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Mexico26 June 2008

Journalist gunned down in Chihuahua state amid wave of violent crime

Reporters Without Borders is shocked by a wave of violence in the northern state of Chihuahua that has cost the life of Candelario Pérez Pérez, a 32-year-old journalist who worked as an editor on his father’s crime magazine, Sucesos. Pérez was gunned down in the border town of Ciudad Juárez on 23 June. The motive is not yet known.

“So far there is no evidence of a link to his journalistic work, but Pérez’s murder comes amid a wave of attacks and threats against journalists in recent months in regions adjoining the US border, especially Chihuahua state,” the press freedom organisation said. “The federal government’s war on the drug cartels and the cartels’ cruel reprisals are fuelling concern about the safety of journalists and the future of the entire profession.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “We are aware that it will take time to contain organised crime, whose ascendancy in Mexico is considerable. The fight against impunity needs real cooperation between the federal authorities and state governments.”

Pérez was on his way to visit relatives in a Chevrolet Silverado with Texas licence plates when he was shot and killed at about 7:30 p.m. by men armed with AK-47 assault rifles in a dark-coloured pickup. Investigators found about 15 impacts from 9 mm bullets.

The victim’s father, Sucesos publisher Candelario Pérez Rodríguez, told journalists that his son got into an argument in a bar shortly before the shooting and that another car followed him when he left. He also said his son sold used cars as well as working as a journalist.

Sucesos is a local crime magazine that Pérez Rodríguez founded 30 years ago. It is published irregularly and has not appeared for the past two months because Pérez Rodríguez has been in poor health. His son had worked for it for 15 years as a reporter and editor.

Chihuahua state is rife with contraband and drug trafficking and is one of the most dangerous regions in Mexico, with more than 500 violent deaths since the start of the year.



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