Jesús Eugenio Ramos Rodríguez, known as "Chuchín,” was shot in the morning of February 9, 2019, at Hotel Ramos, in the municipality of Emiliano Zapata, in Tabasco state, and later died in a hospital, according to local news reports. Those reports contain conflicting information about the number of shooters seen by witnesses.
The journalist was meeting with several men for breakfast at the hotel when he was shot; he had planned to also meet the mayor of Emiliano Zapata, who had not yet arrived, according to those news reports.
Chuchín was the only individual targeted in the shooting, and he was shot at least eight times, local news website Tabasco Hoy reported. He was transported to a hospital, where he died the same day.
Chuchín hosted the news and commentary show “Nuestra Región HOY,” which broadcast daily on Radio Oye 99.9, according to Tobasco Hoy.
Nuestra Región HOY had become increasingly controversial in the wake of recent municipal elections, according to the journalist’s brother, Eugenio Ramos Rodriguez, who spoke with CPJ. Ramos Rodriguez told CPJ that he believed the killing may have been related to his brother’s work, but that he was not aware of any specific threats against the journalist.
Luis Antonio Vidal, the president of the Journalist Association for the State of Tabasco, a professional association for journalists, told CPJ in an email that Chuchín had criticized local politicians and garnered some “uncomfortable reactions” from them.
Tabasco governor Adán Augusto López Hernández praised Chuchín’s work and condemned the killing in a video statement published on Tabasco Hoy.
The Tabasco state prosecutor’s office announced an investigation into the killing in a statement on social media, which said that the Federal Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression had been informed of the case, thereby raising the possibility of a parallel federal investigation into the killing.
Radio Oye 99.9 did not respond to CPJ’s emailed request for comment. CPJ did not receive a response to emails about the status of the investigation sent to the state prosecutor’s office and the special prosecutor’s office.
Gerardo Priego Tapia, a local Tabasco politician who served as the head of the Press Freedom Committee in the Mexican Chamber of Deputies from 2006 to 2009, told CPJ that the situation for journalists in Tabasco is “sickeningly insecure,” adding, “If a journalist is marked for death by a criminal group or politician, there’s no guarantee that they won’t be killed.”