Fredy López Arévalo, Journalist, Murdered at his Home

Fredy López Arévalo was returning from a trip to Tuxtla when he was killed.
(Photo: Twitter/@LenynReportero)

On Thursday night, it was reported that Fredy López Arévalo, a journalist from Chiapas, was murdered while trying to enter his home in San Cristóbal de las Casas with his wife, Gabriela, and their children.

Initial reports from the Municipal Police indicate that the perpetrator was a hitman who approached the director of the “Jovel” site and shot him at the entrance to his home, located in the Las Rosas neighborhood.

The attack occurred around 7:45 p.m. when López Arévalo and his family were returning from a trip to the city of Tuxtla Gutiérrez. While he was taking some things out of his car to go into his house, near the municipal slaughterhouse, he was murdered.

Before the authorities arrived at the scene, the gunman fled on a motorcycle. Local and state agents began a search operation for possible escape routes.

Moments later, experts and agents of the Public Prosecutor’s Office (MP) arrived at the crime scene to begin the corresponding investigations, as well as the transfer of the body to the Forensic Medical Service (Semefo).

Municipal and state police initiated a search operation for the hitman that shot the journalist. (Photo: Twitter/@muralchiapas)

So far, the motive for the attack against the journalist is unknown, but state and municipal authorities are expected to update the case as they obtain information on the matter, as the State Attorney General’s Office (FGE) has opened an investigation against whoever is responsible.

“The State Attorney General’s Office laments this reprehensible act and reaffirms its commitment to continue with the investigations until the facts are clarified, to guarantee the rule of law and reiterates that no criminal conduct will go unpunished,” said the agency.

The last publication made by the journalist on his social networks was at 7:38 a.m. on October 28. In it he spoke about the dismissal of 200 workers at City Hall in  San Cristóbal de las Casas.

“MDO adjusts municipal payroll; 200 trusted employees are fired. City Hall in San Cristobal is already in arrears with labor lawsuits for more than 22 million pesos. More lawsuits are sure to follow. In the end, someone will have to pay these labor claims,” he tweeted.

Likewise, from his personal accounts, he shared publications in favor of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and his Fourth Transformation (4T), in addition to constant judgments against the state and federal opposition.

As soon as this information became known, various journalists and political figures began to send messages of solidarity to the family and condemnation of the crime committed against freedom of expression.

Such was the case of Senator Román Catañón, who wrote on his social networks: “I strongly condemn the bloody murder of Chiapas journalist Fredy Lopez Arévalo. I demand that the State Attorney General’s Office carry out all the necessary investigations to clarify this unfortunate and unjustified act. To his family, strength and solidarity in this difficult moment.”

Freddy López Arévalo created Revista Jovel, though his career was already many years behind him, as he worked for Panorama magazine, was a correspondent for Notimex and El Universal, the newspaper where he covered the first days of the armed uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN).

This crime was registered on the same day that the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) placed Mexico for the second consecutive year in sixth place on the list of countries where the justice system does not resolve cases of journalists’ murders.

It noted that as of August 31, 2021, there were documented “at least” three cases of journalist murders in Mexico “with absolute impunity” and another four in 2020,” a figure only surpassed by the cases of journalists murdered in Afghanistan,” the report said.

This article was published by the on October 29th, 2021. English translation by Schools for Chiapas.

Journalist Fredy López Arévalo Shot in San Cristóbal de las Casas

Reporter who had been an Central American correspondent and currently directed Jovel magazine, was attacked at the entrance of his home, accordign to the Attorney General of Chiapas.

By Beatriz Guillén

The black list of attacks on the press continues in Mexico. This Thursday, journalist Fredy López Arévalo was shot and killed in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. The attack took place at around eight o’clock in the evening outside the home of the reporter, who was returning home accompanied by his wife and children. The state Attorney General’s Office has confirmed the death of López Arévalo, who was a correspondent for El Financiero and El Universal in Central America and currently edited the magazine Jovel. This crime brings the number of journalists murdered in Mexico this year to nine.

López Arévalo and his family were returning Thursday from Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas, where they had celebrated the birthday of the journalist’s mother, as he had reported on his social networks. At the entrance to his home, in the Las Rosas neighborhood, a hitman shot the reporter, who died at the scene of the attack. The assailant fled on a motorcycle. “I strongly condemn the cowardly murder of journalist Fredy López Arévalo. No crime will go unpunished, investigations are ongoing. My solidarity with his family and friends,” the governor of Chiapas, Rutilio Escandón, wrote on his Twitter account.

With an extensive career behind him, the journalist was now working as the host of XERA-Radio Uno and directed the magazine Jovel, which was published in San Cristóbal de las Casas. He started in journalism at the age of 21 and soon moved to Mexico City as a reporter for several media, although he never lost contact with the information of his native state.

In 1989 was his first foray in a long list of coverage in Central America: he covered elections in Guatemala and Nicaragua, where he narrated the fall of the Sandinistas and the triumph of Violeta Chamorro. He lived for some years in San José, Costa Rica, where he was regional coordinator for the Mexican public news agency, Notimex, and for another period in Panama, for the magazine Panorama Internacional. In 1993 he was hired as correspondent for the newspaper El Universal in Central America, with official headquarters in Guatemala. Shortly after, he returned to Chiapas to cover the first moments of the uprising of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in 1994. He interviewed Major Mario, who was in charge of the Zapatista troops in the municipality of Ocosingo.

Used to traveling around Europe as a reporter, López Arévalo spent long periods on the other continent, although he always returned to Chiapas. From there he worked as a liaison for the Los Angeles Times, as a delegate for Notimex and also founded the Maya Press news agency, with bureaus in Spanish, English and French.

The reporter was writing a book he started while living in the United States: Marcel, almost a novel. “The story of a French idealist who left behind his bohemian life in Paris to venture into Chiapas in search of the legendary Subcomandante Marcos, political and military leader of the EZLN”, defined the journalist himself, “is an unfinished, latent project.”

Great voices of journalism this afternoon have grieved the murder of the renowned reporter, and demand justice for his case from the Attorney General’s Office. Mexico was named in 2020 as the most lethal country for the press, according to a report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) after the murder of eight journalists. So far this year, with the crime of López Arévalo, nine reporters have been murdered.

In May, Benjamín Morales Hernández, 50, founder of Noticias Xonoida, was kidnapped and murdered in northern Sonora. He had reported the threats. In mid-June, less than 24 hours apart and separated by more than 700 kilometers, Gustavo Sánchez (in Oaxaca) and Enrique García (in the State of Mexico) were added to this black list, which makes Mexico the most lethal country in which to report. A few days later the body of journalist Saúl Tijerina, 25, was found in Ciudad Acuña (Coahuila), who disappeared in the early morning of June 22 as he was leaving work in a factory.

Abraham Mendoza was murdered on 19 July when he was outside a gymnasium in Morelia (Michoacán). Mendoza had a radio program on EXA 91.5 and worked for the arts organization Artists Rights Foundation. That same week Ricardo López, director of the InfoGuaymas portal in Sonora, was shot dead in the parking lot of a supermarket. The journalist, who was 47 years old that day, had denounced in a press conference that he had received threats from organized crime this year. Jacinto Romero, broadcaster of Ori Stereo FM, was gunned down on August 19 in Veracruz while driving his car. The last was Manuel González in Cuernavaca at the end of September in front of a street food stand.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has highlighted the lack of support for journalists by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “He pledged to take concrete steps to end violence against the press and immunity for the murder of journalists. However, this cycle continues unabated,” the organization denounced in December, aware that in the vast majority of murder cases, “no defendants have been convicted and the masterminds remain free.” According to a report by the organization Article 19, every 13 hours there is an aggression against a media worker in the country.

This article was published in El País on October 29, 2021. English translation by Schools for Chiapas.

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