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San Diego journalists honor the memory of slain colleagues in Tijuana

San Diego and Tijuana journalists gather to honor three colleagues slain this month and condemn the murders of dozens of journalists in recent years.

Members of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) held a vigil outside the office of the Consulate General of Mexico in San Diego to honor the most recently murdered journalists in Mexico, two of them in Tijuana in separate attacks spanning days apart. 

“We want our colleagues in Tijuana to know that we are with them for whatever they need us in their search for justice and that they have our solidarity,” Andrea López Villafaña, president of the NAHJ in San Diego told Chula Vista Today.

The editor of Voice of San Diego explained that the vigil before the consulate sought "more than to protest, but to pressure authorities to clarify the murders" of the two journalists murdered in Tijuana and one more in the port of Veracruz.

Residents of San Diego County joined more than a hundred journalists who participated and covered the vigil, such as Melissa, the niece of photojournalist Margarito Martínez Esquivel, who was murdered on Jan. 17 when he left his home in Tijuana.

“My uncle was my hero with his camera work and his good humor,” Melissa said. “He liked bringing the family together.”

The young woman said that she did not study journalism, but "I studied criminal justice, and you cannot imagine how much I want to apply it in this case."

Margarito Martínez, a photojournalist expert in covering police matters, was shot to death as he left his home on Jan. 17; days later on Jan. 24, journalist Lourdes Maldonado was shot dead outside her home, both in Tijuana. On Jan.10, José Luis Gamboa, editor and news director, was stabbed to death in Veracruz.

“It's terrible to think that someone's life will be taken away for doing their job,” López Villafaña said.

Journalists in San Diego pledged to support their colleagues in their pursuit of justice. Sonia de Anda, from the YoSíSoyPeriodista organization from Tijuana, participated in the vigil and said that in Mexico, there are laws that protect journalists, but they are still not respected.

While these laws are enforced, "we are going to continue working, we are not going to leave Tijuana, and if working costs us our lives, here we are," de Anda said.