MEXICO CITY — Just as each batch of the weekly newspapers was dropped off at newsstands around Culiacan, men quickly bought them up as they followed the delivery trucks along their routes.
It occurred twice during one week in February, first with Riodoce, a paper known for its investigations into the dark corners of Sinaloa state’s criminal underworld, and two days later with the upstart La Pared (The Wall). Both papers carried cover story interviews with a drug lord. The men politely scooping up the papers after paying for them allegedly worked for the drug lord’s rivals.
Associated Press writer Maria Verza reports that La Pared has since closed shop. Riodoce’s editors continue fighting, though more carefully in the belief that the incident foretold the May 15 murder of the paper’s co-founder Javier Valdez.
Valdez’s killing spurred an outcry unseen previously during the frequent murders of Mexican journalists. It has drawn together competing media outlets, foreign governments, the international press and human rights groups in a call for justice that President Enrique Pena Nieto has promised to address.
For Sinaloa state, the killing signaled a frightening turn seen elsewhere in Mexico where cartels are willing to fight for headlines as well as for territory. It remains unclear if the slaying of one of the country’s most respected journalists will become a tipping point in the battle against impunity.
“Justice for all those responsible, to the very end, that’s the only way we will be able to talk about a watershed moment,” said Carlos Lauria, Americas representative for the Committee to Protect Journalists.
The person who found Valdez dead from 12 gunshots in the street with his signature Panama hat still on was his friend and Riodoce co-founder Ismael Bojorquez.
“We had never interviewed a drug lord, we did it now and it cost us big,” Bojorquez said.
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