|Duarte, don't discredit his work|
The Gregorio Jiménez Case
By: Juan Diego Quesada
Mexican journalist Gregorio Jiménez, 46, was found dead on Tuesday in a clandestine grave. The freelance journalist who wrote about events in two newspapers in Coatzacoalcos, in the south of Veracruz, was kidnapped six days ago at his house, with his family as witnesses. The army and navy searched the area for several days until they arrived at a place where the bodies were buried.
The murder reveals the failure to protect journalists in Mexico. The reporter’s disappearance had sparked outrage across social networks of his peers, who are fed up with counting victims. More than 70 Mexican journalists have been killed in the past 12 years, according to the organization in defense of freedom of expression Article 19. Jiménez’s colleagues, reporters from local newspapers, and television stations, had emerged in recent days to demand to the authorities to do their utmost to find the reporter alive.
Police have arrested four people, including a neighbor who was allegedly the mastermind of the crime. As investigators have stated, early in the morning they found the house where the suspects initially hid Jiménez. They detained the kidnappers who then later led them to the grave where Jiménez was along with two other bodies.
Throughout Tuesday, several contradictory versions were known about the whereabouts of the journalist. Eduardo López Macias, a local representative, went on to say to the Congress that Jiménez had been found alive. They asked the politician if the international solidarity had worked. “I think the solidarity of all the veracruzanos” he replied. The news was denied two hours later by the government of Veracruz.
Gregorio Jiménez worked for Notisur. The newspaper, the day after his disappearance, reported that the reporter had received threats from the owner of a bar called El Mamey. Goyo, as he was known, had reported in his latest reports that his neighborhood was suffering a wave of kidnappings. A suspect told investigators that the bar owner, Teresa de Jesus Hernandez Cruz, hired them to kidnap Goyo from his house and kill him due to personal differences. The prosecutor explained that the captors charged 20,000 pesos, about $1,500, for the job.
Local reporters of regions with the highest rate of crime in Mexico are the most exposed to violence and intimidation by criminal organizations. There were also 10 journalists killed since the arrival of Governor Javier Duarte. Last year, the politician received a recognition for his work “in defense of journalists”, at the hands of the Mexican Publishers Association.
“They didn’t necessarily kill him because he wrote something specific. Every so often, criminals think that they have to send a message of intimidation to the press. They do this in a perverse way,” says a British researcher who has spent a decade studying Latin American crimes against journalists.
Jiménez was a humble man; from a hardworking and honest family. He lately didn’t want to write events for fear that something might happen to them. Finally on Tuesday, around 7:30 in the morning, men forcibly entered his house and took him away forever.
Veracruz: The Worst Place to Be a Journalist in Mexico
The case of journalist Gregorio Jiménez reveals two problems plaguing Veracruz: the increase of 588% in the rate of kidnappings since the arrival of Governor Javier Duarte and being in first place in attacks on journalists.
The journalist was found dead in a clandestine grave in the municipality of Las Choapas. Authorities say that it was a revenge killing and that they have detained four suspects.
In 2013 the Attorney General of Veracruz reported 112 complaints of kidnappings, which means an increase of 558% since the arrival of Governor Javier Duarte.
Figures released by the National System of Public Security (Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública (SNSP)) indicate that since 2010, it has registered a steady increase in complaints of kidnappings.
The statistics are collected by the state attorney taking into consideration complaints filed with the public ministry.
Article 19 recorded 225 attacks on freedom of expression through the third quarter of 2013. Veracruz ranked first in the nation with 31 cases.
In 2012, seven murders were committed against journalists because of their reporting, five of which occurred in Veracruz.
In a radio interview, Darío Ramírez, director of Article 19, said that there are 16 journalists missing.
In the case of Gregorio Jiménez, it is held that the case could be related to his journalistic work, because in one of his texts, he reported on illegal activities on the woman who is accused of planning the kidnapping.
It has been reported that these "personal differences" reported before were due to a fall out between Teresa de Jesus’s son and Goyo’s daughter, who had previously dated.
One of the bodies found along with Goyo is that of Ernesto Ruiz Guillen, a secretary of the Confederation of Mexican Workers. Goyo had previously written a short article on Ernesto, who was violently kidnapped in January after an assembly of the Confederation of Mexican Workers, Mexico’s largest labor union. He wrote another article noting that little was being done by authorities to investigate the kidnapping.
The other body was that of a taxi driver whose name hasn’t been released.
Gregorio Antonio Hernádez, a journalist and friend of Goyo, has stated in an interview that “they can’t accept” in this case, “unsupported information” from the government of Veracruz, who they say is a case of revenge killing.
Among the cases reported on by Gregorio is an operation from a year ago in which people were detained for engaging in kidnappings and extortions, as well as forced disappearances and executions. They say that “the timely follow-up of these cases led to our friend being dead.”
“The investigation our companion did was to follow up on these cases; the interests of people, criminal groups, the government of Javier wants to disassociate from the work that our colleague touched on,” he said.
Journalists No Longer In Veracruz
By: Daniela Pastrana
On March 8, 2011, Noel López Olguín, a reporter from Acayucan, disappeared. His body was found two months later in a clandestine grave. In his column “Con pluma de plomo” (With a lead pen) of the newspaper La Verdad de Jáltipan, he wrote about drug traffickers and corruption of public officials.
On June 20, 2011, armed gunmen assassinated veteran journalist Miguel Ángel López Velasco, his son who was a photojournalist, Miseal López Solana, and Miguel’s wife, Agustina Solana, in their home. Both Miguel and Miseal worked for Notiver.
Their place in the newspaper was filled by Yolanda Ordaz, who disappeared on July 24 and just two days later, found dead with signs of torture. After that, at least 14 journalists fled the state.
On September 17, 2011, Gabriel Manuel Fonseca Hernández, crime reporter for 20 years, was kidnapped in Acayucan, in the company of a friend. No one has heard from him.
On November 6, 2011, a group of armed men set fire to the newspaper building El Buen Tono, in Córdoba. At least five journalists and newspaper workers never returned to work.
On April 28, 2012, Regina Martínez, a correspondent for the magazine Proceso, was strangled in the bathroom of her home in Xalapa. She was a journalist recognized for her professionalism. She lived in the capital which until then seemed untouchable.
On May 3, 2012, the mutilated bodies of three photographers: Gabriel Huge, of Notiver, Guillermo Luna, of Veracruznews, and Esteban Rodríguez, former collaborator of Diario AZ, were found in a drainage canal and inside plastic bags. With them was the body of Irasema Becerra, a worker who worked in the advertising area of the newspaper El Dictamen. Their coworkers were ordered not to attend the funeral.
On June 13, 2012, Víctor Manuel Báez Chino, an editor of the crime section of Milenio Xalapa and of the website Reporteros Policiacos, was kidnapped and murdered after leaving his office. Next to his body was a message from the criminal group, according to information leaked to the press.
On July 25, 2012, the wife of Miguel Morales Estrada, crime photojournalist for Diario de Poza Rica reported him missing. He had alerted editors that he needed to get out of town for “personal problems” since July 19 and since then no one has heard from him.