Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Safety concerns surround Coahuila newspaper Vanguardia

by Lucio R. with C.E. Martinez & DD

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
The newspaper “Vanguardia”, based out of the Coahuila capital city of Saltillo, has been a publication that has tested the lines of restraint in their reporting of narco news and articles of corruption.  The paper and its reporters  have encountered threats, harassment, DDoS attacks and smear campaigns. 

However, the escalation of attacks call into question if the paper and its reporters can function in safety.

Although the government is trying to project a good sense of security by state forces, the reality is, citizens have been terrorized by state police groups, with reports of killings by state elements and disappearances.  

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.

From DD.....

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.


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

     Terminology explainedMarcos Hernández Bautista , Noticias, Voz e Imagen de Oaxaca     January 21, 2016, in Oaxaca, Mexico
Rubén Espinosa Becerril, Proceso, AVC Noticias, Cuartoscuro     July 31, 2015, in Mexico City, Mexico
Filadelfo Sánchez Sarmiento, La Favorita 103.3FM La Voz de la Sierra Sur     July 2, 2015, in Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz, Mexico
Armando Saldaña Morales, La Ke Buena 100.9 FM     May 2,3 or 4, 2015, in Oaxaca, Mexico
José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo , La Unión     January 2, 2015, in Medellín de Bravo, Mexico
Octavio Rojas Hernández, El Buen Tono     August 11, 2014, in Oaxaca, Mexico
Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, Notisur and Liberal del Sur     Between February 5 and 11, 2014, in Las Choapas, Veracruz, Mexico
Adrián Silva Moreno, Freelance     November 14, 2012, in Tehuacán, Mexico
Regina Martínez Pérez, Proceso     April 28, 2012, in Xalapa, Mexico
Maria Elizabeth Macías Castro, Freelance     September 24, 2011, in an area near Nuevo Laredo, Mexico
Luis Emanuel Ruiz Carrillo, La Prensa     March 25, 2011, in Monterrey, Mexico
Noel López Olguín, Freelance     March 2011, in Chinameca, Veracruz, Mexico
Carlos Alberto Guajardo Romero, Expreso Matamoros     November 5, 2010, in Matamoros, Mexico
Luis Carlos Santiago, El Diario     September 16, 2010, in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Valentín Valdés Espinosa, Zócalo de Saltillo     January 8, 2010, in Saltillo, Mexico
Bladimir Antuna García, El Tiempo de Durango     November 2, 2009, in Durango, Mexico
Norberto Miranda Madrid, Radio Visión     September 23, 2009, in Nuevo Casas Grandes, Mexico
Eliseo Barrón Hernández, La Opinión     May 25, 2009, in Gómez Palacio, Mexico
Armando Rodríguez Carreón, El Diario de Ciudad Juárez     November 13, 2008, in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico
Alejandro Zenón Fonseca Estrada, EXA FM
     September 24, 2008, in Villahermosa, Mexico
Amado Ramírez Dillanes, Televisa and Radiorama     April 6, 2007, in Acapulco, Mexico
Rodolfo Rincón Taracena, Tabasco Hoy     January 20, 2007, in Villahermosa, Mexico
Roberto Marcos García, Testimonio and Alarma     November 21, 2006, in Mandinga y Matoza, Mexico
Bradley Will, freelance
     October 27, 2006, in Santa Lucía del Camino, Mexico
Dolores Guadalupe García Escamilla, Stereo 91     April 16, 2005, in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico
Gregorio Rodríguez Hernández, El Debate     November 28, 2004, in Escuinapa, Mexico
Francisco Arratia Saldierna, freelance     August 31, 2004, in Matamoros , Mexico
Francisco Javier Ortiz Franco, Zeta     June 22, 2004, in Tijuana, Mexico
José Luis Ortega Mata, Semanario de Ojinaga     February 19, 2001, in Ojinaga, Mexico
Philip True, San Antonio Express-News     December 15, 1998, in Jalisco, Mexico
Luis Mario García Rodríguez, La Tarde     February 12, 1998, in Mexico City, Mexico
Víctor Hernández Martínez, Como     July 26, 1997, in Mexico City, Mexico
Benjamín Flores González, La Prensa     July 15, 1997, in San Luis Río Colorado, Mexico
Jesús Abel Bueno León, 7 Días     May 22, 1997, in Chilpancingo, Mexico
Ruperto Armenta Gerardo, El Regional     February 5, 1995, in Guasave, Mexico
Jorge Martín Dorantes, El Crucero     June 6, 1994, in Morelos, Mexico 


  1. Ay ke saber trabajar sin matar o meterse con gente inocente ,Ya ke ellos tambien hacen su trabajo , el policia , sicario, o cartel ke se mete con inocentes no es hombre , ke venga conmingo pa ensenarles como se trabaja chueko pero derecho compa
    -pistolero de manuel torrez-

    1. pistolero de Manuel torrez??? Ja ja ja no me hagas reir.cuando quieras caile a la Baja y te invito un cafecito.

    2. Tarde que temprano te quebras a un inocente sin querer primo. - El Sol Perdido

  2. Those cops look geared up n ready. Are they the swat team of Coahuila?

  3. Wow these people in power have no maturity.Like little kids.If they don't get want they want in life-well so so vindictive,not very good for the soul.Where's the positivity.Can't they just ignore it and hope it will subside and go away like the Mex gov does to it's citizens?

  4. Bertie boy Moreira is not PRESIDENTE DE MEXICO YET, but he is trying to pull BIIIG TURDS like this outta his ass, imagine if he stages a "comeback"?
    Please note, those there are not Policias, they are a new version of polizetas, accreditable state poolice that work for the moreiros, but no setas, the moreiros and the setas broke up over the drug trafficking business, the moreiros ran out of credits and money to borrow from foreign banks, they need to go back to the old days and earn their own money like Al Capone, steal it from friend and foe, and do their own drug trafficking again, their empty "car wash lots" are not "producing"...


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