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Mexican reporter who said he was in ‘imminent danger’ because of his work is found murdered and wrapped in plastic in cartel stronghold marking the ninth death of a journalist in the country this year

  • The body of Luis Ramírez Ramos, 59, was discovered  by a dirt road in Sinaloa 
  • He had died from being beaten around the head and his body wrapped in plastic
  • The killing was the ninth of a reporter or photographer killed this year in Mexico
  • Ramírez Ramos previously stated he felt in ‘imminent danger’ for his reporting 

A famous reporter has become the ninth to be murdered in Mexico this year after his body was found wrapped in black plastic by a dirt road deep in cartel territory.

The battered body of Luis Ramírez Ramos, 59, was discovered by security forces near a junkyard in the state capital of Culiacan in Sinaloa, home to the notorious Sinaloa cartel.

Ramírez Ramos had previously stated that he felt in ‘imminent danger’ for his reporting, even though he largely avoided covering the drug cartels for fear of retribution, sticking mostly to political reporting.

Prosecutors stated that he died from multiple blows to the head. 

He is the ninth reporter or photographer killed this year in Mexico, making the country the most dangerous place in the world for the press outside of an active war zone. 

Ramírez Ramos’ news website, ‘Fuentes Fidedignas’, or ‘Reliable Sources’, said that he had been abducted near his house hours earlier, although prosecutors said that he had not been reported missing to police. 

Luis Enrique Ramirez Ramos, a journalist who was murdered in Sinaloa, Mexico. He had previously stated that he felt in 'imminent danger' for his reporting, even though he largely avoided covering the drug cartels for fear of retribution and stuck mostly to political reporting

Luis Enrique Ramirez Ramos, a journalist who was murdered in Sinaloa, Mexico. He had previously stated that he felt in ‘imminent danger’ for his reporting, even though he largely avoided covering the drug cartels for fear of retribution and stuck mostly to political reporting

The slain reporter is listed as ‘founding director’ of the website, which has reported relatively little on the drug cartel violence that plagues Sinaloa. 

Ramirez was a recognized figure in Sinaloa and beyond, having worked at some of the country’s largest papers across a 40-year career, according to El Debate. 

Ramirez had previously been on the receiving end of ‘aggressions’, said Juan Vazquez of Article 19, a human rights organization dedicated to press freedom. 

‘I do feel the imminent danger that I am the one who follows, because there is a pattern [of murders], in which I fit,’ Ramirez said in an interview with local media several years ago. 

Most killings of journalists in Mexico are blamed on drug cartels, and journalists in the most violent cities, like Culiacan, often avoid the topic of cartels for their own safety.

But in a 2015 interview with MVS radio station after the killing of fellow reporter Humberto Millan, Ramírez Ramos said ‘I don’t write about narcos, I speak neither good nor ill of the narcos. Humberto Millan didn’t either, and that was not enough to keep him alive and working.’

‘What is happening? Humberto Millan and I only write about politicians, and now it turns out that we can’t write about politicians either, so what are journalists in Sinaloa going to write about?’ he said at the time.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said it lamented the killing and ‘calls on authorities to urgently investigate this act,’ but state and federal government have been criticized for neither preventing the killings nor investigating them sufficiently. 

Presidential spokesperson Jesus Cuevas said on Twitter Thursday afternoon that the federal government would work with state and local governments to investigate Ramirez’s death and that they would ‘reinforce security measures for journalists.’

‘There will not be impunity,’ he added. 

While President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has promised a ‘zero impunity’ program to investigate the killings, on Thursday the head of that program listed only six killings of journalists this year, even though there have been eight.

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of México, has been accused of making journalists more vulnerable to violence due to his daily criticisms ofthem

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of México, has been accused of making journalists more vulnerable to violence due to his daily criticisms ofthem

A Sinaloa's state police officer works during the dismantle of one of the three clandestine laboratories producers of synthetic drug, mainly methamphetamine in El Dorado, Sinaloa

A Sinaloa’s state police officer works during the dismantle of one of the three clandestine laboratories producers of synthetic drug, mainly methamphetamine in El Dorado, Sinaloa

A state police officer inspects methamphetamine that was being produced in the laboratory

A state police officer inspects methamphetamine that was being produced in the laboratory

And the president continues his frequent verbal attacks on journalists whose stories he dislikes, calling them ‘conservatives’ and ‘mercenaries,’ and using information from supporters – and apparently tax agencies – to publicize the income of reporters he dislikes.

Press groups say López Obrador’s daily criticisms of journalists make them more vulnerable to violence.

During his administration alone, 34 journalists have been killed, according to Article 19’s count, including Ramirez. 

In February, the Inter American Press Association called on the president to ‘immediately suspend the aggressions and insults, because such attacks from the top of power encourage violence against the press.’

And in March, the European Union approved a resolution that ‘calls on the authorities, and in particular the highest ones, to refrain from issuing any communication which could stigmatize human rights defenders, journalists and media workers, exacerbate the atmosphere against them or distort their lines of investigation.’

The cartel-based conflict in Mexico has been likened to a low-intensity war between the government and various well-funded, brutal and barbaric drug cartels armed to the teeth with some of the latest high-tech weaponry.

Hundreds of thousands have been killed or have disappeared in the fifteen years since the cartels took hold of the country. 

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Source: Daily Mail

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