javier duarte and anthony wayne The governor and the ambassador on Saturday.la jornada

Ambassador praises Veracruz governor

Roundly condemned for violence against journalists, Duarte applauded by Wayne

Writers, intellectuals and non-governmental organizations from around the world don’t think much of Veracruz Gov. Javier Duarte when it comes to freedom of speech and the rights of journalists.

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But the United States Ambassador to Mexico sees him as a defender of democratic rights and freedom of expression.

Organizers of the annual Hay Festival, a literary event that has been held in the state capital of Xalapa in October every year since 2010, announced Friday a change in venue to protest aggression against journalists in Veracruz. The festival will go digital instead in response to a petition signed by 300 writers and others who charged that Duarte’s government has been “one of Mexico’s fiercest enemies of the rights to freedom of expression, information and critical thought.”

On a visit to Veracruz on Saturday, Ambassador Anthony Wayne remarked upon the governor’s efforts to promote democracy and referred to the importance of a free press, adding that he had spent two years as a journalist during his career.

“. . . I know that the governor is a fighter for democratic rights.”

Duarte said broadcasting, communications and journalism, as well as public participation, were being strengthened in Mexico through the support of the U.S. Embassy.

Journalists’ rights activists say 11 reporters have been killed and four more have disappeared since Duarte took office in 2010. The most recent was the kidnapping and killing of Moisés Sánchez Cerezo in Medellín de Bravo on January 2.

The mayor of the town has been implicated in the crime.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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