Murdered Mexican Journalist Cándido Ríos: ‘Our Weapons Do Not Shoot Bullets. Our Weapons Shoot Truth’

Cándido Ríos Vázquez. Imagen ampliamente compartida en Twitter.

Cándido Ríos Vázquez. Photo widely shared in Twitter.

Mexican journalist Cándido Ríos, also known by locals and colleagues as “Pavuche,” was murdered on August 22, 2017, in a gun attack in Hueyapan de Ocampo, Veracruz, on Mexico's east coast, according to local sources.

Independent news outlet Animal Político gave more details about his death:

Ríos, conocido entre sus colegas como “Pavuche”, falleció mientras era trasladado al hospital debido a las heridas de bala de alto calibre que recibió, según dijeron a AFP fuentes conocedoras del caso.

Ríos, known as “Pavuche” among his colleagues, died while being transported to the hospital after having been wounded with a firearm of high caliber, sources familiar with the case told AFP.

Ríos’ name joins the list of journalists who have been murdered in Mexico this year, which includes Salvador Adame, Miroslava Breach and Javier Valdez. According to freedom of expression advocacy group Article 19, Ríos is the ninth journalist assassinated in the country in 2017.

Ríos was the founder of the weekly newspaper La Voz de Hueyapan and had reported for local newspaper Diario Acayucan for over 10 years. His work included coverage of corruption and police. Animal Político pointed out:

El periodista era conocido por su larga trayectoria cubriendo nota roja, y por haber tenido conflictos con algunos exalcaldes de la región debido a su labor periodística.

The journalist was known for his career as a crime reporter and for having conflicts with some former town mayors in the region due to his work.

Twitter user Diana Gabriela shared an excerpt of a video that Rios filmed himself, just nine days before being murdered, in which he makes strong accusations against political figures of Hueyapan de Ocampo. In the video, he asserts: “We do not use firearms. They kill us knowing that our weapons don't shoot bullets. Our weapons shoot truth.”

Shockingly, Ríos was under the local authorities’ protection after he had received threats to his life over to his journalistic work. Newspaper La Jornada reported:

Jorge Morales, de la Comisión Estatal de Atención y Protección a Periodistas, informó que Cándido Ríos tenía presentadas varias denuncias contra algunas autoridades municipales de la región, por agresiones a su persona.

Jorge Morales, from the State’s Commission to Serve and Protect Journalists, reported that Cándido Ríos had filed several complaints against some of the region's political figures for aggressions against his person.

News site Huffington Post elaborated:

Su afán por denunciar injusticias le ganó amplia popularidad entre los lectores, pero también enemigos como el exalcalde de Hueyapan, su pueblo natal, quien lo amenazó de muerte en numerosas ocasiones, según recuerda su colega y director del Diario de Acayucan, Cecilio Pérez.

His tireless efforts to denounce injustice brought him popularity among readers, but also enemies like the former mayor of Ríos’ hometown Hueyapan, who threatened him with death several times, said his former colleague Cecilio Perez, director of Diario de Acayucan.

Meanwhile, news portal MX Politico shared his picture on Twitter:

Traditional media outlets in the country have provided minimal coverage to Ríos’ murder. Some have published different versions about the reasons behind his assassination. Online national news outlet Milenio highlighted a comment from a Mexican government official who stated that Ríos was not the target of the attack in which he died:

El periodista Cándido Ríos Vázquez no era el objetivo del ataque en el que murieron él y otras dos personas frente a una gasolinera en el municipio de Hueyapan de Ocampo, dijo Roberto Campa Cifrían, subsecretario de Derechos Humanos de la Secretaría de Gobernación.

Journalist Cándido Ríos Vázquez was not the target of the attack in which he and two other people died at a gas station in Hueyapan de Ocampo, Veracruz, said Roberto Campa Cifrian, deputy secretary of the Human Rights of Secretariat of the Interior.

Jaqueline Dorantes shared the following message among her followers:

Mexico has become an incredibly dangerous place to work for journalists, who are often threatened or assaulted for doing their job. Follow our special coverage about the several crimes against journalism in Mexico, and the impunity that surrounds these cases.

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