National Association of Hispanic Journalists condemns the killing of photojournalist Luis Carlos Santiago and wounding of his colleague, Carlos Manuel Sanchez, of El Diario, a daily newspaper in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Further, NAHJ calls on Mexican President Felipe Calderon to demand a prompt and thorough investigation of the crimes and prosecution of those responsible.
Santiago was shot and killed in the parking lot of a shopping mall on Thursday during his lunch break, bringing to nine the number of journalists killed in Mexico in 2010. Sanchez was also shot and is in stable condition in a hospital in Ciudad Juarez.
Santiago was an intern at El Diario, but officials at the newspaper said on Thursday that he was days away from signing a contract to become a full-time employee. He had been interning at the newspaper for about six months.
Mexican authorities have not released many details, but the shooters seem to have targeted Santiago and Sanchez as part of an ongoing wave of violence that has plagued Juarez since 2008. Rival drug cartels have fought over control of the city's trafficking routes, and so far about 6,400 people have been killed.
Reporters in Juarez, a city of about 1.5 million people across the border from El Paso, Texas, said Santiago was an ambitious and talented photojournalist who showed great promise. El Diario has published some of his photographs.
Santiago and Sanchez had just left a photography workshop when they were shot and Santiago killed.
This is the second journalist to be killed in Juarez in the last two years. In November 2008, Armando Rodriguez, a veteran reporter for El Diario, was gunned down at his home. Rodriguez had been threatened several times before he was slain.
These murders underscore the danger that many journalists working in Mexico and along the border face each day in their efforts to inform the public and uncover the truth. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, more than 30 journalists have disappeared or been killed in Mexico since 2006.
CPJ officials are scheduled to meet with Mexican President Felipe Calderon next week to discuss threats against journalists. NAHJ urges President Calderon to heed the concerns of journalists and redouble his efforts to ensure the safety of reporters in his country. We will judge commitment to freedom of the press and the public's right to know by his response.
NAHJ also joins local journalism organizations in their call for law enforcement to launch an earnest investigation and to bring justice for the families of Santiago and Sanchez.
"We strongly urge the authorities to work diligently to find those responsible for this crime," said Gustavo Reveles Acosta, President of the El Paso Press Club and NAHJ's Vice President for Print. "Doing so would send a strong message that the murder of journalists is not condoned."
NAHJ also continues to express its solidarity with reporters on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border who continue to risk their lives to chronicle the violence that has crippled thousands of families in the United States and Mexico.