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MEXICO: Grenade attack on newspaper that reports on drug trafficking

New York, August 24, 2006—The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a grenade attack on the Mexican daily Por Esto!, the third attack since June on the Cancún-based newspaper that has investigated local drug trafficking and government corruption.
Unidentified assailants driving an SUV with tinted windows lobbed two hand grenades shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday into the entrance of the paper’s office in downtown Cancún. No one was injured in the explosions. Deputy Editor Miguel Menéndez Cámara said the attack sparked panic among the 80 staff in the building.

A grenade exploded almost at the same time outside the offices of another Cancún daily, Que Quintana Roo se entere, publisher and owner José Alberto Gómez Álvarez told CPJ. The explosion injured a newspaper delivery truck cleaner. Police are investigating whether the newspaper was the target, Gómez Álvarez said. According to local press reports, an armed individual got out of a grey Ford SUV and threw a grenade at a residential building across the street from the entrance to Que Quintana Roo se entere.

Mario Renato Menéndez Rodríguez, owner of Por Esto!, said the attack was in retaliation for the newspaper’s investigative work on drug trafficking in the state of Quintana Roo, on Mexico’s southeastern Yucatán peninsula. The newspaper has probed the activities in Quintana Roo of the Sinaloa drug cartel, one of Mexico’s most powerful criminal organizations.

Carlos Alfonso Castillo Gallardo, a senior officer at the special prosecutor’s office for crimes against journalists in Mexico City, told CPJ that federal authorities were investigating the attack.
“We condemn the attack on Por Esto!,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “We urge federal and state authorities to ensure that our colleagues in Quintana Roo can continue their investigative reporting on organized crime and government corruption without fear of reprisal.”
Por Esto! publishes in Cancún and the town of Mérida. On August 22, unidentified men threw a homemade bomb at the car of Por Esto! reporter Jaime Vargas Chablé. The car, which was parked outside the journalist’s home, was destroyed. No one was injured.

In June, the car of reporter Manuel Acuña López was set on fire at his home. Both journalists have reported on government corruption in Mérida and criticized local authorities.


Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 21:24:52 -0600

Dear Joannie and Paul:

Since I was a child, my father and mother taught me not to cry but to fight. That is why is difficult for me to transmit any kind of suffering because of aggressions from the Federal Mexican Government. My normal reaction against injustice is to fight back, and fight hard, specially when the odds are against me.

However, in your case, both of you my brothers, I have to explain why it is impossible for me, at this particular moment, to sustain the invitation for our 10th Anniversary.

Allow me to explain the present day situation:

1.- Besides the expenses for the defense on the lawsuit in New York, the Federal Mexican Government confiscated, two weeks ago, all our accounts in Mexican Banks, violating the Constitution and the most elementary human rights. That means that we are not able to emit, cash or receive checks. All our movements have to be made with cash. So you can imagine all our troubles. Is something like crossing the Niagara Falls with a bicycle.

2.- At this particular moment, inside POR ESTO! building, we are suffering the anticonstitutional intervention of two special groups of the Federal Government trying in a very stupid manner to make us keep quiet, silent, on  the hypocritical conduct of the Federal Government with regards to the economy of Mexico as well as the human rights, the "drugs war" and the big simulation against the zapatistas and the peace in Chiapas.

3.- The Mexican banker Roberto Hernández, whom POR ESTO! accused more than four years ago of relations with the drug movement, is exerting a very strong pressure with his friend Vicente Fox, today Mexico's President, to try to silence us for ever.

Joannie and Paul: please accept our must sincere apology for not able to keep a promise made withour hearts. It will be another day, I assure you of that. After the tempest, the calm will come.

Thank you for your comprehension and your invaluable solidarity.

The present oblige us to fight s0 that the future may belong to us.

Your brother,



Live interview recorded on March 3, 2000

(pdf file use acrobat reader)

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