[Translation of an article from La Jornada of Mexico City for May 4. See original here.]
by Luz María Rivera
Boca del Río, Veracruz, May 3 – The lifeless bodies of photojournalists Gabriel Huge, Guillermo Luna Varela and Esteban Rodríguez Rodríguez were discovered on Friday morning in the La Zamorana channel, which belongs to the Las Vegas II housing development north of this city, together with that of Irasema Becerra, a secretary at another newspaper and the girlfriend of one of the men. All the bodies had been dismembered and showed signs of torture.
Two of the photographers had been reported missing on Tuesday afternoon when workmates and family members could not get in touch with them or find them at their residences. In a bulletin released at noon by the state government communications office it was confirmed that the Naval Police had found the remains of Luna Varela and Huge in black plastic bags. At that time, it was said that the other two bodies had not been identified.
The agency stated that the bodies “were dismembered and showed signs of torture, and that, because of the nature of the murders, the involvement of organized crime is suspected, and therefore the intervention of the attorney general in the case will be requested.”
Gabriel Huge Córdoba, 37 years old, worked until last August as a photojournalist for Notiver and has worked in police news for a radio station, La Max, in the Papaloapan basin. Guillermo Luna, about 20 years of age, was working at the VeracruzNews website.
Esteban Rodríguez Rodríguez, 30 years old, had been a camera operator for local TV-Azteca and a photojournalist for the morning newspaper AZ, which he left last year, according to its managers. Rodríguez did not have a job because following the murders of columnist Miguel Ángel López Velasco and his family, and of reporter Yolanda Ordaz, the local media chose to reduce, and in a few cases to eliminate, nota roja sections [articles reporting violent crimes]. Official sources say the young man was working as a welder in a machine shop.
A series of crimes
According to unofficial accounts, the three young men disappeared last Tuesday from the market zone of Veracruz, where they had been seen together at about 4:00 in the afternoon.
The state attorney general also identified the body of 29-year-old Irasema Becerra, who worked in the sales department of El Dictamen, an old respected paper, and was the girlfriend of one of the photographers.
These murders occurred after the death of Regina Martínez, Veracruz correspondent for the magazine Proceso, killed last Saturday at her home in Jalapa, and weeks before the first anniversary of the murder, also at his home, of Miguel Ángel López Solana, a columnist for Notiver, his wife, Agustina Solana, and his 22-year-old son Misael López Solana, a photojournalist for the same newspaper. Yolanda Ordaz, police reporter for Notiver, was murdered a month later. Milo Vela, as López Velasco signed his daily columns, and his family were murdered by an armed group on the morning of Monday, June 20, 2011.
The governor of Veracruz, Javier Duarte, expressed sorrow and condemned the murders of the three photojournalists and Irasema Becerra and declared, “In the name of the government of Veracruz, I am deeply sorry for these murders; we repudiate these atrocities, which injure all the people of Veracruz.”
The state leader traveled to this city, which borders the city of Veracruz, to hold a meeting with the secretary for public safety, Arturo Bermúdez Zurita, and the attorney general, Felipe Amadeo Flores Espinosa, who are following the case. Duarte reaffirmed his “absolute and inalterable” commitment to “safety and the rule of law.” He stated that he had spoken by telephone with the secretary of the interior, Alejandro Poiré, who reaffirmed the readiness of the federal government to continue working for the tranquility of Veracruz and of Mexico.
Governor Duarte de Ochoa confirmed that the state attorney general will request that the attorney general of the republic become involved in the case due to the nature of the crimes.