Impunity / Mexico

WHEREAS in the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco, Michoacán, Guerrero, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas, Sinaloa and Nayarit, certain de facto powers have instilled a policy of fear against the media and journalists for the purpose of silencing them and forcing them to subject their agendas to the interest of these groups, and governments are incapable of guaranteeing the full exercise of freedom of expression; WHEREAS some of the tactics that these mafia groups use are threatening phone calls, as occurred in Ciudad Juárez, which led two photographers to flee the country; abduction, as occurred with two reporters from the paper La Verdad in the municipality of Jaltipan, Veracruz; or torture; WHEREAS another tactic is placing car bombs in front of media facilities, or releasing or throwing grenades at their buildings or at the homes of journalists, as happened twice to the El Norte Group, in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Televisa at its office in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, and to the newspaper El Sur in Acapulco, Guerrero, which was forced to close its offices for several days; WHEREAS no municipal or state authorities, from either the Executive or Judicial branch, have shown interest in the cases in their jurisdiction of attacks on reporters, or in arresting or bringing to trial all of those who are responsible for crimes and disappearances, so that there is not a single case fully resolved, in spite of the public commitments that those authorities have made in states such as Coahuila, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Baja California, Sinaloa, Durango, Veracruz, Jalisco, Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo and Tabasco, so that through their inaction they continue feeding a state of impunity and corruption; WHEREAS the Sub Prosecutor over Special Investigation of Organized Crime (SIEDO) of the General Federal Prosecutor’s office (PRG) have not solved a single case they have been responsible for since 1997, in spite of the existence of evidence in several cases that would allow capture of narco-traffickers and former employees possibly involved; WHEREAS in September, 2010, President Felipe Calderón made a commitment before authorities of the IAPA and the CPJ (Committee for Protection of Journalists) to initiate, in January of this year, a system of early warning to deal with threats against communicators and offer them necessary security measures; however, that scheme has not started to operate as offered, for lack of will, operating structure, and economic resources; WHEREAS six months ago, President Felipe Calderón made a commitment to give a new push to legal reform that will make crimes against freedom of expression federal violations, but that has not materialized and congressional sessions are about to end; WHEREAS federal deputies and senators have publicly committed to pushing for constitutional and penal reforms necessary to federalize crimes committed against freedom of expression, increase the penalties, and not allow the crimes to come under a statute of limitations, but they continue to fail to present a single proposal to be discussed in committee and to come before the full congress; WHEREAS on the mission that the IAPA and the CPJ carried out in September, 2010, President Felipe Calderón assumed the responsibility to seeing personally to the cases that the IAPA has promoted before the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (the cases of Héctor Félix Miranda and Fíctor Manuel Oropeza), on which resolutions have been issued that the Mexican government has accepted, but has refused to fulfill, without any clear and convincing demonstration to the present time that the commitment will be met; WHEREAS while it is certain that there has been a transformation of the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Attention to Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression of the Federal General Prosecutor’s Office, and it has acquired greater powers to investigate attacks committed against journalists, it is also true that it has not been provided with any technical equipment, human resources, nor sufficient budget to carry out its task fully, in spite of this being a commitment taken on by the federal government; WHEREAS on November 5, 2010 a reporter for the newspaper Expreso of Matamoros in Tamaulipas, Carlos Alberto Guajardo, was murdered when he was at an encounter between elements of the Mexican Navy and armed men, which he was covering for his paper. To the present time it has not been discovered who shot into his vehicle or their reasons for doing so; WHEREAS principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states that: “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly”; THE MID-YEAR MEETING RESOLVES: to exhort President Felipe Calderón to meet the commitments that he offered the IAPA and the CPJ on: setting up a system of early warning and security to take on the threats against communicators; to begin again to bring about legal reform to federalize crimes against freedom of expression, and solve the cases about which the IACHR has issued resolutions against Mexico; to demand that federal legislators meet their commitment to push for necessary reforms to allow federalizing crimes against freedom of expression, increasing the penalties, and not allowing these crimes to fall under a statute of limitations; to urge the Executive and Legislative Branches to authorize and submit to the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Attention to Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression of the Federal General Prosecutor’s Office the necessary economic, human, and technical resources to meet its obligations; to demand that the Prosecutor’s Offices and judicial authorities in the states of Coahuila, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua, Baja California, Sinaloa, Durango, Veracruz, Jalisco, Michoacán, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo and Tabasco, not evade their responsibilities to investigate and mete out justice in cases in which there have been murders or disappearances of journalists, as well as attacks against media properties, because only in this way can they fully guarantee freedom of expression in their areas; to demand the new leader of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic not to permit the Sub-Prosecutor’s Office for Specialized Investigation of Organized Crime (SIEDO) to continue maintaining an embarrassing state of impunity in cases in which journalists have suffered attacks, have been murdered, or have disappeared; to demand that the General Prosecutor’s Office of the state of Tamaulipas declare its incompetence to perform investigations into the murder of journalist Carlos Alberto Guajardo, and send the case to the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Attention to Crimes Committed Against Freedom of Expression, as well as other cases tied to attacks on journalists, so that this latter agency can investigate and determine the reasons for the crimes, locate responsible parties and subject them to trial, and to announce the results.