Mexico: Reporter shot to death in Nuevo Leon
The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International is appalled by the killing of Raúl Régulo Garza Quirino, reporter for the weekly newspaper La Ultima Palabra. The journalist was gunned down on 6 January 2012 by a gang in Cadereyta, state of Nuevo León, and is the first journalist in Mexico to be murdered in 2012. The WiPC calls on the Mexican authorities to carry out a thorough investigation into Garza’s killing and to bring to an end Mexico’s climate of impunity in which attacks such as these take place
Friday, 13 January 2012, by HRH Bergen, Oslo based on PEN International and Rafto Foundation Information
Raúl Régulo Garza Quirino, 30, was shot to death by unidentified gunmen after a car chase near his home in Cadereyta, Nuevo León. Garza, who also worked for the local government’s department of social development, had been driving his car on the evening of 6 January when another car began pursuing him. Although he sought refuge in a garage owned by a relative, Garza was unable to escape, and his assailants shot him numerous times. At least sixteen shots were fired during the attack.
So far, no clear motive for the attack has been identified. However, Cadereyta is a hotbed of violent crime; it is a stronghold of Los Zetas, a violent drug cartel implicated in the murders of other journalists. In recent months, scores of individuals in the state have gone missing. Located 37 km from Monterrey, the state capital, Cadereyta is home to one of northern Mexico’s biggest oil refineries and is rife with contraband in stolen petroleum products as well as drug trafficking. It is a stronghold of Los Zetas, a paramilitary group that worked for the Gulf Cartel before becoming an independent criminal organization. A total of 38 employees of the state oil company PEMEX have been reported missing in the region in recent months. It was in this area that radio journalist Marco Aurelio Martínez Tirejina was kidnapped and killedin July 2010 in a still unsolved murder. According to the Reporters Without Borders tally, 80 journalists have been killed in the past decade and 14 others have disappeared. Most of these killings have gone unpunished.
Investigation of Murder
“We hope the number of Mexican journalists killed in the space of a decade does not reach the grim total of 100 in 2012, an election year,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Mexico could prevent this from happening by taking measures to combat impunity for those responsible for violent crime against journalists. “That was the message that we and the Centre for Journalism and Public Ethics (CEPET) tried to transmit when we gave the families of slain and disappeared journalists a platform in the capital on 10 December. “The current show of good intentions by the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE) and its head, Gustavo Salas Chávez, must be rapidly translated into reinforcement of its personnel and clarification of its jurisdiction. If the senate approves the bill that the lower house adopted on 11 November making attacks on freedom of information a federal crime, the FEADLE must have enough resources to handle all these cases.”
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to practise journalism. In the last five years, 37 print journalists, writers and bloggers have been murdered in connection with their work, and eight have disappeared; most of the dead were involved in reporting on corruption and organized crime. The vast majority of these killings have never been properly investigated; most of the perpetrators remain unpunished. In November 2011, PEN launched its Day of the Dead campaign which drew attention to the dangerous, often lethal environment in which Mexican journalists work. On 2 November 2011, on the day when Mexicans traditionally remember their departed loved ones, PEN International launched its global Day of the Dead campaign. The aims of the campaign were to commemorate our fallen Mexican colleagues, and to call on the Mexican authorities to both bring justice to those responsible for the killings and to end the climate of impunity that exists for those who murder, attack and harass writers.
'War on Drugs' failed
Despite of increase of drug related killings and wide spread human rights abuses, Mexico continued to rely on military trials to investigate and prosecute soldiers alleged of criminal acts. However, during time of Calderon’s administration only one soldier was brought to justice for human rights violation. Current administration has paid little attention to fact that using military courts to prosecute human rights abuses is a violation of Mexico's international human rights obligations, and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights has repeatedly ruled that Mexico should try such abuses in civilian courts. José López, right, last year laureate of Rafto Foundation, has criticised the earlier policy of fighting drug trafficking. J. López has stated that such approach to drug war does more harm than good and has tremendous consequences on Mexican population. ''I perceive this institutional war as a mere simulation, because the main elements supporting and feeding the power of criminal mafias are not being targeted, namely: flow of money and political support’’
HRH Bergen, Oslo based on PEN International and Rafto Foundation Information