Three journalists found slain in Veracruz
Press advocates demand government action to halt wave of attacks on reporters in Mexico
Three photojournalists have been found slain and dumped in plastic bags
by a canal in the eastern Mexico state of Veracruz. The latest slayings
come less than a week after the killing in the same state of a reporter
for a news magazine. Press advocates are calling for immediate
government action to halt a wave of attacks which has killed at least
seven current and former reporters and photographers in Veracruz over
the last 18 months.
Mexico remains one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists, with reporters and photographers suffering a rising number of attacks in recent years.
Mexico remains one of the world's most dangerous countries for journalists, with reporters and photographers suffering a rising number of attacks in recent years. Mexico continues to grapple with tens of thousands of killings, kidnappings and extortion against the backdrop of a militarized government offensive against drug cartels.
Prosecutions in most murder cases are rare, as is the case with almost all homicides and other serious crimes in Mexico. As a result, local media outlets have been too intimidated to report on drug-related violence and social media and blogs are often the only outlets to report on serious crime.
The most recent killings came in Boca del Rio, a town near the port city of Veracruz where police found the bodies of four people this week after passers-by spotted four suspicious black plastic bags in a wastewater canal. The four victims bore signs of torture and the bodies had been dismembered, the prosecutor's office said.
One victim was identified as Guillermo Luna Varela, photographer for a local news Web site. Another victim was identified as Gabriel Huge, who had been working as a photojournalist for the local news agency Notiver.
State officials said the third victim was Esteban Rodriguez, who was a photographer for the local newspaper AZ. The fourth victim was Luna's girlfriend, Irasema Becerra, state prosecutors said.
State officials said the killings bore the hallmarks of organized crime and they would ask federal authorities to help investigate.
In Mexico, Veracruz is a common route for drugs and migrants coming from the south on the way up to the U.S. and much of the area around its main port city on the Gulf of Mexico turned in recent years into a battleground between the Zetas and New Generation, a cartel based in the western state of Jalisco.
The generation cartel is allied with the powerful Sinaloa cartel, which is led by kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
In a related journalist killing, Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco, a columnist and editorial director for the local news agency Notiver, was shot to death in Veracruz along with his wife and one of his children in June of last year.
Authorities that month also found the body of journalist Noel Lopez buried in a clandestine grave in the town of Chinameca.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Mexico, journalists, slaying, drug cartels
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