Murder of Mexico City Reporters Could Be Linked to Mafias

Mystery surrounds the murder of two female journalists in Mexico City, and the authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the killings are linked to organized crime.

The naked bodies of Ana Marcela Yarce Viveros and Rocio Gonzalez Trapaga, both in their forties, were found last week near a cemetery in the working-class neighbourhood of Iztapalapa, in the Mexican capital. The women’s hands and feet were bound, and they appeared to have been strangled. The manner in which they were killed would seem to bear all the hallmarks of a hit ordered by one of Mexico’s drug cartels.

Yarce was a founder of the political magazine Contralinea, while Gonzalez, a former reporter for TV network Televisa, was working as a freelance reporter as well as running a currency exchange business at Mexico City airport. The women are said to have been close friends.

Investigators are following a number of lines of inquiry in their search for a possible motive. Although a number of reports suggest the murders may have been a crime of passion, investigators are not excluding other potential motives, including criminal connections to the Gonzalez’s money-exchange business, or the fact that both women were journalists.

The attorney general for Mexico’s Federal District, Miguel Angel Mancera, has said that links are being investigated between the murder of the two journalists and the recent killing of real-estate entrepreneur Javier Victor Perera Calero. However, Angel Mancera denied that money laundering was a possible line of inquiry.

Police are also interested in contacting an unnamed man, an alleged boyfriend of Gonzalez, believed to be of Lebanese descent.

At least 59 journalists have been murdered in Mexico under the administration of current President Felipe Calderon, causing press organization Reporters Without Borders to list Mexico as the second most dangerous country in the world for journalists.

Mexico City is often viewed as immune from the violence currently engulfing much of the rest of the country and these killings represent the first journalists murdered in the capital for some time. As InSight Crime has noted, there are signs that the drug gangs’ “truce” to keep peace in the capital could be coming to an end.