20 Sept 2019
On March 23, 2017 Miroslava Breach Velducea was shot dead while waiting to take her son to school. Over the past 10 years, at least 82 journalists have been killed in Mexico for exercising their profession.
She was a correspondent for the national newspaper La Jornada and the regional news website Norte de Ciudad Juárez. She covered corruption and crime. She exposed alleged links between politicians and the organized crime syndicate known as La Línea. She received threats for her work and in October 2016, and sought protection from the Federal Mechanism for Journalists and Human Rights Defenders. She was shot dead while she was investigating into politicians linked to drug syndicates.
Both local and federal authorities did not find the people behind the brutal murder. After local and international organizations like Article 19 and Reporters without Borders, appealed to the Mexican government one man was arrested. He was Ramon Andres Zabala, a 25-year-old pistolero, who was found dead in the same state of Sonora. It was alleged that he shot Miroslava. He was silenced by the bullet. They had another accomplice, Jaciel Vega Villa, who, according to the authorities, allegedly drove the shooter to the crime scene before fleeing.
Project Miroslava was started when a group of Mexican journalists calling themselves Colectivo 23 de Marzo investigated her murder. They joined forces with the France-based organization, Forbidden Stories, the investigative team at Bellingcat and the Latin-American Center for Investigative Reporting (CLIP).
Chihuahua State Prosecutor’s Office failed to look into the clues and evidence that was available. It never questioned the politicians suspected of being involved in drug smuggling.
The aim of Project Miroslava is to keep the story of Miroslava alive so that it will be warning to those who intend to commit crime against journalists.