3 Suspects Arrested in TJ Killing of Journalist Lourdes Maldonado
By Sandra G. Leon
The President of Mexico announced that three men have been arrested in connection with the murder of a journalist in Tijuana last month in a year that has already seen four journalists murdered.
President Andres Manuel López Obrador held a press conference in Mexico City to announce the arrests of the three suspects, but he did not reveal their identities or possible motive for the murder.
“You cannot bring somebody back to life, but we are obligated to bring about justice in this country,” López Obrador said.
Maldonado was the third journalist killed in Mexico this year, after reporter José Luis Gamboa Arenas was stabbed to death in the Gulf coast city of Veracruz on January 10th and local photojournalist Alfonso Margarito Martínez Esquivel was shot and killed outside of his home in Tijuana on January 15th. Maldonado had spoken at a memorial service for Martinez just two days before she herself was killed.
A fourth journalist, Roberto Toledo, was killed on January 31st in the western city of Zitacuaro, Michoacan.
152 journalists have been killed in Mexico since 2000, with 32 of of those deaths having occurred during the presidency of López Obrador, which began in December 2018. Mexico is now the most deadly country in the world for journalists.
The arrests of the three suspects in Maldonado’s murder come as Mexican officials work to investigate all of the cases of murdered journalists.
In March 2019, just four months into López Obrador’s six-year term, Maldonado confronted the President at a news conference in the country’s capital and told him she feared for her life.
“I come to ask for support, help, and workplace justice because I even fear for my life,” Maldonado told the President.
Maldonado was a radio journalist who had sought protection under the Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists and Human Rights Defenders of the Government of Baja California, a government-sponsored program to provide physical protection for threatened journalist and other people involved in human rights services.
Gamboa, the first reporter murdered this year, was the founder and editor of the Inforegio news website; a co-founder and editor of the news website La Noticia; and published news on his personal Facebook page, Twitter, and YouTube, including recent stories critical of alleged connections between organized criminals and the political elites of Veracruz.
Martinez was a local photojournalist in Tijuana, but also helped other news outlets in San Diego and Los Angeles when they needed assistance in their coverage in Mexico.
Toledo wrote for the the Monitor Michoacán, a local news outlet in the central western state that has seen bloody turf battles between rival cartels. Toledo had said publicly that he worked for a law firm in order to keep a low profile as a journalist.