SAN DIEGO – An emotional candlelight vigil was held Friday night in remembrance of two Tijuana journalists who were killed this month within a week of each other in Mexico.
The vigil, organized by the San Diego-Tijuana chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, came in memory of photojournalist Margarito Martínez and Lourdes Maldonado Lopez. Martínez, who spent more than a decade on the police beat in Tijuana, was gunned down Jan. 17 when a gunman walked up to his car and shot him through the driver’s side window.
Days later, journalist Lourdes Maldonado, the host of an internet radio and TV show called “Brebaje,” was shot and killed outside of her home in Tijuana despite having federal protections. Both murders are under investigation in Mexico.
The group also mourned the loss of Veracruz journalist Jose Luis Gamboa, who was stabbed to death Jan. 10.
Tijuana journalist Sonia De Anda made her way across the border to speak about Martínez and Maldonado. De Anda said Maldonado told her that she was happy to be under a program that was able to give her protection.
Tijuana police have not revealed why nobody was able to protect Maldonado when she was gunned down in front of her home. De Anda remarked that the government failed her and dozens of other journalists in the recent past who have been killed for exposing uncomfortable truths.
“The dangers that they face for just doing their jobs is just heartbreaking,” said Andrea Lopez-Villafana, managing editor at the Voice of San Diego and chapter president of NAHJ San Diego-Tijuana.
Using data from the Committee To Protect Journalists, The Associated Press reported Friday at least 32 journalists have been killed and 15 have disappeared since the current administration began Dec. 1, 2018. Since 2000, 148 Mexican journalists have been killed for exposing corruption and the truth.
The names of all 148 Mexican journalists were called out loud and had a candle representing them.