A prominent Mexican radio host has been assassinated in southern Mexico, amid persisting violence in one of the world’s most dangerous countries for journalists.
News radio host Juan Carlos Huerta was shot dead by gunmen as he drove out of his residential subdivision in the southern Tabasco State capital of Villahrmosa on Tuesday morning.
Before he was shot, a truck rammed into his vehicle and blocked his path, according to local officials, who added that the assailants escaped the scene.
“They went to execute him,” said Tabasco Governor Arturo Nunez Jimenez during a news conference, dismissing initial reports that the shooting may have happened during a botched robbery attempt.
Jimenez said, however, that the motive of the killing was still not determined. No suspects had been identified yet, either, he said.
According to the governor, roads out of the state capital were been blocked as part of attempts to catch the assailants.
Huerta is the fourth journalist killed in Mexico so far this year. His assassination shocked Mexico’s journalism community and came on the day that local journalists were marking the first anniversary of the slaying of prize-winning reporter Javier Valdez.
Valdez, who had reported extensively on criminal groups, was shot dead on a busy road in broad daylight in the city of Culiacan. His killing stunned many in Mexico due to his high profile, and triggered international demands that Mexico do more to protect journalists. He was one of the 12 Mexican journalists killed in 2017.
According to free-speech advocacy group Article 19, Mexico is the most dangerous country in Latin America for journalists.
A proliferation of violent criminal gangs in the Central American country drove the number of all murders in 2017 to more than 28,000, the highest in records going back to 1997.
The spike in violence has battered the popularity of President Enrique Pena Nieto and contributed to support for leftist presidential hopeful Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who leads public opinion polls ahead of elections in July.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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