The unsolved murder of a border journalist gunned down in front of his daughter has prompted the Inter American Press Association to call on Mexican President Felipe Calderon to address the country’s “negligence, apathy and irregularities” when investigating the deaths of members of the media.
Armando “El Choco” Rodriguez, a reporter for El Diario de Juarez, was murdered in November 2008 for his coverage of cartel-related crime in the city across the border from El Paso. Rodriguez was assassinated in front of his home as he prepared to drive his daughter to school.
“We ask for your good offices, Mr. President, to see that the relevant authority speeds up the investigation, have the crime solved and the culprits harshly punished,” states a letter sent to Calderon this week. “Only in that way will the death “El Choco” Rodriguez not become just another statistic in the list of unsolved murders in the Americas.”
The press group has also written to leaders from Haiti, Honduras, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru in an attempt to focus more attention on what it says are the 88 unsolved murders of journalists in the countries since 1987.
The decision to send the letters was made by resolution at the group’s mid-year meetings in Aruba earlier this month. A separate resolution urging a call to action on the disappearances or murders of 50 additional Mexican members of the media was also adopted.
San Antonio Express-News editor Robert Rivard is the IAPA’s Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information chairman and said the organization would also focus on “taking up other important developments affecting freedom of the press, such as restrictive legislation and economic and legal actions against news media.” He added that “there is no doubt that violence and the search for strategies to combat this epidemic will be the focus of our attention.”