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.

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.