MEXICO: Bullets found outside home of journalist who criticized local government

August 28, 2007
Posted September 17, 2007

Martín Serrano Herrera, Diario Tribuna

Serrano, editor of the Jalapa-based daily Diario Tribuna, found high-caliber bullets with red paint wrapped in newspaper just outside his home in the southeastern state of Veracruz. The journalist told CPJ he believed the threat was a warning against his critical reporting on the local government.

Serrano told CPJ he found the five bullets smeared with red paint at the doorstep of his house on the morning of August 28, 2007. They were wrapped in a recent edition of Diario Tribuna, which led with a story critical of officials who work closely with the governor. Serrano said he immediately called the local police.

Previous editions of the paper linked state officials to drug traffickers, whose presence in Veracruz has increased in recent years. Serrano said that several weeks ago one of his sources at the governor’s office warned him about conversations he had overheard between state officials that included comments such as, “Serrano should be more careful.”

On September 3, Serrano filed charges against the governor of Veracruz, Fidel Herrera Beltrán, accusing him of having ordered the threats against him, the journalist told CPJ.

A spokesperson at the federal special prosecutor’s office to protect journalists in Mexico City confirmed to CPJ that it is investigating the case, as the bullets left at Serrano’s house are used by weaponry that is restricted to military use.