Journalists protest murdered colleague in southern Mexico

Mexico City, Feb 14 (EFE).- Journalists from the Mexican state of Oaxaca demonstrated Monday for the second time in five days to protest the murder of their colleague Heber Lopez Vasquez and the escalating violence against the union in the country.

Lopez Vasquez, killed Thursday, was director of the Noticias Web portal and is the sixth journalist murdered this year in Mexico, according to rights organization Reporters Without Borders.

Demonstrators met at the Santo Domingo Guzman temple esplanade, one of Oaxaca’s busiest and most emblematic places, where journalists carried signs reading “Enough!” to protest the recent string of murders.

From the Santo Domingo temple gates, journalist Pedro Matías pronounced the so-called black figures of journalism in Oaxaca, counting the deaths of 11 Oaxacan reporters since 2013.

“In Oaxaca, with the death of Heber, there are already 11 crimes against journalists and none have been solved, more than 300 attacks against the union and there have been no prosecutions, no sentences,” said Lopez Vasquez’s colleague, who added that Heber was not being protected under an existing government scheme.

He said it was “unfortunate” that the governments or politicians “of all the blue, yellow, red, brown parties, which are of the same identity and the same system have not pressed the results of the investigations.”

Also at the protest was reporter Soledad Jarquin, who during the 2018 electoral process lost her daughter, photographer Maria del Sol, during an armed attack directed at candidate Pamela Teran in the city of Juchitan, Oaxaca.

“They don’t see us, they want us to be quiet, it’s good that all of you are here today and we’re going to yell at those in power ‘Not one more journalist murdered nor one more journalist!’ Enough is enough, they damage the entire social fabric,” she said.

Lopez Vasquez, 42, was buried Saturday in the Salina Cruz municipal vault, where he was bid farewell by relatives and fellow reporters and photographers from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region.

The Ombudsman for Human Rights of the People of Oaxaca said he condemned the murder and demanded that authorities carry out a prompt investigation with a focus on human rights.

From January 2015 to December 2021, the ombudsman has initiated 288 investigations derived from complaints related to violations of the rights of journalists in Oaxaca.

Watchdog organization Article 19 said 11 journalists in Oaxaca were murdered in the last eight years, the last being the case of Lopez Vasquez, with only two detentions having been made so far.

Mexican Security Undersecretary Ricardo Mejia said Friday – the day after Heber’s murder – that they arrested two suspects in the murder identified as alleged “material co-perpetrators.”

The Oaxaca Public Security Secretariat said Monday that in coordination with federal forces, both detainees were transferred from the Tehuantepec prison to the Tanivet prison in the central region of Oaxaca to guarantee their physical integrity. EFE


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