Cambio de Michoacán
Cambio de Michoacán

Journalist missing in western Mexico

New York, April 9, 2010—The Committee to Protect Journalists voiced concern today about the fate of Mexican journalist Ramón Ángeles Zalpa, left, who has been missing since Tuesday, according to his family and reports in the local press.

Ángeles, a part-time correspondent for the newspaper Cambio de Michoacán in the municipality of Paracho, in western Michoacán, left home in his car around 1 p.m. on Tuesday, his son Romel Ángeles told CPJ. The journalist was on his way the National University of Pedagogy, but never reached the school’s facilities, his son said. No one has heard from Ángeles since.

According to Juan Ignacio Salazar, a senior editor for the Morelia-based Cambio de Michoacán, the journalist has covered a variety of local beats, including organized crime. The editor also said that in late March, Ángeles covered an armed attack on a local indigenous family. According to local journalists, the alleged assailants belong to a local criminal gang.

“We are concerned about the fate of Ramón Ángeles Zalpa,” said CPJ’s deputy director Robert Mahoney. “He is the second journalist from this paper to go missing in less than six months. The authorities must act promptly to find him.”

The journalist’s family reported him missing to the Michoacán state prosecutor’s office, Cambio de Michoacán reported Wednesday. CPJ is investigating whether his disappearance is related to his journalistic work.

Michoacán State has come under siege by two drug cartels, which for more than a year have been fighting a bloody war to control the area and have threatened local journalists to tailor their reporting to favor one or the other group, CPJ’s research shows. Journalist María Esther Aguilar Cansimbe, also a correspondent for Cambio de Michoacán, went missing in Michoacán in November 2009. Nobody has heard from her since.

CPJ research indicates that eight journalists, not including Ángeles, have gone missing since 2005 in Mexico while doing their work.