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Journalist warned of murder plot against him, allegedly organised by mayor

(CEPET/IFEX) - Ernesto de la Cueva Bello, reporter and editor of the cultural section for the state of Mexico edition of the daily newspaper "Milenio", announced in an open letter that he fears for his life after having been informed that the mayor of Metepec, Óscar González Yáñez, has ordered his murder.

De la Cueva told CEPET, "I have written nothing critical of Óscar González Yáñez, but I am the only employee of the newspaper whom he knows," and the newspaper has reported on alleged irregularities in the municipal administration.

The journalist added that the editorial desk of the newspaper received information from a reliable source that "the mayor is out for you and he has given orders to the chief of public security", Gerardo Castillo Bautista. The journalist confronted Castillo Bautista at a public event and told him: "I do not want to be walking around on eggshells, waiting for you to burst into my house some night."

In his open letter, De la Cueva states: "in response to a series of reports detailing irregularities at city hall in which the mayor of Metepec was implicated, the mayor has repeatedly expressed his displeasure and anger toward the newspaper for which I work."

On 22 August 2007, the former public security chief for Metepec, Prudencio Ramos Arzate, together with other former municipal officials, was charged with alleged abuse of authority and financial misdemeanors. Following this, members of the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN) requested an investigation into the mayor's conduct. "Milenio" and other media outlets reported regularly on these developments, provoking the ire of González Yánez.

De la Cueva clarified that he has not received any threats directly, but decided to make his situation public due to the "serious situation" faced by journalists in Mexico.

He added: "I hold the mayor personally responsible for anything that should befall me, my family or my property. I respectfully ask national and international human rights organisations to this as a complaint or evidence regarding anything that might happen to me or my family. The right to freedom of expression and to information is guaranteed by the Constitution and by other national and international instruments signed and ratified by the Mexican government."

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