One more reporter was shot dead in Mexico’s violent northeastern region, making it the 12th killing this year so far in a series of unprecedented attacks that have made the country one of the most dangerous places for the media in the world.
Local journalists who cover crime and corruption are constantly under threat in Tamaulipas, Michoacan, Baja California, and many other Mexican states. In the case of Tamaulipas specifically, it shares a border with the US, and violent drug cartels operate there permanently to cover lucrative smuggling routes.
De La Cruz worked as a reporter for the local newspaper Expreso for almost three decades. The newspaper covered city-based news, where De La Cruz reported on rural and social topics such as water shortages.
His killing was condemned by the Movimiento Ciudadano political party and its local deputy, Gustavo Cardenas Gutiérrez as well.
De la Cruz was “very aware of the reality of Tamaulipas, and he was a very brave journalist,” Miguel Domínguez, the newspaper’s director, told Milenio Televisión. “He never expressed any concern to us,” Mr. Domínguez said.
The newspaper has been targeted multiple times in the past for its coverage of cartel-related violence in the city. In 2012, a car bomb exploded in front of the newspaper’s building, and in 2018 a cooler with a human head inside was left at the office with a warning.
Mexico’s violence toward reporters is well documented, with several journalists killed as direct retribution for work is well known amongst Mexicans. Most targeted are the ones reporting on corrupt officials and their links to organized crime.
President Lopez Obrador promised to end violence toward journalists after first taking office. But attacks against the media have been prevalent during his administration.
Obrador has also engaged in direct attacks toward several media members, dismissing their work as political campaigns against his administration and calling them agitators, mercenaries, and members of political parties that oppose his government.
To investigate the multiple cases of murdered reporters in Mexico, the global journalistic network, Forbidden Stories, launched an investigative series, “The Cartel Project,” which looks into the network of Mexican drug cartels and their connection to politicians around the world.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is a non-profit independent organization dedicated to freedom of speech and the protection of journalist rights worldwide.