20 December 2017 – The Mexican authorities should carry out a prompt and thorough investigation into the murder of Gumaro Pérez Aguilando, a reporter for La Voz del Sur, killed on 19 December, in Acayucan, Veracruz, said PEN International, PEN México and PEN San Miguel de Allende. Pérez Aguilando’s death marks the tenth murder of a writer or print journalist in Mexico this year, the third in Veracruz state.
Gumaro Pérez Aguilando, aged 34, a journalist for the last 15 years, began his career at Diario Acayucan, where he covered the police beat. He also wrote for El Mañanero de Olutla, Liberal del Sur and Diario de Minatitlán, and worked for a radio station in Coatzacoalcos. He was part of the Office of Social Communication of the municipality of Acayucan and founded the newspaper La Voz del Sur, which recently began to publish online.
According to the Mexican media, two assailants opened fire on Pérez Aguilando at his son’s school, where he was attending a Christmas celebration. Pérez Aguilando had been receiving threats since 2015. Last August, he joined a group of journalists in calling for justice for his colleague Cándido Rios Vázquez, who was killed by an armed group.
PEN International, PEN México and PEN San Miguel de Allende call local and federal authorities to urgently fulfil their promise to guarantee the safety of its journalists by ensuring that its protection programmes are fully operational. PEN also calls on the authorities to guarantee the right to freedom of expression, particularly as Mexico has now earned the grim accolade of being the most dangerous country not at war in which to be a journalist.