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Reynosa mayor threatens "Reforma" newspaper journalist

(CEPET/IFEX) - Miguel Domínguez Gallegos, the "Reforma" newspaper correspondent in Reynosa, a city in Tamaulipas state, was verbally attacked by Francisco Javier García Cabeza de Vaca, the acting mayor of the city, which is located in Mexico's northeast. The incident took place during an 11 November 2007 event at which local members of the National Action Party (Partido Acción Nacional, PAN) protested the kidnapping of one of their candidates for city council in the 11 November elections held across the state.

"The mayor has been noted for his intolerance during his three-year period in power, and he is trying to suppress information that displeases him," the reporter told CEPET.

Domínguez Gallegos went to cover the PAN members' 11 November protest of the kidnapping of city council candidate Rodrigo Moreno Ricart by an armed commando, which occurred on the night of 9 November.

"The incident occurred amidst rising political tensions due to the elections that were held on Sunday (11 November)", said the reporter, adding that he was approaching García Cabeza de Vaca to interview him when the acting mayor sharply criticised him, using obscenities, asking why his media outlet did not publish the "whole truth" about Moreno Ricart's kidnapping.

"I responded that Grupo Reforma had in fact published the information," said Domínguez Gallegos. However, the acting mayor accused him, "Don't play dumb! Don't be an asshole! Publish the truth! Don't hide what's happening!"

Domínguez Gallegos also warns that the acting mayor made a veiled threat, telling him, "You'll see tomorrow; we're going to win (the elections) and you're going to see what's going to happen."

"Javier García Cabeza de Vaca treats Reynosa's journalists as if we were his executioners. We hope there won't be any reprisals taken, but we are expecting an attack from him. We are prepared if something should happen. We have created a common front and we are on the alert," said the correspondent, who indicated that although he had not filed a formal legal complaint this time, he would do so if the mayor behaved similarly again.

Domínguez Gallegos says that although this is the first time that García Cabeza de Vaca has acted this way with him, the acting mayor has been promoting censorship and the firing of journalists. "Other colleagues have been attacked and have attributed the attacks to the mayor," he said. As Grupo Reforma's correspondent, Domínguez Gallegos mainly covers political information, the police beat and public security matters.

The press has reported on the acting mayor's alleged ties with drug traffickers, his criminal record for stealing weapons, corruption, abuse of authority, illicit earnings, threats, embezzlement and mismanagement of municipal funds, as well as on the fact that he is implicated by the United States police in the trafficking of stolen vehicles.

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