VERACRUZ, Mexico – A journalist who had denounced death threats was shot and killed in the Mexican Gulf coast state of Veracruz, police said on Saturday.
Jorge Celestino Ruiz Vazquez is the first member of the media slain in that state since Gov. Cuitlahuac Garcia, a member of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement (Morena), took office late last year
Officials said Ruiz Vazquez, who had denounced death threats on multiple occasions, was shot and killed just after 9 pm Friday on a road in the municipality of Actopan, around 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Xalapa, the state capital.
In a statement, the Veracruz state Attorney General’s Office said it is trying to determine why protective measures ordered for the journalist in the wake of the death threats had not been implemented.
After learning of the journalist’s death, Veracruz’s governor denounced the crime and pledged to bring those responsible to justice.
“We condemn the cowardly killing of the journalist for a local media outlet, Jorge Ruiz. We will find those responsible; his murder will not go unpunished,” Garcia said on Twitter.
Veracruz typically leads all Mexican states in terms of violent crimes perpetrated against members of the media.
According to figures from the State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists, 22 reporters were killed during the administrations of Veracruz’s two previous governors: Javier Duarte, who governed from 2010 to 2016 and was convicted of corruption last year; and Miguel Angel Yunes, who was in office from 2017 to 2018.
At least 13 Mexican journalists – including Ruiz Vasquez – have been killed since Lopez Obrador’s six-year term in office began on Dec. 1, 2018.
On Wednesday, reporter Rogelio Barragan was found dead – and with signs of having been tortured – inside a vehicle in the central Mexican state of Morelos.
During President Enrique Peña Nieto’s 2012-2018 administration, 47 journalists were murdered and 2,347 acts of aggression were reported against members of the media.