Photo @ Cuartoscuro
The photojournalist Rubén Espinosa Becerril, who specialized in covering social movements and militated against attacks on the press in Veracruz, was killed together with four women in Mexico City after having decided to move to the nation’s capital given that, since June, he had noted that armed persons were following him and taking pictures of him. The photographer, who worked freelance for Proceso and Cuartoscuro, warned of his situation to Article 19, the international NGO that defends journalists, and the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) based in New York. “I have no faith in any State institution. I do not have faith in the government. Instead, I fear for my comrades and for myself,” he said. The Proceso magazine expressed that he had “become a problematic photojournalist for the government,” given that Espinosa took the very photo of the Veracruz governor, Javier Duarte, which was published on the cover of the 1946 issue (15 February 2014) of Proceso, which bothered the potentate. In Veracruz, the state government reportedly bought up a multiplicity of the issue.
Veracruz is considered the most dangerous state to conduct journalism in Mexico, as 13 journalists have been murdered and three disappeared since 2011, when Javier Duarte began to govern. In July, Rubén Espinosa had been severe with the Veracruzan state government: “It is saddening to think of Veracruz. There are no words to say how bad that state is, with that government and the state of the press, and how well-off is corruption. Death seeks out Veracruz. Death has decided to install itself there,” he observed in an interview.
The prosecutor Rodolfo Ríos said that “the bodies presented each with a gunshot wound in the head and excoriation in various parts.” Espinosa and the four women were killed by coup de grace. Beyond this, sources consulted by Sin Embargo added that the bodies showed signs of having been tortured for a prolonged period, while other media indicated that the women could have been raped.
The identity of the four women who were murdered has not been published in official media, but the names of two of them have been released. One was a friend of Espinosa’s, named Nadia Vera Pérez. She was an activist with the student movement #IAm132. The other was Yesenia Quiroz Alfaro, 18 years of age, originally from Mexicali, Baja California. Another could have been a Colombian woman of 29 years of age, but her name has yet to be released. The fourth woman was identified as a domestic worker of 40 years of age. She hailed from Mexico State.
On 2 August, hundreds of journalists, relatives, friends, and citizens carried out a rally at the Angel of Independence and a mobilization before the offices of the Veracruzan government, where they hung a black bun and images of the executed journalist.
For more information (in Spanish):
Rubén Espinosa, un fotógrafo ‘incómodo’ para el gobierno de Duarte (Proceso, 2 de agosto de 2015)
“La muerte escogió a Veracruz como su casa y decidió vivir ahí”, dice fotógrafo en el exilio (Sin embargo, 1 de julio de 2015)
Rubén Espinosa y las cuatro mujeres recibieron cada uno un tiro de gracia (El País, 3 de agosto de 2015)
Con tiro de gracia, fotoperiodista y 4 mujeres asesinados en la Narvarte (La Jornada, 3 de agosto de 2015)
La evidencia deja en ridículo la versión de “robo” de la PGJDF y pone en la mira a Javier Duarte (Sin embargo, 1 de julio de 2015)
For more information from SIPAZ (in English):
National: Disappeared journalist Gregorio Jiménez is found dead (16 February 2014)
Oaxaca: New attacks on journalists (2 September 2014)