Journalists flee Veracruz as cartels crack down

By Mike O'Connor/CPJ Mexico Representative on July 29, 2011 3:54 PM ET

In the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, reporters are fleeing for their lives or are in hiding, according to Notiver, the city's principal newspaper, and local reporters. This flight began on Wednesday after the decapitated body of Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, a police beat reporter for Notiver for nearly three decades, was found near the building of Imagen, another local newspaper. Journalists in the city told CPJ that they assumed the murder was a general threat to reporters working for all news organizations. This follows the murders on June 20 of the city's most well-known columnist, Miguel Ángel López Velasco, his wife, Agustina, and their son, Misael. Both father and son worked at Notiver.

On Thursday, Notiver reported that five of its journalists, as well as four from other news organizations, had fled. Today, an informed source who asked not to be identified told CPJ that three reporters from Imagen had not come to work for two days, but it was unclear if they had left the city or were in hiding.

Notiver said today that coverage of the police beat had essentially been dismantled because there were no reporters of any news organizations left who were willing to do the job. The police beat is considered the most dangerous in most Mexican cities because organized crime groups often threaten or corrupt reporters assigned to it. The crime groups may take reprisals if reporters don't cooperate by writing stories the crime groups want them to.

UPDATED: Portions of this entry have been deleted because they did not meet CPJ standards.


Mr. O'Connor.

Why do you continue to blame the deaths of these reporters on the drug cartels? Why should Drug cartels care about these reporters?

On the other hand, it is President Calderon who issued his warning to reporters last year not to report to deeply on the so called "drug war". And now, those reporters who contiune to report are dead. Why is this so hard for you to figure out?

The only suspect in the Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz murder is a former police officer.

Have you ever considered the fact that these murders are the result of right wing paramilitary and Government death squads? Columbia went through the same thing 20 years ago when crime rates got too high and criminals were simply being killed as a low cost solution to the crime problem. Anyone who got in the way was also killed. Did these reporters get in the way too in Veracruz?

40,000 people are now dead, and you continue to blame the cartels? The Sinaloa cartel cartel has been totally coopted by the Government death squads. They are now all informers and stoolpigeons being used against the remaining ligitimate cartels. Any deaths from one side are quickly avenged by the other side. Any reporter who wants to report on this, against the wishes of President Calderon, are soon killed by the Government death squads.

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