Mexican investigative reporter Yolanda Ordaz’s body was found in eastern Mexico – the latest victim of ruthless drug cartel attacks on the media.
Ordaz, a police reporter for Notiver newspaper, had been investigating the murder of her paper’s assistant director Miguel Ángel López. Ortez had been missing since Sunday. Her body – with a slit throat – was found behind the offices of another newspaper.
Ordaz received threats telling her she "would be next" if she did not drop the case. López was shot in his home along with his wife and son last month. Fourteen journalists have been killed in Mexico in the past year.
As violence continues to escalate in Mexico, women journalists are increasingly facing harassment and death threats as they press ahead covering the news.
IWMF’s Courage in Journalism Award winner Lydia Cacho, author of “The Deamons of Eden,” has received death threats for revealing the names of sex traffickers.
CNN journalist Ángeles Mariscal was harassed and blocked recently from covering the public appearance of Pablo Salazar Mendiguchía, ex-governor of the Chiapas.
“Carmen Aristegui, Mexico's most popular female radio anchorwoman, was also the focus of sexist comments after she was fired in February. Her employer, MVS Noticias, claimed she violated the code of ethics by ‘broadcasting rumor as news.
She was fired after reporting that opposition lawmakers claimed Mexican President Felipe Calderón has a drinking problem. Hundreds protested her dismissal, claiming it was censorship, and she was reinstated.
In another case, Inter Press Service reports that Karla Tinoco, the La Opinión Milenio correspondent in Durango, was fired after receiving threats from criminal groups.“
Executives of Multimedios Laguna, which owns the regional newspaper and the national paper Milenio, and Tinoco's own colleagues decided that her presence on the staff posed a danger to everyone,”IPS reports.
Yolanda Ordaz de la Cruz was beheaded and appeared to have been tortured, a Veracruz state government spokesman told Efe.
Ordaz de la Cruz worked for the daily Notiver, which specializes in covering drug and security issues in Veracruz and Boca del Rio, located about 300 kilometers (186 miles) east of Mexico City.
The reporter’s body was dumped around 4:00 a.m. in the street behind the offices of the Imagen de Veracruz newspaper in Boca del Rio’s Jardines del Virginia section.
Ordaz de la Cruz, who had written about the war on drugs and the police beat, was kidnapped last Saturday by gunmen, Notiver reported.
“Everything points to the (murder) being carried out by members of an organized crime group and this line of investigation will be pursued to the end,” Veracruz Attorney General Reynaldo Escobar Perez said.
Investigators are looking at the possibility that Ordaz de la Cruz may have had links to a drug cartel and was killed for this reason, Escobar Perez said.
A message was left with the reporter’s body that referred to a possible betrayal by Ordaz de la Cruz of a cartel, the state AG said.
Investigators are looking for Juan Carlos Carranza Saavedra, a suspected member of the Los Zetas drug cartel, whose name was mentioned in the message, state officials said.
Los Zetas and the Gulf cartel have been fighting for control of drug trafficking, merchandise smuggling and people trafficking in the region.
Journalist Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco, who also covered the crime beat for Notiver, was gunned down on June 20 along with his wife and son in Veracruz.
The 55-year-old Lopez Velasco, known as Milo Vela, was killed at his residence in the port city.
Since 2000, 71 journalists have been murdered and 13 others have gone missing in Mexico, the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, Mexico’s equivalent of an ombudsman’s office, said in a report released in May to mark World Press Freedom Day.
Ordaz de la Cruz’s killing will be investigated, CNDH rapporteur Fernando Batista told Efe on Tuesday.
“We are working to locate Yolanda’s relatives and offer them judicial, legal and psychological support, if required. We are starting our own investigation,” Batista said.
Mexico has become one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists in the past few years, and the most dangerous country for members of the media in Latin America, non-governmental organizations say.
Authorities have not solved any of the cases of the journalists listed as missing since 2005 in Mexico, the Inter American Press Association, or IAPA, said in a report released last November. EFE