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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Columnist killed in Veracruz, Mexico is first journalist murdered since new governor took office



Another journalist has been killed in Veracruz, Mexico.

Ricardo Monlui Cabrera was killed on the morning of March 19 in Yanga, in the state of Veracruz, while leaving a restaurant and getting into a car with his wife and daughter. The family members were not hit when two armed people fired upon Monlui.

Ricardo Monlui Cabrera (Facebook)

Monlui was director of elpolitico.com.mx and print product El Político; he also wrote the column Crisol for Diario de Xalapa and El Sol de Córdoba. He was president of the Association of Journalists and Graphic Reporters of Córdoba and Region A.C. and spokesman for the National Union of Sugar Cane Producers of the CNC.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the journalist wrote about regional politics and the sugar cane industry in recent column and articles.

There recently have been several murders of sugarcane leaders in Córdoba, “the seat of the sugar mills," according to El Sol de Córdoba.

Monlui’s son, Ricardo Monlui Ruíz, was a victim of an armed attack in 2010 in Ixtaczoquitlan; the son said at the time that he was abducted by municipal police, shot and left on the road, according to Aristegui Noticias.

Jorge Morales, secretary for the State Commission for the Care and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP for its acronym in Spanish), said Monlui Cabrera had not activated a protection scheme, Animal Politico reported. CEAPP condemned the murder in a press release and said it was providing assistance to the journalist’s family.

The Office of the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR for its initials in Spanish) took on the case through the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE). Veracruz Governor Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares said the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) will collaborate, according to El Sol de Córdoba.

The newspaper reported that the governor said there is respect for freedom of expression in Veracruz after being asked about the security of journalists there.

“There is full respect for freedom of expression, concern about what happened and much pain as a Veracruz resident, I do not want Veracruz to continue like this and we are working to avoid it,” he said, according to El Sol de Córdoba. The governor also said he met Monlui in the context of the National Union of Cane Producers and followed his columns: “he was a good journalist in my opinion.”

According to freedom of expression organization Article 19 Mexico, 22 journalists have been murdered in Veracruz since 2000, making it the deadliest place for the press in Mexico.

“In this context, it is noteworthy that the government of Javier Duarte (Dec. 1, 2010 to Nov. 30, 2016) saw most of these murders, with 17. Despite the change of government, currently led by Miguel Ángel Yunes, violence against the press has not been substantially reduced,” Article 19 Mexico wrote.

Duarte resigned in October 2016 while facing corruption charges. He has been on the run since. This is the first murder of a journalist in Veracruz since Yunes Linares took office in December 2016.

CPJ urged authorities to consider Monlui’s work as a journalist as a possible motive for his murder.

Veracruz became the deadliest place in the Western Hemisphere for journalists under former governor Javier Duarte. The government of Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares should oversee a credible investigation in cooperation with federal authorities to prove that he is committed to a different legacy,” said Carlos Lauría, senior program coordinator for the Americas for CPJ.



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