VERACRUZ, Mexico – Mexican journalist Leobardo Vazquez Atzin, who ran news website Enlace Gutierrez Zamora, was shot dead Wednesday in the eastern state of Veracruz.
Vazquez, 42, was shot dead in the town of Gutierrez Zamora, in northern Veracruz, according to Ana Laura Perez, president of the State Commission for Attention and Protection of Journalists.
Vazquez, who had previously worked as a correspondent with newspapers such as the La Opinion, based in Poza Rica, and Vanguardia, is the fifth journalist to be killed after a new government came into power in the state in Dec. 2016, and the 21st to be assassinated in the last seven years in the state of Veracruz, considered among the most dangerous states in the country for journalists.
According to the State Commission for Attention and Protection of Journalists data, 17 journalists were killed during the government of Javier Duarte de Ochoa (2010-2016) and five others have been killed under the current administration, led by Miguel Angel Yunes Linares.
On March 19, 2017, Ricardo Monlui was assassinated in the state, while Honduran video journalist Edvin Rivera Paz – who had sought refugee status in the Mexico – was killed on July 9, 2017 and Candido Rios of the Diario de Acayucan was killed on Aug. 22.
On May 29, 2017, Armando Arrieta Granados, the news editor of La Opinion, survived a deadly attack outside his house, and is currently living in exile under government protection.
At the national level, Vazquez is the second journalist to be assassinated in Mexico in 2018, following the murder of Carlos Dominguez in the state of Tamaulipas.
Reporters without Borders had labeled Mexico as the most dangerous nation – among countries not at war – for journalists after 12 were killed in the country in 2017.