An increase in organized crime-related violence has terrorized the Mexican border state of Tamaulipas over the past week. Conflicts between rival cartel factions in the neighboring border cities of Reynosa and Matamoros have left dozens dead, escalating the present danger for journalists practicing in the region.
After fracturing her jaw with a single stroke, Susana Morazán’s aggressors made a threat: “stop talking bad about the government.” The event took place on Jan. 19, when two men riding motorcycles intercepted the TV Azteca Guatemala host while she was driving her car, according to Prensa Libre.
Advocates are reporting that criminal gangs and paramilitary groups in Colombia, one of the most dangerous Latin American countries for journalists, have been issuing death threats for journalists and human rights defenders for the past two months. Media and government representatives have called for investigation to find the sources behind these threats.
With a total of 579 violations and 350 cases, 2014 was the “worst year” on record in terms “guarantees to the human right to freedom of expression” in Venezuela, according to non-governmental organization Espacio Público. The number of violations and cases, they said, are the highest they have been in the past 20 years.
The body of journalist José Moisés Sánchez Cerezo was found in the early hours of January 24, according to the Office of the Attorney General (PGJ) in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The journalist had disappeared on January 2, when armed and unidentified individuals pulled him from his house, located in Medellín de Bravo.
In Brazil and Mexico, ranked seventh and eleventh by the Committee to Protect Journalists as the countries with the highest levels of impunity in the murder of journalists, two advocacy groups are mapping these attacks in an effort to increase their security.
Impunity in the murder of journalists is not new in Latin America. In the last decade, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported 72 instances of journalists killed for their work. About 78 percent of these cases faced complete or partial impunity. But in Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, levels of impunity have surpassed those of any other Latin American country, according to CPJ’s 2014 Global Impunity Index.
The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) and the Peruvian Press Council (CPP) have held a press conference to condemn the killing of the wife of journalist Gerson Fabián Cuba, Gloria Lima Calle, who was killed in an attack of the Radio Rumba office in the Pichanaki district of the Chanchamayo province, Junín.
Los Urabeños and Los Rastrojos, paramilitary groups in Colombia, have published hits lists threatening a combined ten journalists with consequences if they don’t immediately abandon their posts and leave the towns where they work.
The Organization of American States' special rapporteur for Freedom of Expression released a statement in which it “express[ed] its deepest concern for the deterioration of the right to freedom of expression in Venezuela.”