Friday, March 1, 2024

3 journalists kidnapped in Taxco have been released

Three Guerrero-based journalists who were abducted last week have been released, but the son of one of them is still missing.

The Guerrero Attorney General’s Office (FGE) reported Saturday that Marco Antonio Toledo, Silvia Nayssa Arce Avilés and Alberto Sánchez Juárez had all been released.

Taxco is a popular tourist destination in Guerrero under 200 km from Mexico City. (Wikimedia Commons)

Guadalupe Denova Flores, the wife of Toledo, was also released, but their 28-year-old son Alberto Toledo Denova is apparently still being held by his abductors and a search to locate him is ongoing.

The FGE said that the three journalists and Denova were released due to “the strengthening of search operations and the deployment of federal and state security authorities in the northern region” of Guerrero.

Toledo, director of the news magazine Espectador de Taxco, was abducted along with his wife and son by armed men who broke into his home in the municipality of Taxco on Nov. 19.

Arce and Sánchez, a married couple who run the news outlet RedSiete, were kidnapped by armed men last Wednesday in Taxco, a popular tourism destination less than 200 kilometers from Mexico City.

Journalists protest in Guerrero
Journalists protest outside the attorney general’s office in Chilpancingo, Guerrero on Friday, holding signs saying “enough threats against the press” and “the press isn’t for sale.” (DASSAEV TÉLLEZ ADAME/CUARTOSCURO.COM)

All three journalists had received threats prior to their abduction.

Toledo, who wrote for other Guerrero media outlets in addition to managing Espectador de Taxco, reported on political and security issues.

“He recently published an article in which he condemned the municipal government’s approval of a budget for a public work in Taxco,” press freedom advocacy organization Article 19 said.

That organization noted that cell phones and computers were removed from Toledo’s home by the armed men who abducted him.

Arce previously shut down another news site she ran due to threats she received from organized crime, according to the El Universal newspaper.

Leopoldo Maldonado Gutiérrez, director of Article 19 in Mexico, said in a radio interview that violence against the press is a particular problem in Guerrero, a poor southern state known for lawlessness in certain areas.

“Violence is rampant in a large part of the country, like in Guanajuato and Tamaulipas, and in Guerrero [there is] specific violence against the press,” he said.

“We have to remember that Guerrero ranks fifth [among Mexico’s 32 federal entities] for the number of attacks … against the press,” Maldonado said citing data for the period between 2009 and 2023.

Article 19 reported in September that an act of aggression against Mexican media workers and organizations was committed every 16 hours on average during the first half of 2023.

The organization also said that 161 journalists have been murdered in Mexico since 2000, including 41 during the current federal administration.

With reports from El País, El UniversalEl Economista and Reforma

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