking and has long been dominated by the Zetas paramilitary organization. The Poza Rica daily El Despertador de Veracruz was targeted when one of its billboards was destroyed with a Molotov cocktail on 28 January.