Víctor Manuel Báez Chino (AP/Milenio)
Víctor Manuel Báez Chino (AP/Milenio)

Fourth journalist killed in Veracruz in two months

Mexico City, June 14, 2012–The body of Mexican journalist Víctor Manuel Báez Chino was found today in Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz state. He is the fourth journalist to be killed in Veracruz in the past two months.

Báez’s body was recovered this morning near the main square in Xalapa, according to news reports. In a televised press conference, the state spokeswoman, Gina Domínguez, said officials received reports that three armed men abducted Báez Wednesday night at 11:30. Báez was the editor of the crime section for the state digital edition of the national newspaper Milenio and an editor of the website Reporteros Policiacos, which also covers crime, according to Milenio

In the press conference, Domínguez indicated that an organized crime cartel is responsible for the murder. After the press conference, national Attorney General Marisela Morales told reporters she had dispatched federal investigators to probe the murder, adding that they would look into the possible involvement of state officials, among other lines of investigation. Neither official offered any more details about a possible motive.

Veracruz, which is a battleground for the Zetas and Sinaloa cartels, is one of Mexico’s most dangerous states for the press, according to CPJ research. Seven journalists and one former journalist, all of whom covered the police beat or politics, have been killed in unclear circumstances in the past year. There have been no arrests in any of the cases. Several local reporters who cover those beats, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal, told CPJ they have fled to other parts of the country.

“We are outraged by the murder of Víctor Manuel Báez Chino and the unrelenting deadly violence against the press in Mexico, and particularly in the state of Veracruz,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s Executive Director in New York. “It is appalling that nearly all of these crimes are carried out with complete impunity. Mexican authorities must end this crisis, bring journalist killers to justice, and ensure that journalists can carry out their work without fearing for their lives.”