Femicide and violence against women continues throughout Latin America at startling rates and now a cartel in Mexico is threatening the life of a female news anchor because of her coverage. Earlier this week a video was released showing six masked men claiming to represent Ruben Oseguera Cervantes aka “El Mencho,” the leader of the Jalisco New Generation cartel (CJNG), the Associated Press reported. They threatened to track down and kill Milenio Television anchor Azucena Uresti, who has reported on their alleged involvement in ongoing violence in the Tierra Caliente region of Michoacán. They allege that the national cable new channel favored groups that are fighting against the Jalisco cartel and the zeroed in on Uresti.
“As a leader of Jalisco New Generation Cartel, I’m directly addressing Milenio News,” one of the masked men said, CNN reported. “The only thing I say to you is that you need to be balanced, to not lean to one side, don’t mess with businesses that aren’t yours.”
“I assure you that if you continue talking about me, Azucena Uresti, wherever you are, I’ll get you,” he added. “And I will make you eat your words, even if they accuse me of femicide because you don’t know me.’
Uresti announced she’s in federal protection program in Mexico and took to Twitter to thank everyone for the outpouring of support. She also released a statement: “Our work will always stick to the truth and to inform on the reality of a country like ours.”
Le faltan horas al día para agradecer a cada uno de quienes hoy me mostraron su cariño, solidaridad y compañía.
Los siento cerca. Agradezco, enormemente. sus palabras y acciones.
De corazón: ¡Gracias!
— Azucena Uresti (@azucenau) August 10, 2021
“I also express, as has happened on other occasions, my solidarity and support to hundreds of colleagues who remain threatened or have had to leave their places of origin but who continue to show the value of informing and the value of this profession,” she added, CNN reported.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called for her protection and named Mexico the “most dangerous country for journalists in the Western Hemisphere.” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) condemned the threats and ordered the undersecretary for Human Rights Alejandro Encinas and the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, which Encinas supervises, to provide Uresti with protection.
CPJ reported that a correspondent (who asked not to be identified) in Michoacán for a national newspaper who has covered violence in Tierra Caliente told them that that he believes the alleged gang leader was angered by Uresti’s August 4 report on Radio Fórmula. She interviewed a member of what she described as a “self-defense group” fighting against CJNG, partly because of his criticism of “El Mencho.”
Mexico was the deadliest country in the world for journalists in 2020, accounting for almost a third of journalists killed this year, according to to CPJ. Nine journalists were killed in Mexico in 2020, bringing the death toll to at least 120 since 2000.