Repeated death threats against a Mexico City journalist that began last September have become more frequent since June when he began writing about the Tláhuac Cartel.
And they have become more graphic: a video posted on Twitter depicted a man firing a gun at a photograph of Héctor de Mauleón, which was followed by the most recent threat, “Mr. Héctor, the sentence is about to be fulfilled, death has come for you.”
A founder of the newspaper La Crónica de Hoy and a columnist with the newspaper El Universal among others, de Mauleón began receiving threats after he began writing about the systematic occupation of buildings in the La Condesa neighborhood in the borough of Cuauhtémoc.
He wrote that criminal organizations were taking over buildings and operating from them, planning further invasions and setting up street-level drug trafficking networks.
The number of threats increased in June when de Mauleón published reports about the Tláhuac Cartel. Their frequency spiked after the cartel’s suspected boss, Felipe de Jesús “El Ojos” Pérez Luna, was killed in a violent confrontation with security forces on July 20.
A Twitter post in May warned de Mauleón that he “should really start looking after yourself, because you know we’re in the whole [city] and we’re thousands . . . heads up as you leave your house.”
In a video published July 27 on social media, the journalist’s last name was shown covered in bullet holes. A voice-over said: “Mr. de Mauleón, you have been told to be quiet. Mr. Salgado has ordered your execution.” The video concluded with a cryptic warning: “Remember that the hand sees all.”
The recording seems to be alluding to Tláhuac Mayor Rigoberto Salgado Vázquez, who has been singled out for having ties to the Tláhuac Cartel.
A few days later de Mauleón received an email in which he was warned that his address was being investigated because the sender had been instructed to murder him.
Another video posted on Twitter by the user @GayoFlipa showed a man aiming a gun at a photo of de Mauleón and taking several shots at it. Two messages appeared on the screen: “El Gallo [the rooster] has his eyes on the boss,” and “You are dead, dog.”
The National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) has expressed concerns over the repeated threats against de Mauleón’s life, and has urged that local authorities investigate their origin.
The CNDH asserted that aggression against journalists on social media threatens freedom of expression, a sentiment shared by the press freedom advocacy organization Article 19.
Source: La Crónica de Hoy (sp)