International organizations from Amnesty International to the International Press Institute have bemoaned the dangers faced by members of the media in Latin America. Their concerns were apparently proven in a pair of incidents this past weekend.
The lifeless body of Mexican magazine journalist Regina Martinez was found in the bathroom of her house in Veracruz according to local authorities.
“Apparently, the cause of death (was) asphyxiation by strangulation,” said a Veracruz state prosecutor who added that the journalist's body showed signs of “blows to the head and body.” Nevertheless, authorities have yet to provide a motive for her death.
While authorities vowed a thorough investigation approximately three hundred people protested on Sunday in front of the government offices of the Veracruz governor. As seen in the video below, marchers shouted several slogans including “Regina’s death is our death”:
One of Martinez’ former colleagues, Raúl Torres Jiménez, expressed in an article published yesterday in Proceso his sadness over her death. “My voice is small, but I will raise it to say quite firmly: Justice for Regina, enough is enough!” declared Jiménez at the end of his article.
In the meantime, French officials alleged that a journalist from that country was kidnapped by FARC rebels in Colombia.
French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told the local press that freelance reporter Romeo Langlois was “taken prisoner” during a guerilla attack against a counternarcotics group on Saturday. Juppe also said “the crisis center (of the Foreign Ministry) has been mobilized and is liaising with Colombian authorities.”
Colombian Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon was unable to confirm if the France 24 reporter who was on assignment was kidnapped and under FARC custody. Nevertheless, he warned that “if (the FARC) have him, they must respect his life and they are responsible for anything that happens to him if they have him in their power.”
At least four security forces were reportedly killed and eight wounded in the clash that Langlois was caught up in.
According to France 24, Langlois resided in Colombia for over a decade and he has reported “extensively” on the FARC and the country’s armed conflict.
Video Source – YouTube via videosintesis
Online Sources – Proceso, UPI, CNN, LAHT, BBC News, Reuters, AFP