National/Mexico: Torture and murder of journalist and four women

September 10, 2015

Foto @ Cuartoscuro

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)

Hemeroteca de la revista Proceso sobre Rubén Espinosa

“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)

National/International: PBI and WOLA publish report on Mechanism of Protection for Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists in Mexico (10 February 2015)

National: A delicate moment for the Mechanism for the Protection of Rights Defenders and Journalists (30 March 2014)

Oaxaca: New attacks on journalists (2 September 2014)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz announces 10-day hunger strike to protest 15 years’ imprisonment

May 16, 2014

Foto @ Red Contra la Represión y por la Solidaridad

Photo @ Network against Repression and for Solidarity

Alejandro Díaz Santis, a prisoner in solidarity with the Voz del Amate who is incarcerated in CERSS No. 5 in San Cristóbal de las Casas, announced on 3 May a 10-day hunger strike given that “they have held me unjustly for 15 years,” a time during which he claims to have lacked a translator and thus been denied due process, as he expresses in a public communique.  Furthermore, he added that he still had not received responses of commitments from the governor of Chiapas, Manuel Velasco Coello, “when on 4 July 2013, he promised to find means or links with authorities from Veracruz to obtain my freedom,” this being the state in which he was legally processed.  He also called on “President Enrique Peña Nieto and Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa to do what they can to free me as soon as possible.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Sántiz indígena injustamente preso anuncia ayuno de 10 días para exigir su libertad (Pozol Colectivo, 3 de mayo de 2014)

Comunicado desde el Penal No.5 Alejandro Díaz Santiz solidario de La Voz del Amate (Chiapas Denuncia Pública, 13 de mayo de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

Chiapas: day of fasting and prayer for Alejandro Díaz on International Political Prisoners’ Day (29 April 2014)

Chiapas: Denunciation from Alejandro Díaz Santis from the San Cristóbal de Las Casas jail (30 March 2014)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Santis announces fast to demand freedom (15 January 2014)

National: Patishtán requests that Peña Nieto release all prisoners who are unjustly imprisoned (9 December 2013)

Chiapas: 9 prisoners in solidarity with the Voz del Amate released, but Patishtán will remain imprisoned (20 July 2013)

National: Disappeared journalist Gregorio Jiménez is found dead

February 16, 2014

Foto @ Diario de Cambio

Photo @ Diario Cambio

The Veracruzan journalist Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz, who had been kidnapped on 5 February, was found dead on 11 February.  The State Attorney General’s Office of Veracruz confirmed that the body of the reporter, who worked for the Notisur and Liberal del Sur daily newspapers, together with two other corpses in a safehouse in the Las Choapas municipality.

The Veracruzan authorities indicate that four suspects have been arrested, including the presumed intellectual author of the murders, Teresa de Jesús Hernández Cruz.  In this way, it should be recalled that Carmela Hernández, wife to Gregorio Jiménez, detailed that since her very first declaration before the Veracruzan authorities, she had referred to the death-threats made by Teresa de Jesús, owner of the El Mamey bar, which had to do with articles published by her husband in the two newspapers where he worked.  These articles denounced a number of murders that had taken place in said bar.

Following the confirmation of the journalist’s death, Erick Lagos, Secretary of Governance of Veracruz, stressed that the murder of Gregorio Jiménez is related to his own work, and he speculated on the “personal motives” and “vengeance” as the basis for the crime.  For its part, the organization Article 19 criticized the declarations of the Veracruzan Secretary of Governance and said that “it is alarming that, as in similar cases in the same state, the State Attorney General’s Office of Veracruz seeks from the start to play down an investigation that would relate the crime with the journalist’s work, noting that a ‘personal conflict between neighbors’ explains the murder of  Jiménez,” given that, in recent dates, the journalist had been covering crimes committed in the community of Villa Allende, Coatzacoalcos.

Communication organizations, such as Reporters Without Borders, House of the Journalist, and the Network of Journalists Standing Up demanded that the Federal Attorney General’s Office investigate the case, because they have little faith in the authorities of Veracruz, given that one of the suspects arrested for the crime was let go due to lack of evidence.

Following the kidnapping of Jiménez, his colleagues and fellow journalists organized marches to demand that the authorities rescue him.  With his death, the journalist community has been greatly moved.  The headline of Chiapas Paralelo published several articles expressing that “Why does the death of Goyo [Jiménez] hurt us so?  Why do we all feel this pain, or why should we?  We are hurt because we know that the freedom of speech of journalists is linked to the right to know about people.  If we journalists cannot report due to fear for the reprisals we will face, the citizenry also loses, because it will lack the true information to help it make better decisions.”  Furthermore, “your life [that of Jiménez] cost 20,000 pesos in a country where we are all expendable.  The case of Goyo hurts us, as do all cases of unknown Goyos.”

It should be noted that, since the PRI governor’s taking power in 2011 (Javier Duarte), ten journalists have been murdered in the state, with at least three disappeared, and a dozen having to abandon their work due to the violent climate generated by organized crime.  Veracruz is the state where the most crimes against journalists have been reported in recent years.  With 87 journalists killed since 2000, according to the National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH), Mexico is the most dangerous country of Latin America in which to exercise this profession.

For more information (in Spanish):

Encuentran muerto al periodista veracruzano Gregorio Jimenez (Animal Político, 11 de febrero de 2014)

Pagaron 20 mil pesos por asesinar a ‘Goyo’: Procuraduría de Veracruz(Proceso, 11 de febrero de 2014)

México: encuentran muerto al periodista Gregorio Jiménez (BBC Mundo, 12 de febrero de 2014)

¿Y por qué nos duele tanto el asesinato de Goyo? ¿Por qué nos duele a todos y todas o nos debería de doler? (Chiapas Paralelo, 12 de febrero de 2014)

Hallan muerto al periodista mexicano Gregorio Jiménez de la Cruz (El Mundo, 12 de febrero de 2014)

Una mujer pagó $20 mil por matar a Gregorio Jiménez: PGJ-Veracruz (La Jornada, 11 de febrero de 2014)

Para más información de SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: Denunciation of wave of attacks against journalists and activists (21 July 2013)

National: launching of Consultative Council of Mechanism for Protection of Journalists and Rights-Defenders (26 October 2012)

National: Approval of Law for the Protection of Human-Rights Defenders and Journalists (16 May 2012)

Oaxaca: Article 19 condemns attacks on journalists (22 March 2012)

Chiapas: Alejandro Díaz Santis announces fast to demand freedom

January 15, 2014


On 11 January, the prisoner Alejandro Díaz Santis, adherent to the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandona Jungle and a member in “Solidarity with the Voz del Amate” who is being held in Cereso no. 5 in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, published a communique upon completing half of his prison sentence.  He mentions that “due to the injustices and for being poor and indigenous, I was and remain incarcerated unjustly since 11 May 1999.  Today, 11 January 2014, I have spent 14 years and 8 months covering 50% of my sentence, which amounts to 29 years and 6 months.  It is for this reason that today I will fast and pray for 12 hours daily over the course of 4 days, requesting that God give me strength and wisdom to continue on with my struggle.  In this way I call on President Enrique Peña Nieto and Veracruz Governor Javier Duarte to take account of my case, given that the evidence is plagued with irregularities.  I request justice be done.  Lastly, I call on my comrades brothers and sisters to continue demanding true justice and liberty always.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Alejandro Díaz Santís anuncia ayuno por su libertad (Chiapas Denuncia, 13 de enero de 2014)

For more information from SIPAZ (in English):

National: Patishtán requests that Peña Nieto release all prisoners who are unjustly imprisoned (9 December 2013)

Chiapas: 9 prisoners in solidarity with the Voz del Amate released, but Patishtán will remain imprisoned (20 July 2013)