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on the border line between the US and Mexico

Friday, June 18, 2021

Oaxaca Journalist, Who Was Granted Government Protection Due to Previous Assassination Attempt, Was Killed

"HEARST" for Borderland Beat

Left: Journalist Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera, killed June 17 2021.

Right: Mayor Vilma Martínez Cortés, who journalist Sánchez accused of orchestrating a previous attack on him, poses with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

In less than 24 hours, two journalists have been killed in Mexico. In the state of Mexico, the dead body of former journalist Enrique García was found on board his vehicle at midnight meanwhile journalist Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera was shot in Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. 

The most recent reports indicate former journalist Enrique García was working as a cab driver in the DiDi system at the time of his death. The State Attorney General's Office preliminarily indicated that the attack on Enrique García was the result of an attempted robbery unrelated to his work.

But and however, Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera, the reporter who was killed in Oaxaca, is the story of the journalist who did everything he was supposed to do.

He went through all the necessary bureaucratic processes in order to request protection. He was officially granted that protection by a federal mechanism that was created to defend journalists.

And yet he was still killed because that protection never materialized.

The Death of Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera

At approximately 8 am on the morning of Thursday June 17 2021, journalist Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera was riding a motorcycle with his 15 year old son on the road between San Vicente and Morro Mazatán in the municipality of Santo Domingo Tehuantepec, within the state of Oaxaca. Sánchez Cabrera and his son reportedly were travelling to the local cemetery when a group of unknown armed individuals opened fire on them. 

Photo of journalist Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera.

Details of the attack on Sánchez Cabrera differ. Newspaper El Universal reports that unknown individuals shot him in the head and fled in a green car. Whereas Milenio newspaper reports that the armed unknown individuals fled on foot, running down a dirt road after the attack on Sánchez Cabrera. 

By the time paramedics arrived at the scene of the shooting, Sánchez Cabrera no longer showed vital signs. His son was injured and had to be transferred to the hospital by ambulance. The current condition of his son is unknown at this time. 

The head of the Oaxaca State Attorney General’s Office Arturo Peimbart Calvo reported that an official investigation has begun on the homicide of Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera and “there is already evidence of the alleged perpetrators.” Peimbart Calvo added that there is a protected witness who is collaborating with investigators.

Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera writer and editor of the Policiaca del ISTMO, he also worked for El Imparcial, Tiempo, Enfoque, among other media outlets. Arturo Peimbert Calvo stated that one of the lines of investigation is related to Sánchez’s reporting on criminal activity, the electoral process and his investigative work into political groups.

"His activity affected some interest and we are reviewing that part, we will proceed with full force, an aggression to any person who gives a voice to those who have no voice, is an aggression to society," said Peimbert.

Location where Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera was shot.

He Had Been Shot Before for his Journalism

Since as early as 2013, Sánchez Cabrera has received threats over his reporting. In fact, June 17 2021 was not the first time Cabrera had been shot in alleged retribution for his journalism.

On June 20, 2020, Sánchez Cabrera was the victim of an assassination attempt right outside his home. "The bullets punctured his lung and injured his arm," said a person familiar with Sánchez Cabrera to The Associated Press, but who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to comment.

His bullet wounds were so severe that Sánchez, in a panic, sent audios to his friends and colleagues in different WhatsApp groups warning that he was currently bleeding to death and needed an ambulance. 

Luckily, an ambulance made it in time to save Sánchez. He was able to survive and recover from the June 2020 attack. The Oaxaca Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation into the June 2020 attack.

According to TN, Sánchez Cabrera spoke to them and identified to them who he claims his attacker was. But the alleged attacker was never detained by authorities according to the person who spoke to the Associated Press.

He Was Granted Security That Never Materialized

After identifying his attacker to the Prosecutor’s Office and seeing that the person was not detained, Sánchez Cabrera tried a different route. He chose to publicly give testimony as to the identity of his attacker. 

This testimony was a part of his official request for security measures that would protect him and his family from future attacks from the Human Rights Ombudsman (DDHPO), an organization that reviews and issues security as precautionary measures to journalists. 

Vilma Martínez Cortés, who is accused of ordering an assassination attempt on journalist Sánchez Cabrera, poses for the camera with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

According to Milenio newspaper and Turquesa News, Sánchez Cabrera testified that he believed that on the orders of the municipal president
Vilma Martínez Cortés, a man named Esteban de la Cruz Lagunas had attacked and threatened him, warning him "get off her."

The protection measures Sánchez Cabrera requested were approved by the organization almost a month before his death, but they never materialized.

The Undersecretariat of Human Rights, of the Ministry of the Interior, notified the government of Oaxaca, as well as the municipality of Tehuantepec to grant precautionary measures in favor of Sánchez Cabrera, considering he was at risk. The Mechanism Board also requested the company that provides the security service to give Sánchez Cabrera an assistance button with a location device as an immediate response system. 

Just the days before his death Sánchez Cabrera had demanded the security he was granted be delivered. 

"Yesterday was the last time I spoke with him and he told me 'I still don't have anything. I'm still waiting, you don't know how terrible that is',” said the person familiar with Sánchez Cabrera to the Associated Press. 

"We asked the Oaxaca Prosecutor's Office for a thorough investigation of the acts of aggression and threats that he had denounced at the time related to his journalistic work," Reporters Without Borders indicated on his official Twitter account. "We regret that the protective measures... came too late."

For Jan-Albert Hootsen, representative in Mexico of the Committee to Protect Journalists, an NGO based in New York, the murder of Sánchez is a clear example that the dangerous situation for the press in Mexico "has not changed."

"The government was clearly disregarding its obligations," said Hootsen.

Vilma Martínez Cortés, the municipal president that Sánchez Cabrera accused ordering an attack on him in 2020, poses with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Gustavo Sánchez Cabrera Sources:
Milenio , Associated Press, El Universal, El Pinero, El Pais, ADN 40, CNN Espanol, Turquesa News, Explica, TN

Felipe Enrique García García Sources:  Meganoticias, El Sol de Toluca, Etcétera, Nacion321


  1. I love how the government of Almo promised protection for the activist and at the end they let the guy get killed. Protecting the environment no money for the government, illegal logging bribes for the government.

    1. He (AMLO) then should be held accountable for this man's death
      It's only fair to hold someone accountable for the incompetence of Mexico's casualties.

    2. No protection under first Amendment in Mexico

    3. 11:06 no such amendment in Mexico, but amendments do exist in USA.

    4. 12:28 barely anymore.

    5. Foreign organizations do more to damage México than to protect journalists, one example is this crime being used to blame "ALMO" whose government is not in charge of impunity for morena politicians or of citizens security services in the state of Oaxaca, there is the issue of journalists staying anonymous to protect themselves as the first line of defense.
      Nobody is protecting AMLO, MORENA or the mexicans from USAID allies like claudio X "el Xoconostle" gonzalez and his associated journalists specialized in Chayote that AMLO refuses to give them, loretito and doriga used to get hundreds of millions of peisos from EPN, Fecal, salinas and fox...

  2. The Mexican government can provide protection and security about as well as a broken condom.

  3. Mexico the land of deaths.

  4. How sad,guy was brave enough to name his presumed attackers,who happened to be the one who would presumsbly have a say about his protection?He would have done better to get himself a firearm?At least then he may have been able to defend and survive an attack,maybe even kill the attacker to show you dont fuck around?
    Another sad story,he was with his son as well?

    1. yeah i fail to see how a firearm would have helped in that particular situation, typical american comment thinks every problem in the world is solved by weapons....

    2. 149
      "yeah i fail to see how a firearm would have helped in that particular situation"
      Thats why youd be lying dead with your brain slapped out,you really dont see how a gun may have saved his life?
      Better than not having one,maybe if he hugged them?By the way im not american ballbag.

    3. 149 meanwhile Mexico is only armed by criminals...

    4. 1:49 well, the russians believe weapons for americans works, they even paid Mariia Butina to infiltrate the NRA to recruit aupport and spies and agents to promote weapons for mexicans and for russians that are not really supposed to get any, 30 million dollars bought the NRA for the russians, the NRA owners promptly stole all the money, but gave some to general traitor mike flynn and some to the Unpresidented Disgrace.

    5. @1:49 you really don't see how having a firearm protects you from someone untendung you harm with a firearm? You probably believe what the government tells you too, right? That is next-level stupid, and would agree with 9:31, you are indeed a ballbag.

    6. 652
      I stopped reading when i got to NRA,what the fuck are you bangin on about?


    1. Oh brother another caps lock nino.

    2. No need for any excuse. Moreover any comments by Mexico. This is after all Mexico's policies when shit hits the fan.
      Nothing nor anyone will hold accountability.

    3. 10:14 Temo,
      te meo for your lame comment.

  6. ALMO is all over Vilma in those pics. Will he give her a pass or investigate?
    What say all of you?

    1. What the fuck do you think??? keep asking stupid questions.

    2. 11:17 "ALMO" has said he js not responsible for his wife, his children, his associates in politics or government, or anybody else, he is responsible for himself and his youngest son and anybody can try the state or federal autorities in charge of justice departments, the foreign propaganda has never cared but for protecting corruption and corrupt murdering clown politicos oligarcas.


  8. Not even in the wealthiest nation of all the land can you expect a government to protect you 24/7. That is selfish thought and means you have no idea of what is going on around you. Even the most certain like me, remain prey in the wilderness. The toll of death is underestimated. If you fall short of realizing death day to day imagine how much shorter you fall from the One who can bring you out of it.

  9. suspects to the death are in between the 3 cartels in the state in the istmo region, the remnants of the old oaxaca cartel allied with the Zve, Sinaloa cartel and the Cjng


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