December 14, 2018

Press Freedom

Mexico

OPC Response to Mexico Murder Beyond Outrage

H.E. Felipe Calderon
President
Residencia Official de los Pinos
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec
11850 Mexico, DF
Mexico
Fax: (011.52.5) 515.5729

Your Excellency:

The response to some crimes goes beyond words and beyond outrage.  The murder and decapitation of Notiver reporter, Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, last week is the latest such example to come out of Mexico.

As you must know by now, Ordaz was abducted by armed men as she left her home in Veracruz on July 24.  Her body was found two days later near the offices of Imagen newspaper — a placement assumed to be a deliberate warning to other journalists.

Ordaz was a well-known reporter for Notiver, where she worked the police beat for more than 30 years.  According to the state prosecutor, Reynaldo Escobar Pérez, the evidence so far suggests that her killing is the work of organized criminal gangs.  According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, Magda Zayas, is saying that Ordaz’s work for Notiver may have made her a target.

More alarming, Ordaz’s corpse was found with a note that seems to connect her murder with that of her close friends: columnist, Miguel Angel López Velasco, his wife and his son (a newspaper photographer).  “Friends can also betray you,” read the note, which was signed “Carranza”.  According to the Associated Press, state investigators are treating former traffic police officer Juan Carlos Carranza Saavedra as the main suspect in the murder of the López family.

Mexico, as we do not need to tell you, is among the world’s most dangerous countries to be a reporter, and has become steadily more threatening in the past three years.  According to the CPJ, 15 journalists, now including Ordaz, have been killed in the last 18 months.  Just in Veracruz, four journalists have been killed since 2011 began.  In addition to Ordaz, López and his son — a columnist for La Verdad de Jáltipan, Noel López Olguín, was found buried in a makeshift grave on May 31.

Certainly, we are well aware of the progress Mexico is making on the economic front.  That bodes well for the nation’s democracy and bodes ill for the forces that would undermine it.  But in the absence of strong protection for free expression, no democracy can prosper.

With last week’s horrifying murder, the name of Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz is now added to the list of reporters who have given their lives for Mexico.

Respectfully yours,
Kevin McDermott
Larry Martz
Co-chairs – Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

Notiver
Fax: (011.52.7.83)  931.1346

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. Antonio O. Garza, Jr.
U.S. Ambassador to Mexico
Embassy of the United States of America
P.O. Box 9000
Brownsville, TX  78520
Fax: (011.52.55) 5080.2005

Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza
Attorney General
Avenida Paseo de la Reforma, Nos. 211-213
Mexico, DF ( C.P. 06500)
Mexico
Fax: (202) 728.1698

Olga María del Carmen Sánchez
Ministra
Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación
Pino Súarez, No.2
Colonia Centro, México, DF
México
Fax: (011.525.55) 522.0152

Genaro David Góngora Pimentel
Ministro Presidente
Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación
Pino Súarez, No.2
Colonia Centro, México, DF
México
Fax: (011.525.55) 522.0152

Lcda. Rosario Robles, Presidenta
Partido de la Revolución Democrática
Huatusco # 37, 5o. piso
Col. Roma Sur, México, DF
Mexico
Fax: (011.52.55) 5207.1200

Patricia Mercado Sanchez, Editor
El Economista
Mexico, DF
Mexico
pmercado@economista.com.mx

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

Ramón Darío Cantú Deándar
El Maòana
Mexico
Fax: (011.52.5) 714.8797

Alfredo Corchado
The Dallas Morning News
acorchado@dallasnews.com

Jorge Luis Sierra
jlsierrag@yahoo.com

Robert Rivard
Editor
San Antonio Express-News
P.O. Box 2171
San Antonio, TX  78297