A Mexican reporter who frequently covered gang violence in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas was found beaten to death Tuesday, becoming the sixth journalist killed in the country in 2018.
The body of Hector Gonzalez Antonio, a correspondent for the Excelsior daily newspaper, was found on a dirt road in Ciudad Victoria, the state capital of Tamaulipas, the Los Angeles Times reports. According to the state prosecutor’s office, he was bludgeoned to death.
Gonzalez is the third Mexican reporter killed in the last two weeks and the sixth so far in 2018. Prosecutors have not identified a possible motive for his slaying.
Mexico is among the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists to work in. At least 11 Mexican journalists were slain or imprisoned in connection to their work in 2017, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Tamaulipas, which borders Texas, has been ravaged by fighting between the Gulf and Los Zeta cartels. Some 321 homicides were reported in the first four months of 2018 alone, a 78 percent increase from the same time period in 2017. (RELATED: 2017 Was Mexico’s Deadliest Year In Two Decades)
Gonzalez described the violence in Tamaulipas as a “crisis of insecurity.” He recently covered the slaying of Tamaulipas journalist stabbed to death in January while waiting at a stoplight with his family.
Mexican journalist Cendy Robles reacted to Gonzalez’ death on Twitter: “It’s clear that in Mexico the government is overwhelmed by organized crime. What’s next?”
Mexico recorded a record-breaking 29,159 homicides in 2017, and is currently on track to break that record with 8,900 homicide cases opened in the first four months of 2018.
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