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Fifth Journalist Shot to Death in Mexico in 2022

Asesinan a balazos a otro periodista en México: suman 5 en lo que va de año

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Journalist Heber López Vásquez, 39, was shot to death on Thursday in the port of Salina Cruz, in the state of Oaxaca, southern Mexico.

The crime is the fifth murder in Mexico against journalists so far in 2022.

López Vásquez was director of the Noticias Web portal and his death was confirmed by his brother Irving López Vásquez, who also works as a journalist.

So far, the motive for the crime is unknown and, according to reports from the Salina Cruz municipal police, two people have already been arrested.

In a press release, the Oaxaca State Attorney General’s Office (FGEO) informed that it is investigating two detainees “for their probable responsibility” in the murder of the journalist.

It reported that after the aggression, the probable perpetrators fled, but Salina Cruz municipal police detained them and confiscated a firearm.

López Vásquez was shot five times in his office, located in the center of the city, around 8:00 p.m. local time this Thursday (02:00 GMT Friday).

The place remains guarded by agents of the National Guard and the State Investigation Agency (AEI).

Irving López Vásquez said that his brother “was with his son when he was murdered,” while demanding justice for his crime.

According to the organization Artículo 19, the communicator had denounced aggression against him to this organization in 2019.

Last Tuesday, the governor of Oaxaca, Alejandro Murat, headed a Security Roundtable in the military installations of Ixtepec to coordinate actions to guarantee peace and tranquility in the region.

From January 2015 to December 2021, the Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office of the People of Oaxaca (DDHPO) has opened 288 investigations derived from complaints related to violations of journalists’ rights.

So far, the Oaxaca Prosecutor’s Office has not issued any information on the facts.

Mexico, considered the deadliest country for the press, is experiencing unprecedented violence at the beginning of 2022 due to the murder of at least five journalists, two of them in Tijuana, on the border with the United States.

On Sunday, the murder of Ernesto Islas Flores was reported in Tijuana, who was editor of the Notiredes portal in that border city and whose father and uncle are journalists.

On Wednesday, the Mexican government announced the arrest of three people allegedly involved in the murder of journalist Lourdes Maldonado, which occurred on January 23 and whose death in Tijuana sparked a national mobilization against violence against the press.

Maldonado’s murder shook the country because in March 2019 she had asked for protection in public to the president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, because of a legal problem she had with Jaime Bonilla, former governor of Baja California of the ruling National Regeneration Movement (Morena).

Not yet counting today’s case in Oaxaca, the NGO Article 19 records 149 journalists murdered for their work from 2000 to date, 29 of them during López Obrador’s term in office, which began in December 2018.

After one crime in December 2018 and 10 in 2019, the country recorded 7 homicides of communicators in 2020 and another 7 in 2021 and the four occurred in January 2022.

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