A Mexican journalist has been shot dead in the border city of Tijuana, becoming the second journalist to be killed with US-manufactured firearms in the region in less than a week.
Lourdes Mandonado, a seasoned journalist with decades of experience, was killed by a gunshot in her car in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Tijuana, the attorney general's office in Baja California said in a statement on Sunday.
The fatal attack on Mandonado came less than a week after local officials reported that Mexican photojournalist Margarito Martinez died after being shot in the head outside his home in Tijuana.
Between 2000 and 2021, human rights group Article 19 registered 145 murders of journalists in the North American country, with seven deaths reported last year.
This year, at least three journalists have been killed in the country so far.
According to media reports, Maldonado had been registered in the state's protection program for journalists, which included some police surveillance of her home.
The slain journalist was locked in a years-long labor dispute with Jaime Bonilla, former governor of Baja California. In 2019, she had asked President Andrés Manuel López Obrador for his support, help and labor justice, claiming that she “feared” for her life.
¿Qué pasa en #BajaCalifornia?— 𝔄𝔯𝔪𝔞𝔫𝔡𝔬 𝔑𝔦𝔢𝔟𝔩𝔞𝔰 (@ArmandoNieblas) January 24, 2022
Nos acaban de confirmar el asesinato de otra colega en #Tijuana. Se trata de la periodista Lourdes Maldonado.
Estaba bajo la protección del mecanismo federal y hace tiempo denunció que tenía por su vida.
Acá cuando pidió apoyo a @lopezobrador_. pic.twitter.com/IeBzi4GdZz
A veteran journalist, Maldonado was recently doing the internet, radio and television show called “Brebaje,” focused on local issues.
Reporters without Borders (RSF), an international body that works to safeguard the right to freedom of information, regularly ranks Mexico alongside war-torn countries such as Afghanistan as the world’s most dangerous places for journalists.
The US arms manufacturing companies in Mexico have been accused of fueling the murder and violence machine in the country, providing thousands of rifles and pistols annually for drug cartels and criminals.
Mexico says US manufacturers are negligent in their business practices by supplying a torrent of illegal arms to Mexican drug dealers, which have caused thousands of deaths.
It has accused the companies of helping to flout its strict gun laws by marketing to the country's criminal underworld, and thereby “actively facilitating the unlawful trafficking of their guns to drug cartels.”
It is worth noting that the US has had over 44,000 deaths from gunfire during President Joe Biden's first year of presidency, implying the worst gun violence in the world.
According to the latest data by the Gun Violence Archives (GVA), some 400 Americans were killed in gun violence only in the first four days of 2022.