Added comments from two Coahuilense:
From C.E. Martinez.....If you have spent time in Coahuila, or know someone who has, then it comes as no surprise that Coahuila, like its neighbors, Zacatecas and Tamaulipas fall in the “Narco Black-out News” category. What is published is done so with narco approval. In 2009, the door slammed shut on publishing narco news in Tamaulipas. It was a time that run away violence exploded with such force, it has never been able to recover.
So was the birth of social media pages to spread the word of “situations at risk”. It was the only method of advising citizens of violence and unsafe areas, before they would move around or travel into the risky areas. The genesis was #ReynosaFollow. Hundreds would create other pages, using Twitter, Facebook or blog websites, in states having violence. 2009 was also the year the only group, a NGO, that collected data of drug violence, including deaths, “exited Tamaulipas”. Organized Crime news published through social media became the new normal for Mexicans living in black-out states.
|Files lawsuit against Vanguardia|
However, the escalation of attacks call into question if the paper and its reporters can function in safety.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the increasing harassment of the Mexican daily newspaper Vanguardia and its staff. In recent weeks, Vanguardia's website was attacked, police raided its owner's ranch, a former local official sued the newspaper, and unknown men followed one of its reporters home, according to Vanguardia, the oldest and largest-circulation newspaper in Saltillo, capital of the northern state of Coahuila."We call on Mexican authorities to exhaustively investigate Vanguardia's claim of a campaign aimed at intimidating the newspaper and its reporters," said Carlos Lauría, CPJ's senior program coordinator for the Americas in New York. "Authorities must ensure that Vanguardia can continue to report on sensitive issues without fear of retribution."
And adding insult to injury, the notorious former governor Humberto Moreira last week filed a lawsuit against the newspaper for slander (moral damage) damage" in relation to a February 18, 2016, article that reported the government improperly granted Moreira a pension in December 2015.
Vanguardia has never been timid about reporting the short comings and questionable actions of the political elite in the state. Even though his brother. Ruben, is the current Governor, there is no one more elite than Humberto Moreira.
/Another journalist described Vanguardia during the Moreira era as “maintaining it’s commitment to the community. Only it asked questions when others applauded, And it spoke when others were silent”.
Vanguardia has not alleged or pointed a finger at who it thinks is behind the recent attempts to intimidate the newspaper, it’s reporters, and it’s publisher. However, given the circumstances surrounding the latest action of trying to evict the publisher, Castilla Galudo, the question has to be raised as to whether Humberto could be behind all of the acts of intimidation and harassment.
Galudo bought the house and property 20 years ago from a prominent businessman in Saltillo who has been deceased for some years. Everyone in Saltillo knew that the seller was dead and Galudo has been living in the house he bought for the last 20 years. Yet the lawsuit for “eviction” was brought by a person in Monterrey against the previous owner claiming the house blocked an “access road” to that persons ranch. The papers, including the order to evict were full of irregularities and did not even mention Galudo’s name. Galudo said he knew of no such claim until the elite state police group blocked his drive and would not allow him access to his house.
The judge in Saltillo who ordered the eviction was Cesar Saucedo Alejandro Flores, is the same judge who is in charge of the two investigations against VANGUARDIA and management based on complaints brought by Humberto Moreira for “libel and damaging” his reputation.
This judge was appointed to this position by Governor Humberto Moreira in 2008. At that time judge was questioned by his peers, because they allegedly did not believe he meet the requirements to hold this position. One of the judges on Judicial Council, Benito Villanueva Saliente, filed an injunction claiming that the new judge was not prepared for the post, according to local media.
The eviction was carried out by a force that normally might be used to arrest a major drug king pin. Thirty of the states elite “Coahuila Force” police who report directly to the Secretary of the Government, along with approximately 100 civilians, believed to be from the Judicial Minisstry, many carrying machetes descended on Galuda’s property, blocked him from entering the premises. They then loaded everything in the house, including the stove and kitchen items onto trucks, gave no inventory of what was taken and would not disclose where the property was being taken.
The person who ordered that force to carry out the eviction order is Victor Zamora, Secretary of Government. Zamora has served as labor secretary and secretary of Education in this administration. He was also secretary of Education and Finance in the former government of Humberto Moreira Valdes.
Vanguardia issued a statement that said;
“The way in which the alleged judicial proceedings took place and, above all, the actions of the police elements under the command of the Secretary of Government of Coahuila, Victor Zamora Rodriguez, makes it clear that it is concerted action seeking purposes beyond the alleged law enforcement and defense of the rule of law “
“The excessive use of force implies for us a clear message: the masterminds of the attack have on the strength its only argument to impose its ideology and thereby achieving compliance with their particular agenda.”
Is Humberto behind these attacks and excessive use of force seeking vengeance? Or could it be he is trying to silence a voice that has been critical of him as he lays the ground work for a political recovery.
Full article from CPJ below
In a May 5 editorial, the daily denounced a campaign to harass the newspaper. Vanguardia said unknown men followed one of its reporters, whose name it first withheld. The paper several days later identified the reporter as Roxana Romero, who told CPJ that two individuals followed her in a car as she returned home from work the night of May 4. When she reached her home, the individuals stopped at a nearby street corner and drove away, only to make another pass by her house shortly afterwards. Vanguardia reported the same men had been seen near the editorial offices the day before.
The newspaper gave the journalist a temporary leave of absence and a security detail at her residence for her safety. She told CPJ she is currently assessing when or if it would be safe for her to return to work.
In its editorial, the paper said that its reporters were the target of smear attacks from several Coahuila websites, which appear to have been created solely to disparage its reporters. It also denounced an April attempt to make its website unavailable through a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack - in which multiple computers try to overload the server that hosts a website with rapid requests to deliver the site -- which the newspaper said originated from the states of Coahuila, Puebla, and Nuevo León. Vanguardia's technology staff blocked the DDoS attack, the newspaper said.
On Friday, lawyers for the former governor of Coahuila, Humberto Moreira, announced that the former governor had filed a lawsuit against both Romero and the newspaper for "moral damage" in relation to a February 18, 2016, article in which Romero alleged that the government improperly granted Moreira a pension in December 2015.
Moreira himself has not spoken publicly about the lawsuit. CPJ contacted his lawyers to convey a request for comment, but has not received a response from the former governor.
Moreira remains powerful in Coahuila's politics. He briefly served as president of the Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI), to which Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto belongs. His brother, Rubén Moreira, currently serves as governor of Coahuila.
Also on Friday, roughly 30 members of an elite state police corps raided the ranch of Vanguardia's owner, Armando Castilla Galindo, according to press reports. The raid, which was authorized by a court order, was meant to evict Castilla because of an unpaid mortgage debt from 2009, the press reports said. Vanguardia said the raid was conducted with force unprecedented in a civil suit, including the use of heavy machinery.
The Coahuila government said in a statement that police acted in compliance with the law.
Vanguardia has been the victim of attacks before. In 2011, a grenade was thrown at its editorial offices in Saltillo. In 2013, Vanguardia photographer Daniel Martínez Balzaldúa was murdered in Saltillo. Neither incident has resulted in arrests or convictions. In recent years, Coahuila has been the stage for violent turf wars between organized crime groups.
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist, according to CPJ research. Journalists often have to contend with threats of violence from authorities or members of criminal groups, according to CPJ research. Since 1992, at least 36 journalists have been killed for their work, while dozens more have died in unclear circumstances.
explainedMarcos Hernández Bautista , Noticias, Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca January 21, 2016, in
48 others most likely killed in relation to their profession but unconfirmed.
These numbers do not include those killed because of their work in other media professions, such as bloggers.
36 Journalists Killed in Mexico/Motive Confirmed