~ This column from Etcétera was published on 24 October 2014 ~
Fallacious and deceitful are the words that come to mind to describe the triumphalist chorus about “justice” for journalist Regina Martínez coming from the Veracruz State Prosecutor. Martínez was the Proceso magazine correspondent murdered in Xalapa on 28 April 2012.
This past Wednesday 22 October, Governor Duarte’s prosecutor, Luis Ángel Bravo Contreras held a press conference – as if it were the event of the year – to announce the re-arrest of Jorge Hernández Silva, also known as El Silva. He is the only person who has been charged in the journalist’s murder.
The Superior Court for the State of Veracruz freed El Silva some months ago. It freed him because Judge Edel Álvarez Peña of the Seventh Penal Court could not find the proof confirming his alleged responsibility in Regina Martínez’s murder. His confession had been extracted under torture. Fingerprints could not be found at the crime scene.
Regina’s family came under pressure from the State Government of Veracruz and appealed the judge’s decision. Months later Silva was ordered arrested again. In spite of the irregularities in the case against him, Silva must serve 38 years and two months, the sentence imposed by district judge Beatriz Rivera Hernández.
For her “good” decisions in this case the regime rewarded Beatriz Rivera with promotion. Governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa put her name forward for magistrate in the state judiciary. The State Legislature blithely confirmed the nomination this past 9 September.
The thing is that El Silva has always been within reach. After he was freed he was moved to Puebla where they had him working in the city’s municipal market, under the watchful eye of state authorities. His defense lawyer, Diana Coq Toscanini, knew about this arrangement.
His return to custody has been presented as a big win by the State Prosecutor and reveals only Governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa’s sleight of hand. It’s a media show to distract attention from things that worry the regime, like the public’s growing sense of insecurity. The timing of the re-arrest and El Silva’s presentation to the media were calculated.
What’s most outrageous and disheartening is the presentation of El Silva as the “murderer” of Regina Martínez. It’s just a rehash of the government’s first version of her murder, the only “investigative” line that they have ever wanted to follow: the journalist wasn’t killed because of her professional work, for her job informing people, but because “she got close to evildoers.”
Javier Duarte’s administration has tried by any means to close the case under this premise, even though there are clear indications that it was a politically motivated murder. If proof is needed, it’s enough to review Regina Martínez’s last stories published in Proceso.
Simulation, corruption and impunity course through Mexico’s entrails and are native to Veracruz. But in spite of it all, the truth will out in the end and those who are truly guilty of ending Regina Martínez’s life will be identified.
Time will tell.
Journalist Aurelio Contreras Moreno is based in Xalapa, Veracruz. You can follow him on Twitter @yeyocontreras. This article first appeared under the title, “Regina, la injusticia y la desesperanza” at Etcétera available at: http://www.etcetera.com.mx/articulo/regina,_la_injusticia_y_la_desesperanza/31192/.
Translator Patrick Timmons is a human rights investigator and journalist. He edits the Mexican Journalism Translation Project (MxJTP), a quality selection of Spanish-language journalism about Latin America rendered into English. Follow him on Twitter @patricktimmons. The MxJTP has a Facebook page: like it, here.