June 11, 2011

Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Fax: (+ 52 55) 5093 4901/ 5277 2376
Lic. Arturo Chávez Chávez
Procurador General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908

Dr. Gustavo Salas Chávez
Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra Periodistas (FEADP)
Email: feadp@pgr.gob.mx

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the 3,500 members of PEN American Center, an international organization of writers dedicated to defending freedom of expression wherever it is threatened, we are writing to express our extreme alarm regarding the murder of yet another journalist, Noel López Olguín.

According to our information, the body of Noel López Olguín, a columnist for La Verdad de Jáltipan newspaper, was found buried in a clandestine grave in Chinameca, Veracruz state, on June 1, 2011. His body was identified by his family the same day. It was located after the Mexican army arrested a drug gang leader found in possession of López’s camera. The leader confessed on May 29 to killing the journalist and revealed where he was buried. López had been abducted in Jáltipan by armed men on March 8, 2011. He reportedly died from a blow to the head.

The drug leader gave no motive for the killing, but it seems likely that it was linked to López’s journalism, which was reportedly sharply critical of local corruption and had appealed to the public to report abuses by the authorities and organized crime groups. Although López had worked for many years for La Verdad de Jáltipan and several other papers in Veracruz state, including Noticias de Acayucan and Horizonte, media outlets reportedly distanced themselves from him after he was kidnapped for fear of reprisals. López is the 38th print journalist or writer murdered in Mexico since 2004.

PEN American Center is seriously concerned that the murder of Noel López Olguín is a result of an ongoing and very troubling climate of impunity in Veracruz state and elsewhere in Mexico. We therefore call for the Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression to conduct a full and impartial investigation into López’s murder, focusing on his journalistic work as a possible motive, as well as into all other unsolved journalist killings and disappearances in Mexico. We also reiterate our call for the government of President Calderón to fulfill promises to make crimes against journalists a federal offense by amending the constitution so that federal authorities have the power to investigate, prosecute, and punish such crimes, and for federal authorities to immediately implement the journalist protection mechanisms it promised in November 2010.

Thank you for your attention to this critical matter.


Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

CC: Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan
Mexican Ambassador to the United States
Embassy of Mexico
1911 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20006
Fax: (202) 728-1698

>> Back to Rapid Action