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Mexico Under Pressure on Human Rights After Journalist’s Slaying

November 18, 1992

MEXICO CITY (AP) _ Reacting to the third murder of a journalist this year, human rights groups and journalists are accusing the Mexican government of failing to halt attracks on the press.

The Inter-American Press Association said Tuesday it was sending investigators to probe the shooting Friday of Ignacio Mendoza Castillo, a prominent newspaper journalist.

Mendoza, the 52-year-old former director of La Voz del Caribe in Quintana Roo, was felled by three bullets outside his Mexico City home Friday.

He had just returned from a protest against press abuses held outside a building where President Carlos Salinas de Gortari was taking part in a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Foreign Correspondents Association.

Mendoza moved to the capital in 1991 after receiving death threats. His paper had run exposes of alleged corruption in Quintana Roo, run by Gov. Miguel Borge Martin.

Mendoza had complained of death threats days before his death. Borge Martin said he had nothing to do with the journalist’s death.

Critics said they were skeptical the killers would be brought to justice. Twenty-eight Mexican journalists have been slain since 1988.

″I’m not aware of a single case in which there has been an adequate resolution,″ said Douglas Payne, an investigator for the New York-based human rights group Freedom House.

″This killing sticks out because of the prominence of the journalist and the fact that he was gunned down right in the capital,″ Payne said in a telephone interview.

Jorge Carpizo, president of the government’s National Commission on Human Rights, promised an ″exacting investigation″ into Mendoza’s killing.

Although Salinas established the commission two years ago and has enacted measures to curb police powers, critics insist severe problems for the press remain.

Other journalists slain this year were:

-Victor Manuel Oropeza, a columnist for the Diario de Juarez, in northern Mexico, who was stabbed to death on July 3 after receiving death threats.

-Gabriel Venegas Valencia, shot to death Oct. 12. Venegas was a labor reporter for the broadcast giant Televisa.

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