39 Murders In Juarez During July; Total Of 270 In 2014…Murder Of Reporter In Zacatecas

There were 39 homicides in Juarez during July and a total of 270 murders so far in 2014–an average of 1.7 murders per day.  In the same period in 2013, there were 276 homicides, so 2014 is only slightly less violent in terms of this crime. For all of the years 1993-2007, the daily average was about 0.7 murder victims per day.

Monthly tallies: Jan 32; Feb 41; Mar 40; Apr 35; May 52; Jun 31; Jul 39 for 7-month total of 270.

Also below, Proceso reports that Zacatecas reporter Nolberto Herrera Rodríguez was beaten to death in his home… Government investigators are reporting that the murder was a crime of passion relating to his sexual orientation.  The Article 19 organization for the defense of freedom of expression demanded that the PRI government in Zacatecas provide protection for journalists and to fully investigate the case and not to dismiss the possibility that the crime was related to his profession.

Terminó Mes De Julio Con 39 Asesinatos (El Diario)

Matan A Reportero (El Diario)

Lack of press freedom inspires innovation and creativity, even in toughest areas of northern Mexico

Dr. Celeste González de Bustamante is an associate professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona and an affiliated faculty member of the UA Center for Latin American Studies. She is the author of Muy buenas noches,” Mexico, Television and the Cold War  and co-editor of Arizona Firestorm: Global Immigration Realities, National Media, and Provincial Politics . Prior to entering the academy, Dr. González de Bustamante reported and produced commercial and public television for 16 years, covering politics and the U.S./Mexico border. Dr. Jeannine Relly is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism at the University of Arizona. She is an affiliated faculty member with the Center for Latin American Studies and holds a courtesy appointment with the School of Government and Public Policy. She has published numerous articles in top academic journals. Before joining the academy, she worked as a journalist in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and in the Caribbean. Follow them @celestegdb @JeannineRelly

Professors Relly and González de Bustamante are founding members of the Border Journalism Network. Since 2011, they have interviewed more than 100 journalists and activists from Mexico and the U.S. They have published two academic articles on violence and journalism along the U.S.-Mexico border in the International Journal of Press/Politics and Digital Journalism. They are now working on a book examining the same subject.

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Banners on El Diario de Juarez's building remind the public of two journalists from the paper who were murdered. (Photo: Celeste González de Bustamante)

Banners on El Diario de Juarez’s building remind the public of two
journalists from the paper who were murdered. (Photo: Celeste González de Bustamante)

In the city of Reynosa, and in other parts of the state of Tamaulipas, it’s common for members of the news media to have to wait for a “green light,” before publishing stories about delicate matters such as organized crime and drug cartels. A newsroom editor answers to two bosses, the owners of the news media outlet and the leaders of organized crime.

“We never imagined that we would have to wait for orders,” said Héctor Hugo Jimenez,” a 30-year-veteran journalist and editor-in-chief of Verbo Libres Editores, which publishes the bi-monthly alternative newspaper Hora Cero in Reynosa and Monterrey, Nuevo León.

In 2014, violence and gang warfare continue at high levels in Reynosa. And since 2010, after the split of the Gulf and the Zetas cartels, two powerful transnational criminal organizations, the old rules that governed newsrooms changed dramatically. Antonio Mazzitelli, representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Mexico said that his office began to track a unique situation along the border of crime bosses dictating the news. Before, Mazzitelli said, “violence, generally speaking, operated by crime tended to be hidden, not so broadcasted and visible.”

Although the rule of waiting for a green or red light has been in place for several years, that doesn’t mean that all forms of journalism in Tamaulipas or other parts of the border have been silenced. Under extreme circumstances, journalists have looked for innovative ways to publish and professionalize their craft.

In 2011, Jimenez directed Una ruta nada santa: de San Salvador a San Fernando (An unholy route: From San Salvador to San Fernando). Heriberto Deandar Robinson, owner of Verbo Libres produced the film. The documentary retraces the lives and route of two Salvadoran migrants who were massacred in 2010 along with 70 other migrants, most from Central America. Their bodies were found on a ranch in San Fernando, Tamaulipas.

Jimenez said that at the time, to question who was responsible for the murders of 72 migrants would have amounted to a death sentence. Nevertheless, they knew they had to cover the story, somehow. The documentary won an award from the Inter-American Press Association in 2012 for journalism excellence in the category of Human Rights and Community Service.

In Nuevo Laredo, the Cantu Deandar family is being honored and is celebrating 90 years of publishing news in Tamaulipas. Don Heriberto Deandar Amador first founded Verbo Libre in 1924, and in 1932 began to publish El Mañana de Nuevo Laredo.

The current editor-in-chief of El Mañana, Ramón Darío Cantú Deandar reflects on his family’s journalism tradition in times of crisis. “What motivates me is saving a business that’s been around for 90 years. That’s why I’m there.”

West of Nuevo Laredo, in Ciudad Juárez, which a few years ago ranked as one of the world’s most dangerous cities, journalists continue to struggle to publish investigative journalism.

In response to a violent working environment, and after El Diario de Juárez lost two of its journalists, several female reporters at the paper founded the Juárez Journalists Network (Red de Periodistas de Juárez).

The network lists among its goals: professionalization of journalists, organizing workshops on investigative journalism skills, dealing with victims, and increasing safety among reporters.

Rocio Gallegos, one of the co-founders of the network and current editor-in-chief of El Diario de Juárez said, “first, we focused on security and self-protection.”

Looking back at the worst years of the violence, Gallegos said with emotion in her voice, “I feel so proud of the Juárez journalists. I’m not just talking about my colleagues at El Diario, but colleagues from all over Ciudad Juárez, in newspapers and television.”

This blog post is our introduction to a collection of dozens of interviews with journalists and activists in Mexico and along both sides of the border. We consider their experiences as critical oral histories.

We feel strongly that the public should hear about the experiences of journalists and activists to help improve understanding about the borderlands and Mexico. As a result, we are including our interviews in an open-access archive titled “The Documented Border,” which will be launched on October 8.

Violent Incidents Today In Juarez (June 23)

A traffic policeman was killed in Juarez late this afternoon in what appeared to be a hit and run incident. There has not yet been an official report on the incidents.

Asesinan A Agente De Tránsito En La Talamás Camandari (El Diario)

Below, three El Diario reporters were attacked in the city center while on the job. When first attacked by three guys, they were leaving the area and took a photo with a cell phone. At that point, one of the attackers called and apparently asked permission to beat them up and they were then set upon by about 11 men. -Molly

Agreden A Reporteros De El Diario En La Zona Centro (El Diario)

Attorney Salvador Urbina Assassinated In Juarez

Juarez attorney Salvador Urbina Quiroz was assassinated yesterday in his office. A judge serving in the current city administration, César Cordero, was murdered also. The men were meeting in Urbina’s office and it is reported that 2 young men got out of a black pickup, came to the office and asked to see Urbina. The receptionist told them he was in a meeting. When he did not come out, the men took out their weapons, threatened the people in the outer office, then went into the private office, asked who was Urbina. When the men did not answer, both of them were shot to death. The shooters then left. Police and paramedics arrived, but nothing could be done for the victims.

The story indicates that two men were arrested, but no more details were provided before the paper went to press.

Salvador Urbina Quiroz had also worked as a journalist for El Diario de Juárez in 2004-2005 and for other media in Juarez. He was a leader of the Juarez legal community and was often consulted as a source by the news media as a critic of government authorities in fighting the violence. He has also served as subdirector of the state prison (CERESO). Urbina received many threats to his life and briefly fled to the US in 2011 after receiving a warning from the federal police. He had returned some time ago and continued to practice law until he was killed yesterday.

UPDATE May 27: 

In total, 9 people were murdered yesterday in Juarez. The details are in the article below. It was the most violence day so far in 2014.

Asesinan A 9 Ayer En Distintos Hechos (El Diario)

 

Ciudad Juárez’s Perverse Development: Knowledge City By Sandra Rodríguez Nieto

Ciudad Juárez is not all about the drug war. The city is a complex place: 1.3 million people live here. It’s not the Wild West, as some writers seem to make out. And the city is woefully served by its leaders, political, educational, or otherwise. This October 2011 article by Sandra Rodríguez Nieto lays bare the human costs to students in higher education of these problems.

The article commemorates the two year anniversary of the murder of journalist Regina Martínez a fearless documenter of public corruption in Mexico.

Ciudad Juárez’s Perverse Development: Knowledge City — Between Scholarly Pursuits and Private Interests


By Sandra Rodríguez Nieto (EL DIARIO DE JUÁREZ)

Even though his classes begin at 0800, David Valles, 19, and a resident of Colonia Monumental, has to get up before 0600 so that he can take the Indiobús at 0640 from the Zona Centro. From there it takes him more than an hour to arrive at the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez’s (UACJ) new southeast campus, 16kms from the southern limits of the border city.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

 

‘Man in the Middle’ separates Ruben Salazar from his myth…LATimes

‘Man in the Middle’ separates Ruben Salazar from his myth
By Yvonne Villarreal April 26, 2014, 6:00 a.m.

His is a name that has appeared in this publication’s pages hundreds of times — as an author and as a subject. It’s a name that calls up notions of the Latino struggle for civil rights and the radical Chicano movement in Los Angeles.

It’s also a name that initially made filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez groan when someone suggested the life behind the name as a subject for his next documentary.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

A Decade Without A Single Public Official Guilty Of The Crime Of Torture (Animal Politico)

Thanks to Patrick for this translation of an Animal Político story about torture in Mexico. Not a single English-speaking journalist has covered the visit to Mexico of the Special Rapporteur on Torture. The article points out Mexico’s failure to investigate, prosecute, and punish serious human rights violations.

This article was published on 24 April 2014 in AnimalPolítico. It has been translated without permission for the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP).

Human Rights Abuse in Mexico: A Decade Without a Single Public Official Guilty of the Crime of Torture

By Tania L. Montalvo (ANIMALPOLÍTCO)

- Investigations Exist but no Punishment for Public Officials in either Military or Civilian Jurisdictions

Over the past decade — and in response to public information requests — figures provided by the Federal Attorney General (PGR) and the Ministry of Defense (SEDENA) show that not a single official has been published for the crime of torture, neither in civil nor military jurisdictions.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

A Voice From The Grave: Juárez, The Border’s Second Murder City (Armando Rodríguez, El Diario…)

A Voice From The Grave: Juárez, The Border’s Second Murder City

This article was first published in El Diario de Juárez on 14 February 2005. It has been translated without permission by the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP). There is no web-accessible version of the Spanish-language original.

This translation is dedicated to the work of journalist Sandra Rodríguez Nieto.

Translator’s Note: Armando Rodríguez Carreón, “El Choco,” was a veteran crime reporter for El Diario de Juárez until his violent murder in November 2008. You can read a portrait of El Choco by his colleague Martín Orquiz for Nuestra Aparente Rendición, here (unofficially translated into English for the MxJTP).

Rodríguez’s murder continues in impunity, with multiple failures in the investigation. El Choco’s unsolved case is one that marks Mexico as infamous for its inability, or unwillingness, to get to the bottom of journalist’s murders, meaning that it ranks number 7 on the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Impunity Index for 2014. In the Inter-American System of Human Rights, and pursuant to Mexico’s 1998 ratification of the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR), the state has the international responsibility to investigate, prosecute, and punish human rights abuses: among other human rights violations, Armando Rodríguez and his family have been denied access to justice for his murder, implying the state’s violation of a human rights treaty, the ACHR, it has ratified.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Mexican Rights Body: 89% of Attacks on Journalists Go Unpunished

Further evidence of Open Season, no bag limit, on MX journalists. And no drivers on the horizon to reverse direction. If anything, we can see more sanctioned scrubbing to polish the Pena/PRI image.

Mexican Rights Body: 89% of Attacks on Journalists Go Unpunished

MEXICO CITY – Some 89 percent of the attacks on journalists in Mexico go unpunished because authorities do not investigate the cases, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) said.

Only about 19 percent of cases involving the killings and disappearances of journalists, as well as attacks on media outlets, end up in the hands of a judge, the CNDH said in a statement.

Suspects go to trial in just 11 percent of cases and barely 10 percent of judicial proceedings end with a conviction, “producing an impunity rate of 89 percent,” said the CNDH, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombudsman’s office.

Prosecutors are failing to investigate and gather evidence to clear up crimes against members of the media, “such as murders, disappearances, attacks, injuries, threats and intimidation, among others,” the CNDH said, adding that it made a recommendation in this area in August 2013.

Between Jan. 1, 2010, and Feb. 28, 2014, 347 complaints were received about violations of the human rights of members of the media, the CNDH said.

A total of 88 journalists and other members of the media have been murdered since 2000, “presumably, for reasons related to their work,” the rights body said…

Read the rest of the story by clicking here.

Journalist Couple Murdered In 2010…Guerrero

THE MOURNFUL MURDERS OF A MARRIED JOURNALIST COUPLE: JUAN FRANCISCO RODRÍGUEZ RÍOS & MARÍA ELVIRA HERNÁNDEZ GALENA (ANDREW KENNIS, NUESTRA APARENTE RENDICIÓN)

This article appeared first in Spanish in the book, Tú y yo coincídimos en la noche terrible by Lolita Bosch and Alejandro Velez Salas, published by Nuestra Aparente Rendición in 2012. It is published at the MxJTP for the first time in English and with the permission of the author, who reserves all rights to the English original.

The Mournful Murder of a Married Couple: Juan Francisco Rodríguez Ríos & María Elvira Hernández Galena

By Andrew Kennis

On a typically hot and rainy night in the southwestern part of Guerrero, several gunmen briskly walked inside an Internet cafe owned and operated by a married couple who both practiced journalism. The gunmen proceeded to pull out their revolvers, after having gotten out of a black car with tinted windows, and shot and killed the couple at close range. He was shot three times, while she was shot four times. The date of the double-murder was June 28, 2010.

Juan Francisco Rodríguez Ríos, and María Elvira Hernández Galena, were respectively aged just 49 and 36 years-old when they were murdered. Rodriguez’s child was just 17 years-old when he witnessed all seven bullets end the lives of both of his parents.

In a chilling display of the kind of impact that widespread journalist killings have had in Mexico, colleagues reached for comment at El Sol de Acapulco, where Rodríguez had been working for the last half decade, produced reactions full of trepidation and fear.

“I didn’t have any relationship with him, aside from that of a working relationship,” the editor Carolina Santos whispered into the phone. “But I can say that he was a friendly person and always very respectful of everyone with whom he worked,” Santos added, albeit with hesitation.

Immediately following that comment, however, my call was transferred over to a reporter who made it a point to mention that she never knew Rodríguez and that no one was “authorized” to talk about him except the publisher of the paper.

What the silence amongst Rodríguez’s colleagues left in the wake of his death does not prevent us from finding out about, however, includes the following: Juan Rodríguez had been practicing journalism in Coyuca de Benítez, located within the Costa Grande region north of Acapulco, during the previous two decades. When he was killed, Rodríguez was the local stringer writing forEl Sol de Acapulco, as well as El Diario Objetivo of Chilpancingo.

Just hours before his death, Rodríguez had been on-the-scene reporting on a march commemorating the 15th anniversary of the Aguas Blancas massacre, which occurred after police had attacked a march of peasants in Coyuca de Benitez, murdering 17 of them in 1995.

Apart from his stringing and Internet cafe duties, Rodríguez was also a trade union representative for the National Union of Press Editors. Just days before his death, Rodríguez and several dozen of his journalistic colleagues had roundly condemned the persistent violence against journalists, which in 2010 was reaching a fever pitch. Eight journalists had been killed in Mexico and one had been missing at the point that Rodríguez and Hernández were killed in 2010, putting it as a year to out pace 2009 in terms of total journalists murdered, which saw 13 journalists slain. Further, the deaths marked the third and fourth murders of journalists during 2010 in Guerrero alone.

While a spokesperson for the state prosecutors told media and human rights investigators at the time of the murder, that suspected robbery was the cause, local journalists anonymously quoted by the press, spoke disparagingly about this explanation holding much weight. Internet cafes typically have no more than 600 pesos on hand and are not prime targets for robberies.

The double-murder attracted international condemnation and disdain. Irina Bokova, the Director-General of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said that these kind of crimes must not go “unpunished.” Carlos Lauría, the Committee to Protect Journalist’s senior program coordinator, said that the wave of murders was causing “widespread self-censorship.”

In a curious footnote to the killings,.38 caliber bullets were found at the scene of the murder, which occurred during a year that the controversial and since revealed U.S.-based Fast and Furious gun-walking program was at its height. .38 caliber revolvers were among the leading weapons that were walked under the program that resulted in thousands of high-powered weaponry winding up in the hands of the leading drug cartels in Mexico. However, since less than 5% of murders ever result in any significant investigation or prosecution, no suspects for the murder have ever been revealed, much less whether Fast and Furious weapons were used in the scene of a heinous murder and an apparent attack on journalistic freedom and autonomy.