Reporter found dead in Mexico was ‘beheaded and tortured,’ colleague says

Reuters has released shocking details about the case of a reporter found dead in Mexico this week.

According to Reuters, a staffer at the Diario El Mundo newspaper where Julio Valdivia worked said the 44-year-old was found “beheaded and tortured” Wednesday in Tezonapa, a remote city in the Mexican state of Veracruz, where the newspaper is based.

“A lot of people have been killed there”

According to the New York Post, Valdivia covered crime for the paper and “specialized in ‘nota roja’ journalism, focusing on grisly stories in a state plagued by gang violence.” A report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) indicated that Valdivia first started working for the Diario El Mundo in 2014.

Comments made by one of the journalist’s colleagues made clear that his beat made him a prime target.

“The border region between Veracruz and Oaxaca is a very complicated place to report on,” the El Mundo staffer said. “There are gangs involved in drug trafficking and oil theft and a lot of people have been killed there recently.”

Investigators initially thought Valdivia may have been hit by a train, according to Reuters, but the CPJ reported that authorities later “ruled out an accident.”

A tweet from the Veracruz government said it condemned the journalist’s homicide, according to the New York Post.

“Veracruz’s vicious cycle”

Sadly, this is a story seen far too often among journalists in Mexico.

Citing data from the CPJ, Reuters reported Wednesday that “about half of all murders of journalists around the world” last year “occurred in Mexico.”

Valdivia’s death marks the fourth known death of a reporter in Mexico so far in 2020 and at least the second this year in Veracruz. According to the CPJ, Maria Elena Ferral was found dead there in March.

“The shockingly brutal killing of Julio Valdivia only strengthens Veracruz’s status as not just the most violent state for journalists in Mexico, but as the deadliest region for journalists in all of the Americas,” CPJ’s Mexico representative, Jan-Albert Hootsen, said in a statement published Thursday.

Hootsen went on: “Federal and state authorities cannot stand idly by and continue to allow Veracruz’s vicious cycle of impunity and violence against…the press.”

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