Violence in Mexico: Journalist murdered in Veracruz had received threats

The director of a news portal in southeastern Mexico who was shot to death had received threats for her journalistic work weeks before the attack, her brother said Tuesday, as part of the existing violence in Mexico.

Yessenia Mollinedo Falconi and Sheila Johana García Olivera, director and reporter, respectively, of the portal The Veraz of the state of Veracruz, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, they were shot on Monday afternoon while they waited sitting inside a vehicle that was parked in front of a convenience store in the municipality of Cosoleacaque.

A day after the murders, the town was still visibly shaken and the streets were empty. As evening fell, a score of friends dared to arrive at the Mollinedo house. It was then that the women of the family opened the coffin, put on her low-heeled shoes and they said goodbye to the journalist with the open coffin.

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Artemio García, father of video journalist Sheila Johana García Olivera, with his back to the camera, is hugged by one of his brothers after taking his daughter’s coffin out of the vehicle to the family home for her wake in Minatitlán in the state of Veracruz Mexico. Photo: AP.

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With the cases of Mollinedo Falconi and García Olivera the number of assassinated communicators rose to 11 so far this year, which has been considered the deadliest for the Mexican press.

The attack occurred a few days after the murder of the journalist Luis Enrique Ramirez Ramos, whose body was found on May 5 wrapped in a plastic bag on a dirt road near the town of Culiacán, in the northern state of Sinaloa.

Ramiro Mollinedo Falconi, also a journalist, She said her younger sister had received threatening phone calls ordering her to remove crime-related stories from her news portal, and more recently she had dedicated her coverage to the Cosoleacaque mayor’s office.

He was telling us that 15 days ago he had been the target of threats, that his mother was going to be cut off, that they were going to kill her,” said Ramiro Mollinedo Falconi.

After lamenting the murders of the two journalists, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador assured that The murders were investigated. “Every day we are working like never before to protect women and all citizens,” she added.

Journalists hold photos and banners mentioning murdered colleagues during a protest to draw attention to the latest wave of murders of journalists at the Angel of Independence monument in Mexico City. Photo: AP.

Mollinedo Falconi assured that on April 30, when leaving an event, his sister was followed by unidentified men who were traveling in a car and a motorcycle, who told him that “we already have you located.” A similar situation occurred on April 4 May, the journalist said.

Still wearing the shirt that identifies him as a reporter for his own political news site “Now 30 30,” Mollinedo Falconi said his sister had no political enemies.

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El Veraz, which was founded five years ago by Yessenia, it was advertised through Facebook and seemed to publish almost exclusively notices about events or information from the municipal government. El Veraz’s motto was “Journalism with Humanity.”

“Some criminal group in this area ordered Yessenia to be executed for some publications that she had been making for her work,” he said. Mollinedo Falconi, adding that he suspected stories involving state police may have prompted the threats and that he believed local authorities were protecting criminals.

Despite the threats, Yessenia did not file a formal complaint with the authorities or register with state or federal programs to protect journalists, his brother said. “She thought that in one way or another… the threat was going to end, as it happened a year and a half ago that they threatened her and that (the) time has elapsed until now, which was that unfortunately they executed it,” he commented.

While the family waited Monday night for the authorities to hand over the journalist’s body, unknown men on a motorcycle and in a car with tinted windows passed by the place several times.

Of course we fear for our lives,” said Mollinedo Falconi, denouncing that his family has been subjected to kidnapping, extortion, repression and death threats and that his brothers had to leave the state to “avoid being executed.”

García Olivera had been working for his sister for less than a year, the journalist said. Mexico’s state and federal governments have been criticized for failing to prevent the murders of journalists and investigate them sufficiently.

The Governor of Veracruz, Cuitlahuac Garcia, He said on Tuesday that the authorities have four lines of investigation related to the journalistic activity of Mollinedo Falconi and García Olivera.

García reported on his Facebook account that the investigations will take into account “the audios that the same victim presumably addressed to other people in the area and that are already circulating publicly,” but he did not offer details.

Pedro Vaca, special rapporteur for freedom of expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, He said on his Twitter account that “by conviction -or by reputation- it is NOT possible to tolerate that a democracy coexists with a slaughter of journalists.”

While organized crime is often involved in the murders of journalists, small town officials or politicians are also often suspects.

The journalists who run small media outlets in the interior of Mexico are easy targets.

Cosoleacaque, which is located on the main east-west artery in southeastern Mexico, appeared deserted Monday night with no open businesses or people on the streets. The burial of the journalists was scheduled for Wednesday.

The executive secretary of the State Commission for the Care and Protection of Veracruz journalists, Israel Hernández Sosa described the situation in the area as “difficult” for journalists, but said that the commission had not had prior contact with Mollinedo Falconi or García Olivera.

The United States ambassador to Mexico, Ken Salazar, considered the murders of the journalists a “cowardly act” and “evil” and said on his Twitter account that it was an “attack against all of Mexican society.”

Likewise, the Inter-American Press Association condemned the “outrageous massacre” of journalists in Mexico and called on the international community to demand that the authorities take this “serious” and “exasperating” situation “more seriously.”

(With information from AP)


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