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Mexican journalist executed after receiving threats from local mayor

March 27, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Mexican journalist executed after receiving threats from local mayor

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Press freedom groups condemned the murder of a Mexican journalist who was shot and killed after being subjected to threats and bribe offers to stop reporting on a local politician in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

Unidentified gunmen fatally shot Leobardo Vasquez Atzin in Gutierrez Zamora, Veracruz.

The slaying occurred only days after Vasquez revealed on his Facebook, Enlace Informativo Regional, that he was issued threats after he reported on public corruption in the city of Tecolutla.

The town’s mayor is reportedly implicated in an illegal property grab scheme. Vasquez was working for various local news outlets before he began Enlace Informativo Regional, according to El Universal.

“The murder of Leobardo Vázquez Atzin is the latest in a string of murders in Veracruz, the most dangerous area for journalists in the western hemisphere,” Jan-Albert Hootsen, who is the Mexican representative for the press freedom organization Committee to Protect Journalists, announced in a statement.

Mexican journalist Leobardo Vázquez Atzin (above) worked in Veracruz and was murdered in the city of Gutiérrez Zamora.

Vasquez’ killing is the third of its kind in the country since the beginning of 2018. This occurs after an ultra-violent 2017 where over a dozen reporters were killed with complete impunity.

The continuing attacks on journalists and the media caused the International Press Institute to categorize Mexico as the deadliest country for reporters. The number of murders of reporters surpassed Iraq and Syria.

In 2017, three of the executions occurred in Veracruz, which is one of the deadliest places for journalists.

In January, Jose Gerardo Martinez, an editor working for El Universal, was murdered in an alleged robbery gone wrong as he purchased toys for his children in Mexico City.

One week later, a group of hitmen killed Carlos Dominguez Rodriguez in front of his family in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. The independent reported wrote a column denouncing cartel violence in the region just before he was killed. Soon after this, members of the Cartel Del Noreste, the drug cartel that operates in Nuevo Laredo, ordered local reporters to drop the story.

Although not considered a journalist in the traditional manner, unidentified cartel members murdered Leslie Ann Pamela Montenegro last month.

She was a satirist also known as “La Nana Pelucas” who made a reputation for herself as a government and social critic on Youtube. A group of cartel members killed the artist at a restaurant in the beach city of Acapulco, Guerrero. The satirist managed to offend cartels with the content of her writing. Cartel members then issued a string of threats that eventually resulted in her death.

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