January 10, 2012

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. Marisela Morales Ibáñez
Procuradora 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 la Libertad de Expresión (FEADLE)
Email: gustavo.salas@pgr.gob.mx, feadle@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 shock and outrage concerning the murder of journalist Raúl Régulo Garza Quirino.

According to our information, on January 6, 2012, Raúl Régulo Garza Quirino, reporter for the weekly newspaper La Ultima Palabra, was gunned down by unidentified gunmen in Cadereyta, Nuevo León. Garza, who also worked for the local government’s department of social development, had been driving his car on the evening of January 6 when another car began pursuing him. Although he sought refuge in a garage owned by a relative, Garza was unable to escape, and his assailants shot him numerous times. At least 16 shots were fired during the attack.

So far, no clear motive for the attack has been identified. Cadereyta, however, is a hotbed of violent crime and a stronghold of Los Zetas, a violent drug cartel implicated in the murders of other journalists. In recent months, scores of individuals in the state have gone missing, with Garza being the first journalist to be murdered in 2012. Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to practice journalism. In the last five years, 37 print journalists, writers, and bloggers have been murdered in connection with their reporting on corruption and organized crime. The vast majority of these killings have never been properly investigated, and most of the perpetrators remain unpunished.

PEN American Center is seriously concerned that the recent murder of Raúl Régulo Garza Quirino indicates an ongoing intolerance of journalists and a worsening climate of impunity in Mexico. We therefore call for a full investigation into the murder, and reiterate our call on President Felipe 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 to immediately implement the journalist protection mechanisms it promised in November 2010.

Thank you for your attention to this critical matter.

Respectfully,
                                        
Hannah Pakula
Chair, Freedom to Write Committee

Larry Siems
Director, Freedom to Write and International Programs

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

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