Tijuana Journalist Killed after Suing Former Baja Governor
By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
Just days after Mexican journalists Margarito Martínez Esquivel and José Luis Gamboa were killed on Jan. 17 and Jan. 10, respectively, yet another reporter, Lourdes Maldonado of Tijuana’s Semanario del Séptimo Día, was murdered on Sunday, Jan. 23, presumably for her legal disputes with former Baja California Governor Jaime Bonilla.
Maldonado, who was shot in the head point blank inside her car Sunday night, had repeatedly stated that she feared for her life, and even appealed to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) for protection during one of his daily press conferences back in March 2019.
“I come to ask you for support and assistance, as well as labor justice, because I fear for my life,” she told the president. “I do this because it is the president’s senator, his super coordinator of delegations and his (then) candidate for governor of Baja California, Jaime Bonilla, that I am here, asking for support.”
At that time, the president asked his spokesman Jesús Ramírez to handle the case and said that appropriate action should be taken “within the framework of the law.”
Consequently, Maldonado was given a municipal police escort under Mexico’s Protection of Journalists Mechanism program.
Maldonado had a nine-year-long labor dispute with a company owned by Bonilla for unjustified dismissal and outstanding payroll debts.
On Wednesday, Jan. 19, that company was notified of a commercial embargo in favor of the journalist, who was designated as the intervening depositary.
That same day, Maldonado’s lawyer, Eduardo Edmar Pérez Castro, explained that with the embargo, a payment agreement would be initiated with the company in favor of his client.
Four days later, Maldonado was shot to death.
On Monday, Jan. 24, AMLO, after media prodding more than half way through his two-hour press conference, addressed Maldonado’s murder, expressing his condolences to her relatives and maintaining that a thorough police investigation will be carried out.
Then, the president proceeded to defend his government’s efforts to protect the Tijuana journalist, saying that she had received police protection.
He also adamantly defended his close friend and fellow member of the leftist National Regeneration Movement (Morena) party Bonilla, asking reporters to reserve judgement against the former Baja California governor, who he suggested could be the victim of political assaults.
Maldonado is the second journalist to be killed in Tijuana in less than a week and the third nationally so far this year.
At least 30 Mexican journalists have been killed since López Obrador (AMLO) took office in December 2018.