José Alberto Velázquez López

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:
Two men on a motorcycle shot Velázquez twice shortly after the newspaper owner left a staff Christmas party, the paper’s deputy editor, Luis Gamboa, told CPJ. Velázquez was taken to a hospital in Cancún where he died that night, local press reports said. Local reporters told CPJ that Velázquez reported receiving anonymous death threats in the months before his death. The newspaper’s printing press was also firebombed in November 2009.

Velázquez wrote articles that were critical of local officials, including the mayor of Tulum. Two reporters who interviewed Velázquez at the hospital on the night he died told CPJ that the publisher had identified the assailants as allies of the mayor. The mayor, Marciano Dzul Caamal, did not respond to repeated efforts by CPJ to reach him for response. But the day after the murder, his office issued a statement repudiating the killing and committing the mayor to helping solve it. In interviews with CPJ, some local journalists accused Velázquez of unethical business practices, including extortion, that could have played a role in the killing.

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