Guillermo Luna Varela

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Luna’s body was found with three others in a canal in Boca
del Rio, Veracruz state, on May 3. All of the bodies had been dismembered and
showed signs of torture. Luna, a news photographer who specialized in the crime
beat, had gone missing on May 2, along with another victim, his uncle Gabriel
Huge Córdova, a freelance photojournalist. The other two victims were Esteban
Rodríguez, a former news photographer, and Irasema Becerra, an acquaintance of
Huge and Luna.

Luna and Huge had both formerly worked as photographers for
the local daily Notiver. After the murders
of three Notiver journalists last year, the two fled Veracruz along with
other local
journalists, news reports
said, but soon returned. Luna had worked as a photographer for the website Veracruznews
for the past six months, Martín Lara Reyna, the site’s owner, told CPJ.

Rodríguez had also quit his job at the local newspaper AZ
after the murders and had taken up work as a welder, according to local
journalists and news reports.

A federal official who spoke on condition of anonymity said
the day after the murders that all of the journalists on the police beat in
Xalapa, the capital of Veracruz state, as well as in the cities of Veracruz and
Boca del Rio, had been offered local police protection. CPJ has documented
a mixture of negligence and pervasive corruption among law enforcement
officials, particularly at the state level.

State authorities have launched an investigation into the
murders, according to news reports. 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.