Satisfaction of the IAPA for Tribute to Columnist Víctor Manuel Oropeza Contreras

Appeal to the IACHR and the Mexican State so that the 1991 murder does not remain unpunished.

Miami (December 6, 2023) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) expressed its satisfaction with the tribute held on Monday by the municipal government of Ciudad Juárez to journalist Víctor Manuel Oropeza Contreras, who was murdered in 1991. The organization also called for concrete actions from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Mexican state to prevent the crime from going unpunished.

The City Hall of Ciudad Juárez, in the state of Chihuahua, recognized the career of Oropeza Contreras, author of the column "A mi manera" (In my way), in the daily Diario de Juárez and a homeopathic doctor who was killed on July 3, 1991. With the presence of the widow, Patricia Martínez Téllez, and municipal authorities, on December 4, a visible plaque with the name "Dr. Víctor Manuel Oropeza" was placed on the street of El Chamizal Park at the entrance to Juárez by the international bridge, in compliance with a resolution of the city council in 1996.

The president of the IAPA, Roberto Rock, and the President of the Committee on Press Freedom and Information, Carlos Jornet, applauded the local government's willingness to honor the memory of Oropeza Contreras. Rock, director of the Mexican portal La Silla Rota, and Jornet, editor of the Argentine newspaper La Voz del Interior, urged the federal government "to show the political will to advance in the talks and address, without delay, and fully comply with the 1999 recommendations of the IACHR."

Following a journalistic investigation, the IAPA submitted the case to the IACHR on March 11, 1997, which assigned it case number 11,740. Two years later, the IACHR recommended to the Mexican state: 1. Fully, impartially, and effectively investigate to determine the criminal responsibility of all those involved in the murder of Víctor Oropeza; 2. Conduct a comprehensive, impartial, and effective investigation to determine if there are acts of cover-up and crimes against the administration of justice, including the possible involvement of judicial officials, which hindered the complete examination of the facts, and if necessary, apply the corresponding criminal, administrative, and disciplinary sanctions, and 3. Adequately compensate the family of Víctor Oropeza for the established human rights violations.

Thanking Mayor Cruz Pérez Cuéllar for organizing the ceremony, Téllez Martínez, whose family and friends of Oropeza Contreras accompanied, remembered the columnist and social activist as a man "committed to exposing the truth... he made public what others silenced, and that cost him his life." In line with the recommendations of the IACHR, Téllez Martínez expressed her hope that "the case will be investigated and reopened so that the historical truth is written, removing the official version, and that those who committed the crime and covered it up are exposed for who they are."

The case of Oropeza Contreras has been one of the main topics addressed by international missions of the IAPA in Mexico since 1997. However, negotiations with authorities of various governments have made little progress. Despite forming a Technical Group to review and analyze official investigations and judicial processes between 2004 and 2006, the IAPA suspended activities in 2007 due to a lack of progress.

IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to defending and promoting freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It comprises more than 1,300 publications from the western hemisphere and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.