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Columnist reports having received death threats

(CEPET/IFEX) - María de los Ángeles González Hernández, a columnist for the "Política" newspaper and the online daily "Al calor político" ( http://www.alcalorpolitico.com ), reported that she has been receiving death threats which she believes are originating from local union leaders in Xalapa, Veracruz state, southern Mexico.

The journalist says that since 22 October 2009 she has received seven e-mail messages threatening her and her family. In one of the messages, she was able to determine that the sender was Román Hilario Pérez Sol, the deputy secretary general of the Sugar Industry Workers' Union (Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Industria Azucarera) Section 23, which is affiliated with the Workers' Confederation of Mexico (Confederación de Trabajadores de México, CTM).

González Hernández believes that the threats could be linked to a column that referred to a victory by independent workers from the El Potrero company, who managed to defeat the CTM union affiliate in a struggle involving the negotiation of a collective agreement.

"It's obvious that they are referring to this issue since in one of the e-mails sent to me they tell me not to go to El Potrero. My family lives in that area. They have also threatened to attack my daughter," González Hernández said.

Before the threats began, González Hernández, who specialises in issues relating to the sugar industry, had never been threatened or harassed for anything relating to her work.

The journalist has filed a complaint with the investigations unit of the state Public Prosecutor's Office. In the complaint she mentioned that she will hold Pérez Sol and Section 23 secretary general Modesto Trujillo Hernández responsable for any attack that might take place against her or her family.

González Hernández publicised the text of one of the threats in which the writer warns her to avoid travelling on the highways because they are dangerous and tells her not to go to El Potrero. The writer also says that she should avoid mentioning the names of individuals in her columns and that not only she, but also her family, will be affected if she continues to "involve herself in problems." Finally, the note says orders have been issued to ensure that she or someone from her family "is not allowed to continue living" if she "travels (to El Potrero)."

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