Thursday 28 February 2013

Third attack on Mexican newspaper leaves one dead, two injured

After the latest attack
The newspaper El Siglo de Torreón (Torreón Century) in the northern Mexican city of Torreón, Coahuila, was attacked for the third time on Wednesday, February 27, and this time a worker was killed and two others injured.

The attack occurred minutes after 1 pm on the south side of Allende near Acuña street, riddling the facade of the newspaper’s building with bullets and shattering glass.

Only two days earlier, on Monday, February 25, federal agents guarding the premises of the newspaper came under attack. At the time, newspaper officials insisted it was the federales who were the targets, and not them. However, on February 8 five non-editorial workers at the newspaper were kidnapped for a few hours before being released. The newspaper refused to give any details on the incident, citing security reasons, other than to say that the kidnapping of non-editorial staff was a “worrisome trend”.

In the latest attack a laborer, Gerardo Tetepa Barrera, 37, died minutes after his arrival at hospital. As well a man named Edmundo Martínez Vacio, 43, was wounded in his left arm, and an unidentified police officer was taken to a private hospital with a wound in his leg.

As with the previous attack, this was a drive-by shooting. Two vehicles were involved, with the description only being that “one was white and one was black”. A mobilization of security forces, as in the past two attacks, came up with nothing.

In a statement released after the latest attack, the newspaper stated that “insecurity and violence faced by this media outlet, like others in the district, has reached the highest levels," adding the series of attacks against El Siglo de Torreón “exhibits the inaction of the federal and local authorities.”

This latest attack on press freedom, in which an innocent bystander was killed – as has happened in so many cases – should help put to rest the persistent myth that the drug war is some sort of mopping up exercise, in which the only victims are an endless supply of violent delinquents.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

For a report on the previous attacks, see:

For a detailed look at the state of press freedom in Mexico, and how this ties in with the problem of the ”disappeared”, see:

Tracking Mexico’s disappeared in a journalistic black hole

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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