A journalist who covered the crime beat for a newspaper in Córdoba, Veracruz, was found dead Wednesday in Tezonapa, near the Oaxaca border. He had been killed and beheaded in an area known for gang violence.
The body of Julio Valdivia Rodríguez was found on railway tracks in the community of Motzorongo next to his motorcycle, which bore the newspaper’s logo. His head was found some 10 meters away.
Officials said the body was arranged in such a way to make it appear he had been struck by a train, but the Attorney General’s Office quickly discarded that theory.
The 44-year-old reporter with 20 years’ experience was nicknamed “El Tigre del Norte” for a lock of grey hair that made him resemble a member of the popular musical group. He leaves behind his wife and four children, the youngest of whom is 4 years old.
Valdivia’s friends and fellow journalists announced they would hold protests in the city of Córdoba Thursday to demand justice.
The State Commission for Attention to and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP) condemned the murder and announced that it will initiate proceedings to follow up on the authorities’ investigations.
CEAPP pointed out that Valdivia did not have special protection measures offered to journalists in Veracruz who have been threatened with violence because there had been no evidence of any risk to his safety.
The state government condemned the murder and vowed there would be no impunity.
President López Obrador mentioned the incident Thursday during his press conference at the National Palace.
“I know Tezonapa and I know the importance of El Mundo de Córdoba [Valdivia’s newspaper], how heroic it is to practice journalism in that region as in other regions. That is why those responsible have to be investigated and punished,” the president said.
On March 31, journalist María Elena Ferral of the Diario de Xalapa was shot to death in Papantla. Jorge Celestino Ruiz Vázquez of the daily Gráfico de Xalapa was assassinated in Actopan in August 2019.
The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) says 163 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, and 10 have been murdered this year. Since 2010, 25 journalists have been murdered in Veracruz alone.
Mexico is the deadliest country in the Western Hemisphere for journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. In 2019, nearly half of all murders of journalists worldwide occurred in Mexico.
Source: Reforma (sp)