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While it has been noted that 2006 was the Deadliest Year In Journalism, most of the focus has been on Iraq, and rightly so.  However, it was also a particularly dangerous year for journalists south of the (US) border, as noted by members of the Federation of Latin American and Caribbean Journalists (FEPALC).  More after the jump.

Gathered for their Regional Assembly on November 1st in Caracas, Venezuela, members of the FEPALC expressed deep concern over the increasing number of deaths of media workers in the region (mostly murdered) and the fact that few of these murders have been clarified:

According to the follow up of the cases carried out by FEPALC Human Rights Secretary and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in 2005 fourteen media workers lost their lives and two disappeared. However, from January to October 2006 both institutions have documented and denounced thirty two (32) journalists murdered and two (2) colleagues are missing, murders cases in Guyana (6), Mexico (5), Venezuela (4), Colombia (4), Dominican Republic (3) and Brazil (3) have been highlighted. The increase of aggressions is evident and alarming.

The analysis of the attacks against the life of media workers reveals in most cases of journalists killed there is a link to their professional activity behind the murders and the attackers belong to organized delinquency, specifically to drug trafficking and also to diverse political actors.

We are in the same manner concerned about the governments’ incapacity and political unwillingness to guarantee the right to life and the right to carry out the journalistic duty proven by the fact that most crimes remain in impunity, have not been clarified and intellectual and material authors of the crimes are unpunished.

Not surprisingly, Mexico was singled out in an updated news item as the most dangerous Latin American country in which to carry out reporting about crime and corruption.  Citing a preliminary copy of the Annual Report of the International Federation of Journalists, La Jornada reports (in Spanish) that 10 investigative journalists were assassinated in Mexico during 2006, placing that country ahead of Colombia and Venezuela.

A release by the International Federation of Journalists dated November 17th highlights three of the killings:

The International Federation of Journalists is calling on the Mexican government to offer better protection of media workers after newspaper editor José Manuel Nava Sánchez was found stabbed to death in his apartment in Mexico City.

He is the third journalist who has been killed in Mexico in the last 21 days. (...)

Nava Sánchez, 53, was the the former editor of the Mexican newspaper Excélsior. He was found dead on Thursday by his cleaning lady in his living room. There were no signs of a break-in or robbery, according to the preliminary investigation.

On November 10, Misael Tamayo Hernandez, editor of El Despertar de la Costa, was found dead in a hotel room in Zihuatanejo.

His body was found nearly naked, on his back with his hands tied behind his back and covered only with a sheet. Investigators found three puncture marks on his body, one in his right hand and two others in a forearm. The cause of death was a heart attack, forensic investigators said.

Tamayo Hernandez, who was well-respected in the local journalism community, published a story on Thursday alleging that city officials gave illegal discounts on water services to individuals and businesses. The same edition also contained stories on organized crime.

On October 28, Bradly Will, a freelance journalist based in New York, was one of three people killed when gunmen opened fire on protesters during a demonstration in Oaxaca City, Mexico.

Kossacks will be familiar with Bradly Will's case from previous diaries like this one.

The International Federation of Journalists gives a partial chronology (in Spanish) of sixteen of the deaths during the tragic year of 2006 (my translation to English with the aid of Google's online translator):

Radio journalist Jose Valdés was stabbed in the city of Sabinas bordering Texas. Pilar Cortázar, a colleague and friend of the victim, indicated narcotics traffickers were likely responsible based on the fact that Valdés was investigating connections between the drug mafias and the military charged precisely with combating narcotics.

Journalist Ronald Waddell was assassinated in Subryanville. The colleague, who was in charge of a program in the television channel HBTV, was executed by hitmen when he arrived at his address in Lot 2 at Sea Glimpse, Subryanville. Wedell took 13 hits of bullet that destroyed back, legs and face.

Enrique Galeano, 51 years of age, Azotey Radio in Horqueta (Department of Conception, Center) is missing. The journalist was under police safekeeping because of death threats received a month before he disappeared.

Journalist Jose Luis Leon Desiderio, of Radio Minutera, was found assassinated in Guayaquil, of a shot to the head, near his home in the neighborhood of Bastión Popular . According to information published in the newspaper The Universe of Ecuador, Leon had received anonymous calls warning that if he continued denouncing gang violence, specifically of the district of Bastión Popular where he lived and the lack of police action in Guayaquil, there would be serious consequences.

Also falling victim on this date, was the Brazilian journalist Jose Késsio, who worked as announcer at radio Cerro Córa, in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero, department of Amambay (Paraguay). According to some press reports, investigations would tie this crime with the mafia.

Pablo Federico Mansilla, young journalist of 21 years of age, was assassinated by a stab to the chest when he returned to his house in La Matanza, located in the western part of greater Buenos Aires. Mansilla worked as producer of Channel 26 TV and as a correspondent of the news program of that station. It was first considered a robbery since the victim was missing his shoes and a cellular telephone. Nevertheless, colleagues of the victim requested that police that investigate the crime, since the stolen effects appeared at one hundred meters of the body, in an apparent maneuver of distraction.

Raul Suárez Sandoval, independent and collaborating photographer of newspapers La Hora Durandeña y La Prensa de Durán  was shot dead in the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Also that day but in Mexico, the journalists Ramiro Telles Contreras, who worked at 95,7 FM Laredo, Taumalipas, and graphics correspondent of the newspaper "La Voz", Jaime Arturo Olvera Bravo, of La Piedad, Michoacán were assasinated. Telles Contreras was shot eleven times when he left in his light truck for work, whereas Olvera Bravo was assassinated by one shot when getting ready to board a bus in proximity of his home with his five year old son.

Radio journalist, Gustavo Rojas Gabaló, passed away after convalescing for a month and a half after being shot by an unidentified subject on February 4, 2006 at a supermarket in the city of Montería, province of Córdoba. Investigations have still not shed light of the reason for the homicide. Rojas, on his radio program The Show of El Gaba, made denunciations against the political class of Córdoba, but never had received a threat linked to the nature of his work.

In the state of Chiapas, Mexico, journalist Rosendo Pardo Ozuna, who worked in the newspaper "the Voice of the Southeastern" was killed.  He was also a university professor at the University of Monterrey. The journalist was a harsh critic of the municipal government of Tuxtla Gutiérrez headed by the mayor Juan Sabines Guerrero.

Jorge Aguirre, graphics reporter of the Capriles Chain, died after being wounded by bullet by a supposed police functionary in the environs of the Central University of Venezuela (UCV), in Caracas. This occured when he tried to photograph a student manifestation at UCV.

Dominican Republic
Thirty year old Johnny Martinez, director of a newspaper in the city of San Cristóbal of Dominican Republic, was assassinated upon receiving twenty-two stabs. The body of the young journalist was found to borders of the river Nigua the past Good Friday. Leaders of the Dominican School of Journalists (CDP) assume that the crime is linked with sectors of the drug trade. Nevertheless, relatives and colleagues await the official version by the authorities.

Journalist Jairo Muñoz, of the regional news station Noti 5, died buried by an avalanche in the locality of Bendiciones, jurisdiction of the municipality the Dagua, in the Cauca Valley. The Camaraman Jorge Iván Adarves, who was with Muñoz to assist him in carrying out his duties, said: "I felt the earth open up at the same moment a piece of the mountain fell off and covered Jairo Muñoz and 39 other people".

Manuel Paulino da Silva, director of the newspaper "Hoje Jornal", was assassinated in the coastal city of Guarujá, in the state of Sao Paulo, according to the O.A.S., when several men shot at him while driving.  He died when the vehicle hit a wall and caught fire.

Ajuricaba Monassa de Paula, independent journalist and member of the Brazilian Press Association died after being struck by a councilman of the city of Guapirimim, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. According to the O.A.S., the journalist used to question actions by the councilman and the management of the municipality.

Journalist Milton Fabian Gomez, of the station Yumbo Estereo, in Colombia was assassinated.  Gomez received several shots from strangers in Yumbo, department of the Cauca Valley. The investigations indicate that the journalist died shortly after being transferred to a local health center. The journalist headed the program Mesa Redonda (Round Table) where political topics were discussed.

The corpse of journalist Enrique Perea Quintanilla, was found after he had gone missing on Tuesday 8 of August. Quintanilla, of 50 years of age, was publisher of the magazine Dos Caras Una Verdad (Two Faces, One Truth), a publication that investigated unsolved crimes. The journalist was found on a road about 15 kilometers from the city of Chihuahua. The authorities presume that the murder of the journalist is tied in with organized crime.

Despite all of this, I wish everyone a Feliz Día de Reyes!

Originally posted to maracatu on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 01:28 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  feliz ano nuevo (11+ / 0-)

    thanks for posting this.  it was interesting reading.  i have a friend who travelled to oaxaca recently as a citizen journo.  i was concerned that he might encounter some trouble, but he made it home safely.  

    Visit us at TexasKAOS, where we're taking Texas back!

    by anna on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 01:34:45 PM PST

  •  Muy Bien Hecho!!! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, maracatu, suicide blonde

    Very well done--thanx!!  A couple of additional thoughts (unos pensamientos):  there was also a young investigative reporter for El Imparcial in Hermosillo, investigating narcotraficantes, who disappeared and was never heard from again.  Young, in his mid-20s--que gasto!!!

    Here in the States, there is an organization called Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), which was formed in response to the bombing death of a reporter, Don Bolles, for the Arizona Republic, who was killed by a bomb.  All of these investigative reporters descended on Phoenix at the time (late 70's) to dig into it so that he would not have died in vain.  

    A prof here at the Cronkite School at ASU was head of it for a year or more, and I got him to Hermosillo on a Media Exchange--he loved it and wants to go back.  I want to get him together w/Imparcial and then the organization you referenced.  Seems to me they should make common cause, and stand up for each other, whatever the geography or origin of threat.  What the Hell good is free speech if you just kill the messenger???!!!

    •  Thank You for the note! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      serrano, suicide blonde

      I did a quick search and came up with his name: Alfredo Jiménez Mota.  The article says he was awarded a grand prize for excellence in reporting by the Interamerican Press Society:

      La Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa (SIP) anunció hoy al ganador del Gran Premio SIP a la Libertad de Prensa, el cual recayó en Alfredo Jiménez Mota, periodista desaparecido del diario mexicano El Imparcial de Hermosillo. El galardón le será entregado a sus familiares en octubre próximo.

      A raíz de la publicación en abril del 2005 de la serie ´´Mafia en Sonora´´, en la que se develaron las relaciones entre el narcotráfico y la policía, Alfredo Jiménez Mota fue secuestrado y su paradero se desconoce desde entonces. La serie no sólo es testimonio de un importante trabajo periodístico sino también reflejo del compromiso social y la valentía personal de su autor. Recientemente, más de cien publicaciones de México y del sur de Estados Unidos publicaron simultáneamente un reportaje sobre la desaparición de Jiménez Mota.

      ´´El narcotráfico ha sido el factor de la mayor cantidad de asesinatos contra periodistas en la historia reciente de México. Al premiar la obra periodística y moral de Jiménez Mota estamos defendiendo la libertad de prensa y resaltando el coraje del periodista´´, expresó Gustavo Mohme, de La República, Perú, copresidente de la Comisión de Premios.

      He was also awarded the International Editor of the Year Award by along with Raúl Gibb Guerrero, Dolores Guadalupe García Escamilla.

      'Be the change you want to see in the world.' Mahatma Gandhi

      by maracatu on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 02:03:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perfecto!!! Mil Gracias!!! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        A true young hero!!!  I really appreciate the update--I will do what I can, armed w/this new ammunition, to keep the light on this issue, and the brave young heroe who had the courage to pursue it.

  •  here is to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maracatu, suicide blonde

    hoping that this year is safer for journalists and for all of us.

    What would prevent Captain America from being a hero "Death, Maybe"

    by Doughnutman on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 01:46:47 PM PST

  •  off topic a bit.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    but there's a new post on FireDogLake about the concentration camps for detained "illegals" (quotes cuz I'll be many are NOT illegals) by David Niewart.  Very detailed, and quite scary.  The DHS needs to be held accountable for this!

    I wouldn't believe Bush if his tongue became notarized (h/t to shanti2)

    by billlaurelMD on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 02:44:37 PM PST

  •  There is a caste system (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ralfast, bronte17

    in many Central and South American countries and in Mexico left over from Spanish rule. That is one reason that Chavez scares the power structure in many countries. It is not exactly socialist VS capitalist as it also reflects the taking of power by those of Native American identity. An unafraid media only encourages the poor and outcast to say I am a person of worth, I am an equal, I am this country. Scary thoughts for the oligarchs.

    Forget the Alamo.

    by OHdog on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 03:22:20 PM PST

    •  The caste system.... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OHdog, maracatu

      is based on European decent:

      Criollos: those descended from European stock. From the families of Conquistadors to colonial adminitrators, these are the power elites of the Americas.

      Mulatos: Mixed raced, usually Europeans with former African slaves or natives.

      Negros: descendants of African slaves.

      Indios: descendants of natives people, the Maya, Inca and other native people of the Americas.

      "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." Seneca

      by Ralfast on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 08:49:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It goes deeper; they had us graded by shades! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ralfast, serrano

        Quadroons, Quintroons and Octoroons:

        ...were historically racial categories of hypodescent used in Latin America and parts of the 19th century Southern United States, particularly Louisiana. Quadroon (from the Spanish cuarterón "quarter") denoted someone of one quarter black ancestry: a person with three white grandparents and one black grandparent. Likewise, octoroon denoted a person of one eighth black ancestry, and quintroon (quint- here implying "fifth generation") or, less commonly, hexadecaroon described a person of one sixteenth black ancestry.

        'Be the change you want to see in the world.' Mahatma Gandhi

        by maracatu on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 09:05:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True enough... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          serrano, mariachi mama, OHdog

          BTW, if you ever go around Little Havana and Calle Ocho in Miami, you can see what we are talking about. I am a criollo and my family own slaves during the 19th century (something that I'm not proud of but a fact I must accept).

          In fact, the success of American foreign policy was to seek out the whiter Latin American and exploit the existing racial and economic divide, funneling money and arms to the criollos so they could keep power. Thats why the 20th century has seen so many civil wars in Central and South America. Evo Morales, Chavez and other leaders are finally breaking the mold.

          For proof, here is a pic:

          Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

          Pic by REUTERS.

          "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." Seneca

          by Ralfast on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 09:16:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Feliz Dia... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gillmp, serrano, maracatu

    a ustedes. Las Navidades no se han acabado, por lo menos hasta el 6 de enero.

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." Seneca

    by Ralfast on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 08:45:47 PM PST

  •  Oh Boy.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I remember doing that. Get a shoe box, go to the front law, and gets some clumps of grass. Of course, since I always closed the door to my room, the gifts always ended up on the other side. The cool thing is that you got gifts twice. On the 25th and on the 6th. Back in the days of Atari, that was a good thing!

    "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful." Seneca

    by Ralfast on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 09:00:18 PM PST

  •  Is It Worth It? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    serrano, maracatu

    Robert Fisk interviewed by Amy Goodman, September 21st, 2005:

    "As I said, I'm not sure the risks are worth it anymore. Our lives are worth nothing to the insurgents. Our lives appear to be worth virtually nothing to the Americans or the British. I think that when you reach a stage where our lives and our jobs are simply no longer respected, you do have to ask the question, is it worth it anymore"...

    AMY GOODMAN: What gives you hope? What gives you hope?

    ROBERT FISK: Nothing. I’m sorry. Nothing. I’m sorry. Nothing at the moment. Ordinary people, I guess. Ordinary people who speak out. People in the Arab world as well. But in terms of governments, nothing much. I may be wrong. I may be too much of a pessimist because I've seen too much.

    Why won't governments worldwide respect jounralists?
    This isn't just a problem in Iraq and Latin America and the Caribbean, 20 journalists were killed or tortured or disappeared in Pakistan last year, according to the Asian Human Rights Commission.  Journalists are being censored and threatened and punished in China, South Asia. Anna Politkovskaya was killed in her own apartment in Moscow, now the most schizophrenic blend of extreme wealth and danger in a city perhaps ever?

    These people inform the world and the powerful don't want to treat them as equals or even humans.

    Amy Goodman was almost lost before most of us even found her, to an Indonesian army propped up by Gerald Ford and Kissinger, who fractured the skull of her fellow journalist in East Timor, Alan Nairn, and killed Australian reporters.  Their brush with death happened during the Dili massacre.

    Ann Garrells at NPR says that reporters should know when places are dangerous and not be there.  Amy Goodman from Pacifica says that reporters should "go to where the silence is".  I know which vision fits, in my mind, with liberal democracy.  Why don't our bureaucrats?

    I'm not bitter; I merely want obstinate politicians to stop condemning thousands of people to early graves.

    by Nulwee on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 09:38:05 PM PST

    •  To answer your question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Why won't governments worldwide respect jounralists?

      They want to perpetuate themselves in power.  Deceit has kept Bush in power.  Information is bringing him down.

      'Be the change you want to see in the world.' Mahatma Gandhi

      by maracatu on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 09:56:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the blogosphere's role in such a worldview, I think, explains itself.  But what about people throughout much of the world who don't have internet access?  There's even a half of America that doesn't have computers or internet access.

        Some of them might just read free republic-ish sites if they got the chance, but don't they deserve the opportunity to come across more views than what the local paper, Rush and the local dj's, NBC/CBS/ABC, PBS and maybe FOX (should they have sattelite or cable) provide?

        I'm not bitter; I merely want obstinate politicians to stop condemning thousands of people to early graves.

        by Nulwee on Wed Jan 03, 2007 at 11:35:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Secondhand Computers for E-Literacy (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mariachi mama, Nulwee

          One idea: donate computers being taken out of service to people who need and don't have them in Mexico, or other parts of Latin America.  This can readily accomplished thru Sister City Programs (as we did) or other NGO's (preferably a 501(c)3 so that the donor can receive a tax break.  

          The hard drives can be washed of confidential material.  Fact is, many computers not deemed worth redeeming here can be put to good use and mean a lot.  When the Phoenix PD swapped out their computers, we were able to send more than 300 cpu's to Hermosillo, where they now function in schools, shelters, and orphanages that were previously out in the electronic for thought....

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