A journalist’s murder underscores growing danger in Mexico

From the Washington PostMEXICO CITY — The absence of editor Javier Valdez Cardenas is deeply felt at the weekly newspaper he co-founded, but his presence is everywhere.

A large photo of Valdez displaying his middle finger, with the word “Justice,” hangs on the facade of the Riodoce newspaper building in the Sinaloa state capital of Culiacan. Two reporters in their 30s, Aaron Ibarra and Miriam Ramirez, wear T-shirts that display his smiling, bespectacled face or his trademark Panama hat. The masthead of the paper still bears his name, and each issue has a blank space where his op-ed column should be.

Valdez was one of seven journalists in seven states killed this year for reporting on the mayhem wrought in Mexico by organized crime, corrupt officials and ceaseless drug wars. As bodies pile up across the country, more and more of them are journalists: at least 25 since President Enrique Pena Nieto took office in December 2012, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, and 589 are under federal protection after attacks and threats. …

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During the last several decades, the United States has invested billions of dollars in trying to help the governments of Latin America and the Caribbean deliver better lives for their citizens. This has meant helping them increase internal security by combating the illicit growing and trafficking in narcotics and the activities of terrorist groups, as well as helping them to shore up their democratic and free market institutions.

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