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The Murder of Jorge Celestino Ruiz Vazquez - by Joshua Brown

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    • Joshua Brown at Pima Community College

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    In August of 2019, a journalist living in the small town of Actopán, Mexico was murdered. His name was Jorge Celestino Ruiz Vazquez and he was journalist for a newspaper called El Gráfico. At the time of his death, he was supposed to be under security protocols, but never received them and it resulted in his death. This led to speculation as to what else was at play.

    Jorge was a journalist in his local area. He had reported previous death threats and one time his house was even shot at. The night of his murder, he was granted protective custody, but it was never given to him. The governor of Veracruz launched an investigation because of this. As it turns out, the man that he was killed by was hired by the mayor of his town. He was working on a story talking about how critical he was of the mayor and because of this, the mayor had him killed. The man that killed him was sentenced to 32 years in prison and the mayor that orchestrated the killing was placed under investigation. I was not able to find out what happened to the mayor, but the governor of Veracruz said that he would find out who killed Jorge and they would take responsibility for their actions. Because of all this evidence, it seems that the mayor was the one that prevented the security from being with Jorge and thus led to his death (Sentenciaron, 2022).

    It is difficult to find detailed information about the death circumstances of Jorge, but after his murder, the death toll for journalists in 2019 was up to 10 by August. Mexico has continually had a problem with journalists facing threats of violence and death threats. This is usually because of the cartels and other organized crime and that they are usually linked to political powers. This is another theory about the mayor that hired someone to kill Jorge. I think it is extremely possible that he could have been working with the cartel before. I could not find any specific articles, but I know that Jorge was critical of the mayor and that could have been one of the reasons. He might have begun to realize that the mayor was working with organized crime leaders and the mayor needed to silence them. Another reason that it is so dangerous to be a journalist is because many of the murders go unsolved, so the killers are never prosecuted. Usually, the government says they will do something about it, but nothing ever happens, and the families are left with no answers as to what happened (Deutsche, 2019).

    This case should be talked about more because we need to show that just because someone is in a position of power, they cannot and should not get away with whatever they want. There are many cases in which politicians or other powerful people seem to be able to get away with something in which they have irrefutable evidence stacked against them. While legally they are not prosecuted, the citizens still lose their trust in that person. Although this is smaller scale, it still cost someone their life and I am unable to tell whether the right people got what they deserved. There should never be a fear for journalists to lose their life for reporting on a story, especially if it is on the government. The government needs to be transparent for the citizens to trust them and journalism is an easy way to make the government transparent. The case of Jorge Celestino Ruiz Vazquez perfectly exemplifies this. It was well known that he did not like the policies of the mayor in his town and he was not able to report on it without facing adversity and eventually being killed. I hope for the future that we are able to mitigate this issue so that journalism can be practiced freely.5


    Deutsche Welle. (2019b, August 3). Mexico: 3 journalists killed in one week.

    Mioli, T. (2021, January 25). Threatened journalist killed in Veracruz, Mexico is the third reporter killed in country this week. LatAm Journalism Review by the Knight Center.

    Político, R. A. (2019, August 4). Asesinan en Veracruz al periodista Jorge Ruiz; contaba con medidas de protección.

    Reuters. (2019, August 5). Jorge Celestino Ruíz Vázquez murdered in Veracruz. El Universal.

    Reuters. (2019a, August 4). Three Reporters Killed in One Week in Mexico. VOA.

    Sentenciaron a 32 años de cárcel a homicida del periodista Jorge Celestino Ruiz Vázquez. (2022, May 6). Infobae.

    This page titled The Murder of Jorge Celestino Ruiz Vazquez - by Joshua Brown is shared under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Joshua Brown at Pima Community College.