April 23, 2024

Press Freedom


Mexico May 9, 2012

May 8, 2012

H.E. Felipe Calderon
Residencia Official de los Pinos
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec
1850 Mexico, DF
Government of Mexico
Fax: (011.52.5) 515.5729

Your Excellency

We at the Overseas Press Club of America are writing you again, within the space of a week, because we cannot let pass without comment the appalling murders of three more Mexican journalists. These deaths bring the total number killed to 4 in this still young year, following 11 murders the year before.

This time, all three were photojournalists. On May 3, the bodies of photographers, Guillermo Luna Varela and Gabriel Huge, were found in Veracruz state, along with the body of Esteban Rodriguez, a retired TV cameraman, and Irasema Becerra, identified as Huge’s girlfriend. According to Reporters Without Borders, police said all four bodies bore the marks of torture.

Only days earlier, we wrote to condemn the killing of investigative reporter, Regina Martinez, of the magazine, Progreso, whose body was found beaten and strangled in her home in Veracruz. According to news reports, the bodies of Huge and Varela were found dismembered in plastic bags in the La Zamorana canal in Boca del Rio. They were employed for VeracruzNews. Rodriguez had been a cameraman for TV Azteca and a photographer for Diario AZ.

These brazen murders of journalists are obvious attempts to silence the press and impose self-censorship for those still seeking to cover events in the bloody Veracruz region. Fearing for their lives, many journalists have – by their own accounts – moved away or dropped investigative stories. The courageous ones who returned, like Varela and Huge, are horrible examples of what awaits. Our conclusion can only be that these individuals were silenced for doing their jobs.

In our last letter to you on May 3, we deplored the continued state of impunity with which rival gangs murder journalists with no apparent concern about prosecution. This “kill at will” condition leaves any member of the press exposed to death each day for performing a public, non-violent job. We applauded the fact that your government is proceeding with a constitutional amendment that makes the killing of a journalist a crime against the state, and which also allows your Federal government to step in and take over the investigation from possibly compromised local authorities. But we also noted that a person’s life cannot depend on a legislative process.

We urge you to step in with the full force of your office, without waiting for final passage of the law. Show by example that killers will pay a high price for a heinous crime and that their presumed clients, the drug cartel bosses, have to fear the weight of your Federal forces for killing any journalist. You can turn this tide of intimidation, Your Excellency, but only if you act.

Respectfully yours,
Robert Dowling
Larry Martz
Freedom of the Press Committee


Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza
Attorney General
Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, Nos. 211-213
Mexico, DF, C.P. 06500
Government of Mexico

Maria Otero
Under Secretary of State for Democracy
and Global Affairs
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Olga María del Carmen Sánchez
Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación
Pino Súarez, No. 2
Colonia Centro, México, DF
Government of México

Genaro David Góngora Pimentel
Ministro Presidente
Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación
Pino Súarez, No. 2
Colonia Centro, México, DF
Government of México

H.E. Arturo Sarukhan Casamitjana
Ambassador of Mexico to the U.S.A.
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006
Fax (202) 728.1698

Ambassador Claude Heller
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Mexico
to the United Nations
2 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Fax: (212) 688.8862

H.E. Anthony Wayne
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico
Embassy of the United States of America
P.O. Box 9000
Brownsville, TX 78520
Fax: (011.52.55)

Rosario Robles
Partido de la Revolución Democrática
Huatusco # 37, 5o.piso
Col. Roma Sur, México, DF

Patricia Mercado Sanchez
El Economista
Mexico, DF

Juan Francisco Ealy Ortiz
El Universal of Mexico City
Bucareli N° 8, Col. Centro Delegación
Cuauhtémoc, C.P. 06040

Ramón Darío Cantú Deándar
El Maòana

Alfredo Corchado
The Dallas Morning News

Jorge Luis Sierra