Salamanca Witnesses Death of Tenth Mexican Journalist

by Andrew V. Goodell

Salamanca, Guanajuato.

In the early morning hours of November 9, reporter Israel Vázquez Rangel was shot and killed by unidentified assailants in the central Mexican city of Salamanca. Mr. Rangel, a reporter for the digital news portal El Salmantino, who specialized in police and crime issues, had been reporting on the discovery of human remains in the southeastern municipality of Villa Salamanca 400.

Reports indicate that Mr. Vázquez arrived on the scene before any police were present and after having been alerted by a source. Mr. Vázquez’s team were preparing to stream a live broadcast of the scene when attacked by two assailants who were still present. Police and Red Cross responders soon arrived and transferred Mr. Vázquez to a local hospital where he died three hours later.

The State’s Attorney General’s office issued a statement detailing the incident and declaring the start of an investigation.

Condemnations issued from a wide variety of organizations. The Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement via Twitter mourning the death of Mr. Rangel. Reporters Without Borders tweeted about the incident and called upon local authorities to “investigate the facts and provide the necessary security measures to their family members and co-workers.”

Among others, the Guanajuato Journalists Guild tweeted: “With deep indignation and pain, we reported the death at 12:40 Hrs of Fellow Israel Vázquez Rangel, arising from the aggression suffered this morning. We ask for your solidarity and support for the measures to be taken by the Journalistic Guild of Guanajuato.”

Salamanca is located in the rich agricultural and industrial Bajio region of central Mexico. It is also one of the most violent municipalities in Guanajuato at the center of an ongoing battle between the Jalisco New Generation Cartel and the Santa Rosa Lima Cartel. Since the beginning of 2020, Salamanca recorded 349 homicides or about 10% of those in the entire state of Guanajuato, according to the Executive Secretariat of the National Security System.

Unfortunately, Mr. Rangel becomes the 10th journalist killed this year in Mexico, only eight days after of the death of Sonoran journalist Jesús Alfonso Piñuelas in Ciudad Obregón on November 2, and 10 days after the death of Chihuahan journalist Alberto Alba Medina in Ciudad Juárez on October 29.

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