Veracruz protesters condemn impunity two years after killing of Mexican journalist Regina Martínez

By Diego Cruz

Mexican journalists in Veracruz and other groups marched on Monday, April 28, to commemorate reporter Regina Martínez, who was killed two years ago on the same day, according to Proceso magazine.

The silent protest took place in front of the Governor's Palace in Xalapa and protesters demanded justice in Martínez’s case. Journalists, social organizations, friends of Martínez, environmentalists and the civil association Colectivo por la Paz participated in the march.

“Regina, defending your memory is defending your work. We journalists do not accept two years of impunity,” read a banner used during the march.

Martínez was found dead and asphyxiated in the bathroom of her home in Xalapa on April 28, 2012, showing signs of having been beaten and strangled, according to the newspaper Vanguardia. Martínez was a reporter for the weekly magazine Proceso and covered stories related to drug trafficking, criminal ties to the government and public safety.

In the two years since Martínez’s death, at least two people have been implicated in the killing, according to Proceso. The first was José Adrián Hernández Domínguez, known as “El Jarocho,” whom authorities have been unable to detain. The second was Jorge Antonio Hernández, “El Silva,” who received a sentence of 38 years and two months in prison but ended up being released after a ruling by the Supreme Court of Justice of Veracruz.

The protesters rejected the state government's conclusion that the motive behind the killing was robbery and that it was a crime of passion, according to another article in Proceso.

“Proceso’s correspondent was a victim of social violence and the systematic violence the state has exerted over the press and social movements,” explained Anaís Palacios, spokesperson for Colectivo por la Paz.

Reporter Norma Trujillo from La Jornada Veracruz said that by excluding Martínez’s profession as a factor in the investigation, the authorities had “negated the work of journalists.”

According to Vice News, Martínez’s case is representative of the reality lived by journalists in Mexico, who face death threats, arbitrary detentions, physical attacks and even death.

Another reporter from Proceso, Jorge Carrasco, told Vice News that Martínez’s killing was an attack against critical independent media in Mexico.

“Regina’s case demonstrates that Mexico is not a democratic country, because journalists wouldn’t be forced to work in conditions like these if Mexico was a democracy,” Carrasco said.

Darío Ramírez, director of the human rights organization Article 19, said it was impossible to strengthen laws meant to protect journalists when those responsible for the crimes were public officials themselves.

According to Ramírez, Veracruz has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists. Since 2010, nine journalists have been killed in the state, the most recent being the reporter Gregorio Jiménez, whose body was found on Feb. 11 of this year.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.