International PEN protests the deaths of two more Mexican print journalists and the reported disappearance of at least five others in March 2010. Evaristo Pacheco Solís was found shot dead near Chipancingo, Guerrero state, on March 12 while Jorge Rábago Valdez died under unclear circumstances in Reynosa, Tamaulipas state, on March 2. Seven other journalists were reportedly abducted in Tamaulipas in early March, five of whom are still thought to be missing. PEN calls on the federal and state authorities to investigate deaths of Pacheco and Rábago as well as the reported abductions as a matter of the utmost urgency, and to bring the culprits to justice.

Background Information

Evaristo Pacheco Solís, reporter for the weekly newspaper Visión Informativa, was found dead in Guerrero state on March 12, 2010. Pacheco, aged 33, had been shot several times and his body left by the side of a road near the state capital Chilpancingo. He is the second print journalist to be murdered in Guerrero this year.

Ten days earlier, another journalist died in Reynosa, Tamaulipas state, under disputed circumstances. Jorge Rábago Valdez, journalist for the daily newspaper La Prensa and two radio stations, died on March 2. The state prosecutor’s office said that Rábago, aged 49, died of natural causes after suffering an embolism and falling into a diabetic coma. However, according to some local reporters, Rábago had reportedly been stopped by police and badly beaten prior to being admitted to the hospital. The state prosecutor has reportedly denied that the reporter was assaulted.

It is not yet known whether Pacheco and Rábago’s deaths were related to their journalism.

Seven other journalists were reportedly abducted in Reynosa around the time of Rábago’s death: two have since been released and one has been confirmed to be disappeared, while five others remain missing. Miguel Ángel Domínguez Zamora, reporter for the Reynosa-based daily newspaper El Mañana has been missing since March 1, 2010. His family has reported the disappearance to the state prosecutor’s office. Two broadcast journalists from the Milenio media group assigned to cover a wave of drug-related violence in Reynosa were abducted by gunmen on March 3 and released the next day after being told to leave the area. As of March 11 there were unconfirmed reports that at least four other journalists had been abducted; they have not been named but work, respectively, for the newspapers El Mañana, La Tarde, and La Prensa and the news web site MetroNoticias.

MetroNoticias has reportedly stated that its reporter is safe but would not provide further details or make the reporter available for comment.

Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to work as a journalist. From January 2004 to December 2009, a total of 27 writers—26 print journalists and one author–were murdered. Six more print journalists disappeared in the same period. Few if any of these crimes have been properly investigated or punished. International PEN believes that it is likely that these journalists were targeted in retaliation for their critical reporting, particularly on drug trafficking. While organized crime groups are responsible for many attacks, state agents, especially government officials and the police, are reportedly the main perpetrators of violence against journalists, and are complicit in its continuance.

Guerrero has become one of the most dangerous states in Mexico for journalists as a result of a turf war between two drug cartels and the state and federal forces' attempts to remain in control. Pacheco is the second print journalist to be murdered in Guerrero this year. On January 29, Jorge Ochoa Martínez, publisher of the newspapers El Oportuno and El Sol de la Costa, was shot dead after leaving a party for a local politician.

The alleged abductions in Tamaulipas came amid a series of extremely violent confrontations between two drug cartels in the Reynosa border area. Most local journalists have reportedly been intimidated into not covering the violence.

Write A Letter

  • Protesting the March 2010 deaths of journalists Evaristo Pacheco Solís and Jorge Rábago Valdez and the alleged abduction of seven journalists in Reynosa, Tamaulipas state, five of whom are reportedly still missing;
  • Calling for a full, prompt and impartial investigation into Pacheco and Rábago’s deaths and all other unsolved murders of journalists in Mexico, as well as into the alleged abductions;
  • Calling on the government of President Felipe Calderón to fulfil pledges to make crimes against journalists a federal offense, specifically by amending the constitution so that federal authorities have the power to investigate, prosecute and punish such crimes;
  • Calling on the federal authorities to set up protection programs for journalists to ensure their safety.

Send Your Letter To

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
Email: [email protected]

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
Tel: + 52 55 5346 0108
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908
E-mail: [email protected]
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President

Dr Gustavo Salas Chávez
Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Journalists
Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra Periodistas (FEADP)
Email: [email protected]
Salutation: Señor Procurador General/Dear Attorney General

Please also send copies of your appeals to the diplomatic representative for Mexico in your country if possible.
Please contact PEN if sending appeals after May 30, 2010: ftw [at]