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Third Mexican Journalist Assassinated in March; This Time in Chihuahua Capital (Updated)

Monday, March 27, 2017 7:34
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(Before It's News)

Posted by DD republished in part from Mexico News Daily and Insight Crime 


Reported by Mexico News Daily,
A well known Chihuahua journalist was killed Thursday morning in the state capital, the third to be assassinated in Mexico this month.

Miroslava Breach Velducea, 54, was killed by four gunshots fired at close range while in a vehicle in the Infonavit Nacional neighborhood at 7:00am, said state police in a statement.

She was outside her home when the attack took place, and was about to drive her son to school.

The victim was a correspondent for La Jornada and El Norte de Juárez and had recently launched a news agency.

 According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), 74 percent of journalists killed in Mexico since 1992 covered crime, 29 percent covered corruption and 24 percent covered politics.

Insight Crime reported “Along those lines, Marcela Turati Muñoz, an award-winning reporter for the Mexican news outlet Proceso, told InSight Crime that it was impossible to confirm that organized crime was directly responsible for these killings. But Turati also pointed out that it is just as plausible that the assassinations have to do with political power struggles involving corrupt local politicians and businessmen as it is that they have do with drug trafficking cartels.

“It is easy for many assassins in these areas [where the journalists were killed] to disguise their crimes as the work of organized crime, because they know that no one will thoroughly investigate if the crime presents organized crime characteristics,” Turati wrote in an email.

“In Chihuahua, for example, there aren’t only cartel disputes, there is also an ongoing political dispute, a political readjustment. And in each of these three states [Guerrero, Veracruz, Chihuahua], links between politicians and cartels come to light,” she added.

In March 2016, Breach had written specifically about these links in the state of Chihuahua, revealing the family ties between local candidates for elections and criminal groups.”
 During her career, the journalist had spoken out against human rights violations and the negative impacts of drug trafficking. Among the most recent subjects she investigated was the displacement of hundreds of familes by drug trafficking organizations in Chihuahua, and organized crime’s infiltration of local elections.

Journalists converged Thursday afternoon at the state Congress where one, in a move described as unprecedented, was given the microphone to address legislators. César Ibarra condemned the crime and called on lawmakers to consult with journalists in the formulation of new laws for their protection.

Congress has been criticized for considering legislation without input from the profession.

Attorney General César Agosto Peniche Espejel said the chief line of investigation in the case centers around Breach Velducea’s profession. But she had neither sought protection nor made complaints of threats against her, he said.

One newspaper reported a message was left at the scene but authorities have offered no details about it.

The journalist’s death was lamented in the Senate Thursday after the news was announced by a visibly distraught Senator from Chihuahua.

“We are concerned, troubled, outraged and hurt by what happened today: an insidious assassination for which there is no justification, that cannot have any explanation and must have an immediate response from the state of Chihuahua so that those who committed this crime are truly punished,” said Graciela Ortiz.

She hailed the victim as a critical woman who was consistent and honest in her work.

Senators paid tribute with a minute of silence.

United States Ambassador Roberta Jacobson expressed her condolences on Twitter, adding that “this and other crimes against journalists should not go unpunished to the detriment of freedom of the press.”

Chihuahua has seen a surge in violence in recent months. Last weekend alone there were at least 14 murders reported.

Mexico was denounced last month as the most dangerous country in Latin America for journalists. Reporters Without Borders said 99 were assassinated between 2000 and 2016.

Breach Velducea was the third victim this month. Veracruz journalist Ricardo Monlui Cabrera was gunned down in Veracruz on March 19; the journalist was shot at pointblank range while exiting a restaurant with his family, reported La Jornada. In 2010, Monlui’s son had denounced being kidnapped, shot and left for dead by municipal police.  


On March 2, Cecilio Pineda Brito was assassinated by two men on a motorcycle in the state of Guerrero. Pineda, who covered the crime beat, had survived a previous attempt on his life in 2015 and had repeatedly received death threats since then. The Guerrero State Attorney General Xavier Olea Peláez said that organized crime was behind his murder, according to El Universal.


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