Eighth Journalist Murdered in Four Months as Drug Cartels Move to Control Media

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Javier Valdez, 50, an internationally recognized and award winning journalist covering drug trafficking in Mexico was gunned down, May 15, outside the Riodoce Newspaper office in Culiacan City, Mexico, marking the eighth journalist murdered in 2017 as tensions escalate.

Valdez, who covered the drug trade in the hotbed Sinaloa region, home to Joaquin El Chapo Guzman, the most notorious Drug Lord since the Medellin Cartel's Pablo Escabar, was aware of the vicious, ruthless violence of the El Chapo mercenaries, and what could be the cost in continually exposing the inner workings of the drug cartels in one of the least free presses in the world.

As Valdez arrived at the office of the Riodoce newspaper, Monday, May 15, he was ambushed as an unknown assailant fired multiple rounds striking the publisher. He died at the scene. Killings are so common within the region civilians can be seen, in the background, videotaping the scene.

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Javier Valdez became the sixth journalist murdered in two months across the Sinoloa state as the war between free press and Cartel control escalates. As the journalists maintain the responsibility of exposing the story and in the Sinoloa state, the story remains the Cartels and the ruthless violence associated with the daily drug trade, with the Cartels retaliate by senseless, brutal, murders of those dedicated to exposing their tactics.

Valdez, rose in the journalist ranks during the 1990's when he began working for a local television station in Culiacan. A lifelong resident of the Sinaloa state, Valdez also had the unique perspective on the deterioration of his homeland and the rise of the Cartels and Cartel control. He began working at the newspaper, Noroeste, as a print journalist. In 1998, he became a correspondent, remaining in Sinoloa, for the Mexico City daily, La Jornada.

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In 2003, Valdez and several other reporters formed the Riodoce, a weekly dedicated to crime and corruption in the Sinoloa state. He authored several books on aspects of the Cartel life and lifestyle including Miss Narco, which details the lives of the wives and girlfriends of the drug lords and the most significant book was "The Kids of the Drug Tarde: Children and teenagers in Mexican Drug Trafficking."

His investigative work seemed to penetrate the psyche of the upper echelon of the Cartel hierarchy. After Riodoce published series of pieces entitled "Hitman: Confession of an Assassin in Ciudad Juaraz" the offices were bombed. There were no injuries.

Two years later Valdez received the International Press Freedom Award of the Committee to Protect Journalists.  He remained faithful to the cause which had destroyed his homeland and in his acceptance speech he called the violence of Mexican drug trafficking '"a tragedy that should shame us", blaming the citizenry of Mexico for giving the drug war its death and governments of the US and Mexico for giving the drug war its guns."'

Columbia University in 2011 awarded the newspaper founded by Valdez with Maria Moors Cabot Prize for journalism that contributes to "inter-American understanding."

The other seven murdered in 2017 include Carlos Alberto Garcia Martines, of Tecman, Colima representing Radiorama Colima murdered in February 2017;

Murdered in March 2017 - Cecilio Pineda Birto, Ciudad Altamirano, Guerrero of Ciudad Altamirano, Guerrero representing La Voz de Tierra Caliente.

Murdered in March 2017 - Ricardo Monlui Cabrera, from Yanga, Veracruz representing El Sol de Cordoba.

Murdered in March 2017 - Miroslava Breach Velducea, Chihuahua, Chihuahua, representing Norte La Jornada.

Murdered in April 217 - Maximino Rodriguez Palacios, of La Paz, Baja California Dur, representing Colectivo Pericu who posted this message "Enough of Attacks Against the Press" online joining the thousands of media protesting the attacks on the Mexican media.

Murdered in April 2017 - Juan Jose Roldan from Calpulalpan, Tlaxala, representing Sintesis de Tlazcala.

Murdered in May 2017 - Filiberto Alvarez Landeros of Tlaquiltenango, Morelos representing La Senal de Jojutla.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Sources: Various

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