In Veracruz, One Journalist Detained, Another Threatened
PEN International is disturbed by the disappearance of Cardel journalist Sergio Landa Rosado from Veracruz state, who has been missing since January 23, 2013, as well as by alleged threats against Proceso reporter Jorge Carrasco Araizaga by Veracruz authorities. PEN calls for a prompt and thorough investigation into Landa’s disappearance and the threats against Carrasco, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. It also calls on the Mexican government to provide appropriate protection to Carrasco.
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On January 23, 2013, Sergio Landa Rosado, police reporter for the newspaper Cardel, based in the town of Cardel in Veracruz state, was reported missing after he failed to return home the previous day. He was reportedly last seen at his offices where he was preparing materials to send to print. Ministerial and state authorities are coordinating their efforts to discover his whereabouts. Landa (45) is the first journalist to go missing in Mexico since Enrique Peña Nieto became president in December 2012.
According to reports, colleagues had nicknamed Landa the “oilcloth reporter” due to the fact that he had escaped unharmed from previous attacks. Landa had only recently come out of hiding and returned to work at Cardel after being kidnapped in November 2012. Abducted by an armed group, he was later released after the intervention of federal forces. He is said to have returned to work following the murder of the man who had been identified as the leader of the group which had kidnapped him.
Additionally, the national newsweekly magazine Proceso has recently reported threats against its journalist Jorge Carrasco Araizaga. On April 16, 2013, Proceso reported that current and former Veracruz state officials, along with the police and state attorney general, had met in Las Ánimas, Xalapa, in order to agree on actions to take against Carrasco in response to his most recent article on the case of Regina Martínez Pérez, which began to circulate nationally on April 14. Carrasco has been investigating the murder of Martínez, who was Veracruz correspondent for Proceso until she was killed in April 2012, and had reported finding the authorities’ investigation to be lacking in credibility. For more information on Martínez’s case, please see here.
According to Proceso, the officials involved agreed to search for personal information on Carrasco using all national databases and on April 15, 2013, agreed to capture him, making the decision to harm him should he resist. The National Commission for Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, CNDH) and the Federal Attorney General and the Minister of the Interior have reportedly been informed of the developments by Proceso and are working to protect Carrasco. Those who are reported to have been involved in the meetings have vehemently denied the claims; the Veracruz state Attorney General published an open letter on April 16 denying the allegations, reiterating his commitment to freedom of expression and urging the magazine to share its evidence to allow for an investigation. Carrasco has reportedly gone into hiding.
Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world in which to be a journalist. In total, 47 print and internet journalists and writers have been murdered in Mexico since December 2006, when former President Felipe Calderón began his armed offensive against the drug cartels. Including Landa, at least nine print journalists have disappeared in the same period. Few if any of these crimes have been solved.
In March 2013 PEN International submitted a report on this violence and impunity in Mexico to the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights as part of the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review. In its report, PEN calls for full and transparent federal-level investigations into the murder and disappearance of journalists and writers as well as investigations into all allegations of attacks carried out by government entities. PEN also calls for the strengthening of Mexico’s new protection mechanism for journalists and human rights defenders.
In late 2012, PEN International published the anthology Write Against Impunity, a literary protest highlighting the escalating violence against journalists, writers, and bloggers in Latin America—in particular Mexico, Honduras and Brazil—and the impunity enjoyed by those who commit these crimes.
Write A Letter
- Protesting the disappearance of Cardel journalist Sergio Landa Rosado in January 2013, as well as threats against Proceso reporter Jorge Carrasco Araizaga in April 2013;
- Calling on the Mexican authorities to conduct a full, prompt, and impartial investigation into Landa’s disappearance as well as the threats made against Carrasco, with the involvement of the Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), and to bring the perpetrators to justice;
- Urging the Mexican authorities to ensure that Carrasco receives immediate and appropriate protection under the government’s protection mechanism for human rights defenders and journalists;
- Asking that federal authorities including FEADLE be empowered to investigate and prosecute crimes against journalists and freedom of expression, by ensuring that all necessary secondary laws are passed in order to fully implement the amendment to Article 73, Clause 21 of the Mexican Constitution, including making the necessary changes to the Federal Penal Code, the Federal Code on Penal Procedures and the Organic Law of the Federation’s Judiciary;
- Calling on the Mexican authorities to ensure as a matter of urgency that FEADLE is allocated sufficient financial, material, and human resources in order to carry out its work.
Send Your Letter To
Lic. Enrique Peña Nieto
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
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President
Attorney General of the Republic
Lic. Jesús Murillo Karam
Procurador General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Delegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Tel: + 52 55 5346 0108
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask "tono de fax, por favor")
Messages can also be sent via the Attorney General’s web site
Salutation: Señor Procurador General/Dear Attorney General
State Attorney General
Lic. Felipe Amadeo Flores Espinosa
Procurador General de Justicia
Cto. Rafael Guizar y Valencia No. 707
Col. Reserva Territorial, C.P. 91096
Xalapa, Veracruz, México
Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression
Lic. Laura Angelina Borbolla
Fiscal Especial para la Atención a Delitos cometidos contra la Libertad de Expresión (FEADLE)
Procurador General de la República - Subprocuraduría de Derechos Humanos
López 12, primer piso
Colonia centro, Delegacion Cuauhtémoc México D.F. C.P. 06500
Tel: + 52 55 5346 4238
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask "tono de fax, por favor")
Electronic messages can be sent via the Attorney General’s web site
***Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN International if sending appeals after June 22, 2013.***