Local figures suspected of the fifth murder of a journalist in Mexico in 2022

Mexico’s president must keep his promise to fight impunity for the murders of journalists, said Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which called for a swift and transparent investigation into the murder of an editor-in-chief of a website local information center in the state of Oaxaca, in the south of the country. number of journalists killed in Mexico since the start of 2022 to five – a record in such a short time.

Site Director Heber Lopez Vasquez39, was killed on February 10 in Salina Cruz, a port city on the Pacific coast in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, by two men who followed him as he walked down the street and eventually shot him dead in front of him. his recording studio.

On Web Newsa Facebook local news page he created in 2014, Heber López frequently vehemently criticized local politicians in the Tehuantepec region, particularly those in Salina Cruz.

An hour after the shooting, the prosecutor’s office in Oaxaca announced that the municipal police of Salina Cruz had arrested two suspects as they fled the scene. One was none other than the brother of Arminda Espinosa Cartas, a local public figure whom López had often criticized in his posts. A former municipal employee of a small neighboring town, Salinas del Marqués, she is an ally of the current mayor of Salina Cruz, Daniel Méndez Sosa.

On the eve of her murder, López had published an article titled “The Limitless Ambition of Arminda Espinosa Cartas”, in which he criticized her maneuvers to get re-elected to lead a public works project.

In the aftermath of Heber López’s assassination, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in his daily press conference that there would be “no impunity, zero impunity” for the murder of the journalist.

Oaxaca state authorities must quickly identify all those responsible for this shocking murder,says Emmanuel Colombié, director of RSF’s Latin America office. “Additionally, the possible involvement of Salina Cruz figures means that the federal attorney general’s office should be involved in the investigation. And President López Obrador’s commitment to “zero impunity” must be seen as a commitment not only to the Heber López case but also to the other 28 murders of journalists since he became president.

In 2019, Heber López reported receiving death threats from the bodyguards of Salina Cruz Mayor Juan Carlos Atecas. Despite these requests, he did not seek protective measures from either the State of Oaxaca or the federal authorities.

López is the second journalist murdered in less than a year in the Tehuantepec region, which has become particularly dangerous for the media. Gustavo Sanchez Cabrerawho had also exposed corruption in Salina Cruz and published a list of local elected officials suspected of ties to organized crime, was murdered on June 17, 2021 while seeking federal protection.

digital pen news site editor Jose Ignacio Santiago Martinez survived an attack by gunmen on January 25, 2021 thanks to bodyguards proven by the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists.

The other four journalists murdered since the beginning of the year in Mexico are Alfonso Margarito Martinez Esquivel, Jose Luis Gamboa Arenas, Roberto Toledo and Lourdes Maldonado.

According to RSF’s tally, at least seven journalists have been murdered in Mexico in 2021, making it the deadliest country in the world for the media. Mexico is ranked 143rd out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.