By Jim Kouri
The dismembered remains of two Mexican photojournalists were discovered in Vera Cruz in Eastern Mexico by federal police (Federales) yesterday, making the total of news people murdered in that nation in the last ten years 70 men and women, according to a U.S. law enforcement official assigned to liaison duty in that war-torn nation.
The mutilated bodies of Guillermo Luna and Gabriel Huge were found in pieces inside plastic garbage bags and dumped in a canal in the Vera Cruz town of Boca del Rio, the law enforcement official — who requires anonymity — told the Law Enforcement Examiner.
Police officers and crime scene technicians also discovered another two corpses that were dumped in the same canal, but they haven’t as yet been identified.
The Calderon administration said in a statement that the killings bore the hallmarks of Mexico’s drug cartels, and federal investigators are pursuing the case instead of local police.
The violence comes as the ultra-violent Los Zetas gang battles the Sinaloa Cartel over billion-dollar drug trafficking routes up the coast into the United States. Members of Los Zetas are believed to be former Mexican military and police personnel and control the largest territory in Mexico.
Photojournalist Luna worked for the Veracruznews organization, while Huge had worked until recently for the newspaper Notiver. Gabriel Huge was frequently threatened and harassed and so he kept his whereabouts secret, even from friends and colleagues, according to the Law Enforcement Examiner source.
This latest murder case follows the discovery last week of the body of Vera Cruz journalist Regina Martinez. Investigation revealed that she was beaten and tortured in her home in the town of Xalapa and then she was suffocated to death. She was an award-winning reporter for Proceso, Mexico’s biggest circulation national news magazine.
Newsrooms in Mexico are often attacked with grenades and guns, while Mexican journalists have received hundreds of threats, often forcing them to live in “safehouses” or flee the country.
Last year, Mexico was the third deadliest country in the world for journalists behind Pakistan and Iraq, according to Reporters Without Borders.