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ON THIS DAY - Mexico, Bonifacio Cruz Santiago and Alfonso Cruz Cruz Murdered, 7 February 2008

Tuesday 7 February 2012 - 11:28am

A series of actions commemorating writers and journalists killed in recent years as part of PEN International’s focus on Killings with Impunity in 2012

Four years ago today, Bonifacio Cruz Santiago, publisher of the weekly El Real, and his son, Alfonso Cruz Cruz, the publication’s editor, were shot to death outside the town hall of Chimalhuacán, in the central state of Mexico.

Both men were killed after going to the town hall for a meeting with a legal advisor. While waiting outside the building, they were approached by two men in their 30s who opened fire on them: Alfonso died on the spot; Bonifacio died whilst being rushed to hospital.

The culprits have never been found. Although the motive for the killings remains unclear, there are suggestions that father and son died in a tragic case of mistaken identity (local media suspected that the gunmen mistook Bonifacio Cruz for Olivares Díaz, who had recently received death threats in connection with a land dispute among peasants).

They would not be the first journalists to die this way, and it is unlikely that they will be the last: Mexico is a country where organized criminal gangs kill with impunity - often in broad daylight - with little regard for whoever gets caught in the cross-fire. Recently, on 6 January 2012, Raúl Régulo Garza Quirino, reporter for the weekly newspaper La Ultima Palabra, was murdered by a gang after a car chase. Here again there are suggestions that Garza died as a result of mistaken identity: an armed gang returned to his neighbourhood a few days later and killed his neighbour.

In January 2012 a delegation comprised of PEN International’s leadership travelled to Mexico to highlight the country’s climate of impunity and demanded that the authorities take all necessary steps to end it. For more information, please see PEN Protesta!

Take Action

Write to the President, Attorney General and Special Prosecutor for Crimes Against Freedom of Expression:

Protesting the continuing attacks on journalists;
Calling for an end to Mexico’s climate of impunity in which attacks such as these take place;
Calling on the government of President Felipe Calderón to fulfil promises to make crimes against journalists a federal offence, by amending the Constitution so that federal authorities have the power to investigate, prosecute and punish such crimes.

Appeals to:

Lic. Felipe De Jesús Calderón Hinojosa
Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos
Residencia Oficial de los Pinos Casa Miguel Alemán
Col. San Miguel Chapultepec, C.P. 11850, DISTRITO FEDERAL, México
Fax: (+ 52 55) 5093 4901/ 5277 2376
Salutation: Señor Presidente/ Dear Mr President

Attorney General
Lic. Marisela Morales Ibáñez
Procuradora General de la República
Av. Paseo de Reforma No. 211-213, Piso 16
Col. Cuauhtémoc, Defegacion Cuauhtémoc
México D.F. C.P. 06500
Tel: + 52 55 5346 0108
Fax: + 52 55 53 46 0908 (if a voice answers, ask "tono de fax, por favor")
Salutation: Señora Procuradora General/Dear Attorney General

Special Prosecutor for Crimes against Freedom of Expression
Dr Gustavo Salas Chávez
Fiscal Especial para la Atención de Delitos Cometidos contra la Libertad de Expresión (FEADLE)

Please also send copies of your appeals to the Mexican Embassy in your country.

For further details please contact Cathal Sheerin at the Writers in Prison Committee London Office: PEN International, Brownlow House, 50-51 High Holborn, London WC1V 6ER Tel: +44 (0) 207 405 0338 Fax +44 (0) 207 405 0339 email: