Mexican Radio Host Shot Dead on the Air

Outside radio

Top Story — Mexican activist and radio host Atilano Roman Tirado was shot on-air during his weekly program Oct. 11 in the state of Sinaloa.

Two gunmen forced their way into the radio studio of Fiesta Mexicana where Tirado hosted his Saturday morning program “Así es mi Tierra.” Listeners of the program could hear a shot fired around 10:40 a.m. followed by a co-worker’s voice saying, “he killed him.” Programming on the station did not resume for another 30 minutes.

Besides his radio work Tirado, 47, also lead the Movimiento de Desplazados por la Presa Picachos (Displaced Persons of Picachos Movement), a group of 800 farming families whose lands were flooded during the construction of the Picachos dam in 2009.

The movement demanded authorities grant housing and public services as well as create fishing and tourism cooperatives to benefit the families affected by the flood.

Tirado was known to be critical of the Mexican government and militant in his activism.

He was also no stranger to violence and received death threats along with three other leaders of the Displaced Persons of Picachos Movement, according to a post on the movement’s blog from Sept. 23, 2010, the AP noted.

Though the movement had become less active in recent years, Tirado participated in protests both Thursday and Friday last week after he accused state organizations of granting commercial fishing licenses intended for members of his organization to outsiders.

Mario Lopez Valdez, the governor of Sinaloa state, said Tirado’s murder “would not go unpunished.” A lack of security cameras at the studio, however, may complicate any investigation.

Violence against members of the media is common in Mexico. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York based independent nonprofit, 75 journalists and media workers have been killed in Mexico since 1994, 93 percent of them Mexican nationals.

The nonprofit’s 2014 Impunity Index ranks Mexico seventh of 14 countries where murders of journalists are most likely to go unpunished.

Mexico is also ranked 152nd out of 180 countries on the 2014 World Press Freedom Index issued by Reporters Without Borders.

Earlier this month another politically active journalist, Margarito Gonzalez Juarez, survived an attack in the state of Zacatecas, when his home was shot at by unknown gunmen. That shooting is also still under investigation.

Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America

  • Mexican police accidentally shot and injured a German university student in the Guerrero state capital Chilpancingo, two weeks after a massacre in the separate Guerrero city of Iguala left six dead and 43 missing.
  • U.S. politicians are citing the alleged risk of undocumented immigrants carrying Ebola to argue the U.S. border should be sealed, even though health officials say the disease is unlikely to enter United States from Mexico, echoing calls for a border clampdown during the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, which originated in Mexico.
  • Revenues from tourism went up by 18 percent between January and August, reversing losses taken by the sector in recent years due to high crime levels.

Caribbean

  • The latest entry in The New York Times’ long tradition of editorials calling for an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba argues that recent economic reforms on the island make the country more receptive to diplomatic overtures.
  • Four Jamaican nationals were shot and killed Sunday after leaving the offices of a Chinese company which is working on a major highway project in the country.

Central America

  • Guatemalan health authorities are monitoring nearly 3000 suspected cases of the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus.
  • Two Honduran prosecutors were shot and killed in the city of San Pedro Sula, notorious for having the world’s highest homicide rate.
  • Panama’s finance minister has protested Colombia’s designation of the country as a “tax haven”, a move aimed at thwarting tax evasion by Colombian firms.

Andes

Southern Cone

  • Marina Silva, who placed third in Brazil’s first-round election announced her endorsement of opposition candidate Aécio Neves, who has edged past President Dilma Rousseff ahead of the Oct. 26 runoff.
  • Brazilian authorities announced the country’s first suspected case of Ebola on Friday, a 47-year-old Guinean man who entered the country on Sept. 19.
  • Violent protests against the treatment of indigenous groups marked celebrations of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas in Santiago, Chile.

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