Journalists Ask for Justice/US Pays Opposition Campaigns
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Journalists Ask for Justice/US Pays Opposition Campaigns

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Paloma Duran By Paloma Duran | Journalist and Industry Analyst - Thu, 02/17/2022 - 12:58

Maldonado murder suspects arrested. Deputy Minister of Public Security Ricardo Mejía reported that three people involved in the murder of journalist Lourdes Maldonado have been arrested. Mejía said that the detainees are two perpetrators and a driver, who are expected to help in the search for the author of the murder.

On Jan. 23, Maldonado was shot and killed inside her car in Tijuana. In 2019, Maldonado requested President Andrés Manuel López Obrador's help because she feared for her life. Previously, Maldonado worked for the Primer Sistema de Noticias news outlet, owned by former Baja California Gov. Jaime Bonilla. Maldonado had a labor conflict with Bonilla, in which she accused Bonilla of not paying wages. After nine years of litigation, Maldonado won the dispute. Some have linked her murder to the lawsuit. Recently, the State Attorney General's Office reported that detainees Erick "N", Guillermo "N" and Kevin "N" have been linked to criminal proceedings for the murder of Maldonado. The government explained that a precautionary measure was filed against them so that they remain in preventive custody while an exhaustive investigation is carried out.

Journalists protest violence against them. During the president’s briefing, journalist Sonia de Anda spoke the names of colleagues killed in Baja California in 2022 as her fellow journalists responded “present” after each name, both in tribute and protest. “By killing journalists, you cannot kill the truth. We want to do our job without becoming a murder and (we want to) do justice to our colleagues,” said de Anda. For his part, López Obrador assured that his government seeks to improve the protection of journalists and prevent crimes against them. In addition, López Obrador said that although his government has been criticized by several journalists, there will be no censorship. “Journalists are going to be protected. They are not alone. They also have the right to dissent and protest so no one has been or will be censored. Neither Loret de Mola, nor López-Dóriga, nor Ciro, nor Aristegui.”

In recent weeks, journalists, families and NGOs have protested the murders of Mexican journalists, a major issue that has not improved under López Obrador’s government. Since 2000, 150 murders of journalists have been documented in the country, possibly related to their work. Of the total, 138 are men and 12 are women. Of these, 47 were registered during the previous term of President Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018) and 30 during López Obrador administration (2018-2024). The journalists killed in Baja California were Lourdes Maldonado, Margarito Martínez, José Luis Gamboa, Roberto Toledo and Heber López.

 AMLO accuses US of financing campaigns against him. López Obrador accused the US government of financing opposition groups and their campaigns to speak bad about his government in order to influence Mexicans. “If necessary, I will present it to President (Joe) Biden because the entire campaign against us is being financed by influence peddlers. No foreign government should intervene in the affairs of our country. Our sovereignty must be respected. We are not a colony or a protectorate. We are a free, independent and sovereign country. I was democratically elected; the people chose me. They must respect that."

López Obrador has said that there are campaigns to discredit his government by influencers and journalists such as Carlos Loret de Mola. Loret recently published an investigation into López Obrador's son José López who lives a luxurious life, which is contrary to the president's austerity policy. Although López Obrador said his son has a good income, from which he buys houses and goods, the report increased criticism of the government. For this reason, López Obrador has criticized Loret and challenged him to say how much he earns, suggesting his income is suspicious and could be paid by foreign companies. For his part, Loret said that the president has decided to attack him with erroneous data in an attempt to divert attention from his son's expenses. In addition, López Obrador has been criticized nationally and internationally for speaking out more against Loret than against the murders of journalists.

Homicides in Baja California. Minister of National Defense Luis Cresencio reported that homicides in Baja California have decreased by 17 percent. However, the state still has the second-highest incidence of homicides in the country. “The crime ranking in the state is high, but all (the crime rates) are going down. Not only is Baja California reporting this decrease but also many other states. This has happened because the new security approach is having a faster response and, therefore, capturing more criminals.”

According to the state government, in 2021 there were 2,968 homicides while in 2020 there were 2,968. Authorities said that while the murder rate decreased in Tijuana, one of the cities with the highest incidences of homicides, they had spiked statewide. In addition, this year continues to see violence, with 203 murders being reported in Tijuana so far. As a result, SEDENA said that it would further strengthen its security strategy in 50 municipalities and that it is also promoting the creation of regional and federal forces to work with the national police.

Photo by:   Gobierno de México

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