Rumours about murdered reporter Humberto Millan Salazar have grown out of all proportion since his death last week. The journalist was kidnapped in the north-eastern state of Sinaloa, his body was found the same day. Millan Salazar was apparently killed just an hour after his kidnapping last Thursday, and had been executed with a 9mm gun. Friends and colleagues claim Millan Salazar was killed for political reasons. One website claims he was a supporter of the current governor of the state of Sinaloa, who belongs to a political party that last year defeated a candidate of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) — the PRI has dominated Mexican politics for almost 70 years.
Sinaloa Governor Mario Lopez Valdez told reporters that the country’s Attorney General is sending three specialised investigators to investigate the case.
Millan Salazar was the director of the online magazine A-Discusion (Let’s Discuss) and wrote widely on government corruption. His last column was published on 23 August, a few days before his murder, and criticised the PRI’s President, Humberto Moreira, who had been accused of massive mismanagement of public funds in the northern state of Coahuila.
Sinaloa is home to the Sinaloa Cartel, a powerful drug gang led by kingpin Joaquin “Chapo” Guzman. Local sources claim Millan Salazar was caustic critic of local government but hardly touched on stories related to drug trafficking. A regional press group, Periodistas Siete de Julio has written an open letter asking for protection for the media. According to the letter, the murder of Millan Salazar demonstrates that there are sacred cows in the political spectrum of Sinaloa, things that cannot be talked or written about. A colleague has also announced that Millan left him a video where that contains tips about who could have murdered the reporter.
Mexico’s National Human Rights Commission says 71 journalists have been killed and 14 have disappeared since 2000. This week, another columnist, Enrique Ramirez of the blog Fuentes Fidedignas, said he was leaving Sinaloa because of death threats.