by Kade Crockford and Paola Villarreal, Privacy SOS
On July 31, 2015, assassins broke into an apartment in Mexico City and executed five people: photojournalist Ruben Espinosa, 31, community organizer and human rights activist Nadia Vera, 32, student Yesenia Quiróz, 18, and two unnamed women. Their bodies showed signs of torture.
Espinosa and Vera had fled to Mexico City from the state of Veracruz, 200 miles east the capital, on the Gulf of Mexico. According to the Committee to Project Journalists (CPJ), Veracruz is not only one of the most dangerous states in Mexico for journalists, but one of the most dangerous regions in the world.
At the time of their murders, Espinosa and Vera were living in Mexico City because their criticism of Veracruz’ governor, Javier Duarte, was met with threats, surveillance, and harassment, forcing them into exile in their own country. During Duarte’s governorship, at least twelve journalists have been murdered in suspicious circumstances that activists and fellow reporters call political assassinations.
Espinosa arrived in Mexico City in June, and was very vocal about his experience, speaking out against the culture of corruption and violence that drove him from his home. On July 1, 2015, he told a fellow reporter why he left Veracruz for what he thought would be a safe haven in the nation’s capital.
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