Edwin Rivera Paz

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Two unidentified assailants on a motorcycle shot dead Edwin Rivera Paz on the afternoon of July 9, 2017, in the city of Acayucan in Mexico’s Veracruz state, according to news reports that cited an anonymous witness.

The journalist died from multiple gunshot wounds, the reports said. Rivera Paz’s half-brother Pablo Rivera Cabrera, who was living with him at the time of this death, identified the body, the daily El Universal reported.

Rivera Paz fled his native Honduras in late January 2017, after his colleague, Igor Padilla, was murdered in San Pedro Sula, Univision reported. According to website InSight Crime , which researches organized crime in Latin America, San Pedro Sula is wracked by gang violence.  

Rivera Paz and Padilla worked together at the television station HCH (Hable Como Habla or Speak as You Speak). Rivera Paz was the lead cameraperson for Padilla’s comedy program “Los Verduleros” (the Greengrocers), and worked on other journalistic projects with the station.

While in Mexico, Rivera Paz was working on an independent reporting project about the challenges faced by Central American migrants in Mexico, including violence from organized crime groups, according to the Mexican political news website La Silla Rota, which cited an anonymous source.

At the time of his murder, Rivera Paz had been living in the southern part of Veracruz for several months, and was seeking political asylum in Mexico, according to Rivera Cabrera, who was quoted in El Universal, and a report on the news website Animal Politico.

On July 10, 2017, the Veracruz state prosecutor’s office released a statement saying that it was investigating Rivera Paz’s murder.

Ricardo Sánchez Pérez del Pozo, the Federal Special Prosecutor for Attention to Crimes against Freedom of Expression, told CPJ in July 2017 that his office had opened a case file for the murder to determine whether it was related to the victim’s work as a journalist.

Jorge Morales Vázquez, executive secretary of the Veracruz State Commission for the Care and Protection of Journalists, told CPJ in July 2017 that the commission was investigating Rivera Paz’s reporting as a possible motive but could not provide additional information.

Neither Mexican state nor federal authorities had provided further information as to possible suspects or a possible motive as of late 2017.