News Around the Republic of Mexico
|Rights Panel Calls for Probe of Mexican Reporter’s Killing|
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November 11, 2010
Washington – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has urged Mexico to conduct a thorough investigation into the death of journalist Carlos Guajardo, who was slain during a massive anti-drug operation in which a cartel kingpin was killed.
The commission’s Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression made the request in a press release issued Tuesday, four days after the military operation in the northeastern city of Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas.
The release noted that the 37-year-old Guajardo was killed in Matamoros after covering an armed clash between army troops and suspected cartel gunmen that led to the slaying of Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen, alias “Tony Tormenta,” leader of the powerful Gulf drug cartel.
Cardenas Guillen was found at a house in downtown Matamoros that was protected by four bodyguards, who engaged the military forces in a firefight.
A total of 660 troops were involved in the operation to storm the house, backed by three helicopters and 17 vehicles.
After gathering information at the scene of the gun battle, Guajardo was subsequently found dead in his car with multiple gunshot wounds, the press release said.
“It’s imperative that the government clear up (what happened) and take effective prevention and protection measures to avoid (similar incidents) from occurring,” the IAHCR office said.
It also hailed an announcement by the army and the independent National Human Rights Commission, which said “an exhaustive investigation” will be launched into the death of the reporter, who covered the crime beat for the Expreso Matamoros newspaper.
The IAHCR – an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States for the promotion and protection of human rights – says at least 10 reporters have been killed this year in Mexico, apparently while practicing their profession.
Last week, the Mexican government formally launched a plan to protect reporters, though the initiative essentially remains on paper for the moment.
President Felipe Calderon acted after press-freedom rapporteurs from the United Nations and the OAS highlighted the issue during a visit to Mexico in August.
Tamaulipas has suffered hundreds of deaths this year amid a battle for supremacy between the Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels, just one of many such conflicts that have claimed nearly 30,000 lives nationwide in the past four years.