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El Sur Suspects Political Enemies in Armed Attack

By: Staff | Real Acapulco News - 12 November, 2010

(Acapulco, NA, 11 November) The director general of Acapulco’s daily newspaper El Sur, Juan Angulo Osorio, has declared that the recent attack on his publication by armed gunmen is part of the general violence that has shaken Acapulco in the last few weeks, but he added that he did not want the public “to get the idea that this was merely the act of organized crime groups, without considering the conflict between this newspaper and the government of the State of Guerrero.” Wednesday night, armed men fired automatic weapons into the façade of the newspaper’s headquarters, shot up the editorial offices with hand guns, and spread gasoline in an obvious attempt to set the place on fire. Angulo Osorio indicated that the current governor, Zeferino Torreblanca Galindo has not hidden his personal animosity to the editorial viewpoint of El Sur, as the paper has not made life easy for politicians and government officials. He stated plainly that “we want to continue our commitment to our readers, but we also want to protect our reporters and employees, ensuring their physical safety. This has become a dilemma for us, which we are now trying to figure out.”

When asked about the ongoing investigation of the incident, the director general replied that very little information has been forthcoming so far. “The focus is technical, like the analysis of the shell casings. But many bullet holes can be seen in the offices, and our colleagues who lived through the event never really were aware of the magnitude of the problem.” He said that those responsible for the intimidation obviously do not want “dissident voices” because in Guerrero, “those in de facto power have a lot of presence and influence, and basically, “if the society does not react to it, if they do not mobilize and defend their journalists, it will be very hard for an independent press to survive.”

The Mexican office of the High Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations, through its director, Javier Hernánez Valencia, condemned the attack on El Sur and demanded that state authorities pursue and punish those responsible. In a message dispatched to the United Nations, Hernández Valencia wrote that “this act of aggression is a blatant effort, an unmistakable message, designed to muzzle the media by intimidation.”

In Chilpancingo, the Secretary of Government of Guerrero, Israel Soberanis Nogueda, condemned the attack and reported that the Governor has instructed state attorney general David Augusto Sotelo Rosas to commence a formal investigation into the matter. He also indicated that the governor has spoken personally with the head of the newspaper to assure him of the solidarity of the government in completing a full investigation. When asked about the possibility that the attack had its origins from within the government, Torreblanca said, “I categorically reject any notion that the government would take aggressive action against El Sur.”

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