Third Journalist Killed this Year in Veracruz, Mexico
The decapitated head of Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz, a reporter for the Mexican daily Notiver who covered police stories in Mexico’s Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, was found Tuesday morning. Ordaz de la Cruz had been missing since Sunday.
Magda Zayas, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office, told the Committee to Protect Journalists that a note found with the body seems to connect Ordaz’s murder to the killing of the widely known columnist Miguel Angel López Velasco, his wife, and son, a photographer for Velasco’s newspaper, on June 20. The note was signed “Carranza,” and said: “Friends can also betray you.”
The Associated Press reported that Veracruz state investigators have identified former traffic police officer Juan Carlos Carranza Saavedra as the main suspect in the López murder.
On the other hand, the Los Angeles Times reported that the state authorities denied in a statement on Tuesday that Ordaz was killed for her “journalistic work,” hinting that the motive behind her death was “links to organized crime.”
The state authorities did not elaborate in their statements, but Notiver, the newspaper where Ordaz worked, published an editorial Wednesday adamantly denying the possibility that she had links to a criminal gang and demanding that the attorney general of the Gulf coast state of Veracruz resign.
Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas, stated that “Yolanda Ordaz’s murder is part of a troubling lethal trend that has made Veracruz an extremely dangerous place to be a journalist.”
The Los Angeles Times points out that Veracruz is a critical drug- and human-trafficking route along the Gulf of Mexico that is presumed to be controlled by the violent Zetas cartel.
Ordaz is the third journalist to be killed in Veracruz state this year and is among more than 70 killed since 2000, according to press rights groups and media tallies.
An international report released in June by the Committee to Protect Journalists said that “anti-press violence continued to climb in Mexico, where authorities appear powerless in bringing killers to justice.”