The prestigious international organization, Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), whose mission for more than 30 years has been to defend and protect freedom of the press, informs us of the latest murder of a Mexican journalist.
In the state of Veracruz, on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, Ricardo Monlui Cabrera, reporter and editor of the newspaper El Político of the city of Córdoba, was cowardly murdered on March 19 of this year. Cabrera, who wrote the column “Crisol”, left a restaurant in the company of his wife and 10-year-old son after breakfast. His murderers fired three shots, killing him instantly. His wife and son were injured and taken to a hospital.
Monlui’s death is number 20 in less than six and a half years in that violent state, setting the mark of a murder every four months. He is the second journalist killed in Mexico so far this year, and that figure since 2000 is already over 122, for the macabre average of a reporter killed every 45 days. But the true figures are even more alarming. The independent human rights organization, Article 19, whose name was taken from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees freedom of expression, tells us that in the 2014-2015, a journalist was killed in Mexico every 26 days. In addition, the attacks on the media and reporters increased in those two years by 115%, with Mexico City being the site where those attacks were most documented.
This situation is totally unsustainable. Statements that “Mexico is the worst place in the Americas to be a journalist” as the TeleSur information network notes, http://www.telesurtv.net/news/Mexico-el-pais-con-mas-periodistas-asesinados -en-2015-20151222-0023.html indicate nothing but a total disregard for the law by Mexican authorities.
I share this painful reality with the members and friends of NAPF, inviting them to initiate a campaign of protests before the embassy and consulates of Mexico in the US. The United States of America, which for so many years was a true beacon that illuminated many of the darkest moments of 20th century history in its struggle against fascist forces, at this moment seems to withdraw from its position as a democratic champion. But many Americans with true love for Liberty and Justice will not allow that to happen. Latin America looks to its brothers in the North expecting firm and decisive support in the defense of human rights, the environment and sacred freedom of expression.
We will continue to expose situations like this, which unfortunately are also repeated in other places in Latin America. The brave defenders of the environment continue to fall in Latin American countries in greater numbers.
Their voices must also be heard, their sufferings denounced and demand for them the justice they deserve.
* (Update) Upon finishing this brief report comes the news through the Washington Post of the murder today in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico, of the journalist Miroslava Breach. Miroslava, 54, was about to get out of the garage of her house with one of her three children. A gunman approached and shot her eight times and ran. She was a reporter for PROCESO magazine in Mexico City and was distinguished for her research articles against corrupt governments and mafias of drug traffickers. This is the third murder of a journalist in the 23 days of the month of March alone.
Ruben D. Arvizu is Director of Latin America for the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, Director General of Latin America for Jean-Michel Cousteau´s Ocean Futures Society and Ambassador of Global Cities Covenant on Climate.