A worsening dispute between the Gulf drug cartel and its former security force, the Zetas, has resulted in 200 deaths in two weeks in the northeastern states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León and unprecedented censorship along Mexico’s border with Texas. The news blackout is backed by threats, kidnapping, and attacks against journalists, The Dallas Morning News reports.
The killings of three Mexican journalists in January alone, and the news that 15 people, mostly teenagers, were killed at a birthday party in Ciudad Juárez have called new international attention to Mexico’s drug-related violence, which is reported to have killed more than 1,000 people in the first 34 days of this year. Meanwhile, Mexican media workers brace for more attacks.
Twitter users in Mexico City have angered authorities by tweeting the locations of roadside Breathalyzer checkpoints, and kidnappers and drug traffickers are using Facebook and MySpace to communicate. Federal lawmakers have responded by proposing a bill to restrict social networking sites and to create a police force to monitor them, GlobalPost reports.
Jorge Ochoa Martinez, editor in chief of El Sol de La Costa newspaper, was assassinated with a gunshot to the face, becoming the third journalist killed in Mexico this year. His body was found in a car parked close to City Hall in Ayutla de los Libres, Guerrero, the Latin American Herald Tribune reports. Read this report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The vehicle of Adriana Aguirre San Millán was set ablaze outside the radio chain's offices in in Los Mochis, Sinaloa, and a message left beside it warned that the same will happen to all other journalists, La Jornada and El Universal report. Aguirre owns the radio chain Organización Impulsora de Radio (OIR).
Jose Luis Romero, a reporter for the Línea Directa radio station who was known for his broadcasts on drug trafficking, was found shot to death Saturday on a highway a few miles from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, where he was kidnapped two weeks ago. The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reuters and the Associated Press have stories in English, and many sources have stories in Spanish.
The rash of attacks on Mexican journalists has resulted in the first assassination this year. Two reporters from the newspaper Zócalo Saltillo were kidnapped Thursday night, and one of them, Valentín Valdés Espinosa, was found dead outside a motel this morning (Jan. 8) with a warning note on his chest, the newspaper reports. The message's contents were not revealed.
Judith Torrea, a Spanish-born reporter, has covered U.S.–Mexico border issues such as the drug trade, immigration, and border policy for nine years. She was attracted to Ciudad Juárez since her first visit 12 years ago, despite its naming by a Mexican watchdog group as the world’s most violent city.
Some 40 reporters held a vigil outside the attorney general's office in Los Mochis, Sinaloa (NW Mexico), insisting that authorities quicken their response to the abduction of José Luis Romero, crime reporter for the Línea Directa radio station. A state official acknowledged there were no advances in the case, Línea Directa and La Jornada report.