August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Twentieth news reporter murdered in Mexico

By Brenda Norrell
Photos: Armando Rodriguez; Below: Murdered Indigenous radio reporters in Oaxaca, Felicitas Martinas Sanchez, 20, far left, Teresa Bautista Merino, 24, third from left. Photo Indymedia.
CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- News reporter Armando Rodriguez was the fifth reporter to be murdered in Mexico this year, and the 20th news reporter to be murdered in Mexico since 2000, when he was gunned down as he took his child to school on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008. These numbers increase when the number of independent journalists murdered are added to the list of media assassinated in Mexico.
Rodriguez, a reporter for El Diario, the largest privately-owned daily in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, was shot dead outside his home. Rodriguez, a crime specialist for the past 14 years, was leaving his home to drive his eight year old daughter to school when an unidentified gunman ambushed and shot him dead at point blank range before running to a nearby vehicle where accomplices were waiting, Reporters without Borders said.
Editor of El Diario, Pedro Torres, told Reporters Without Borders that Rodriguez had received a threatening message on his mobile phone in February 2008 telling him to “tone it down." As a result, he was transferred to El Paso for two months for his safety but on his return he had insisted on resuming work without any special protection. Carlos Huerta Munoz, a reporter on the local daily El Norte, pointed out that Rodriguez had on the previous day reported on the killing of two local police officers. A severed head had also been found on November 6, on a monument in the Journalist’s Square in the centre of Ciudad Juarez, which the city’s media took to be a direct threat against them.
The number of reporters murdered this year is even higher than reports often show, because of those murdered working in independent media.
In April, two Indigenous Triqui women who worked at the community radio station La Voz que Rompe el Silencio, "The Voice that Breaks the Silence," in the autonomous municipality of San Juan Copala of the Mixteca region, were murdered on their way to Oaxaca city to participate in the State Forum for the Defense of the Rights of the Peoples of Oaxaca. Three other people were injured. Teresa Bautista Merino, 24, and Felícitas Martínez Sánchez, 20, were shot and killed.
The women had departed from the radio station, which is part of the Network of Indigenous Community Radio Stations of the Southeast (Red de Radios Comunitarias Indígenas del Sureste), around 1:00 PM. They were travelling in a truck on their way to Oaxaca city, and were ambushed on the outskirts of the community Llano Juarez, according to independent media reports.
Two journalists were murdered in Oaxaca during a major wave of protests against state governor Ulíses Ruiz Ortíz in 2006. Indymedia reporter and U.S. citizen Bradley Will, and Raúl Marcial Pérez, an indigenous community leader and columnist for the regional daily El Gráfico, were murdered. No one has been brought to justice for their murders.
The death squads of the Zetas, trained at the US School of the Americas, are now carrying out murders for Mexican drug cartels and hired as killers in Iraq.
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