Seven years without justice in Narvarte case

9 agosto, 2022

Rubén Espinosa's photo is placed in the same spot he stood and defended his murdered colleagues.

It has been seven years since the multiple homicide of five people in which journalist Rubén Espinosa and activist Nadia Vera were killed in México City. The investigation, in which the Veracruz Attorney General has refused to cooperate, depends on superficial information from México City’s AG.

Text and photo by Leticia Cruz, originally published by La Marea on July 31, 2022.

Translation by Dawn Marie Paley for Pie de Página in English.

Seven years have passed since the multiple homicide in which photojournalist Rubén Espinosa Becerril and activist Nadia Vera were killed, together with Mile Martin, Yesenia Quiroz, and Alejandra Negrete in México City’s Narvarte neighborhood. None of the eight lines of investigation opened by authorities into those responsible has been singled out as fact.

It’s the seventh year in which the pain, the powerlessness and the demand for justice continues to embrace family members, friends and compañeros of the five victims, who were murdered July 31, 2015.

For the seventh time, Rubén’s photo was placed among flowers, in exactly the same place where he, years earlier, put a plaque that read “Plaza Regina Martínez,” on the stairs of Lerdo Plaza in Xalapa.

Ruben wanted the plaza, in the heart of the capital city of Veracruz, to be named in Regina Martínez honor. She was a journalist who was killed in Xalapa in 2012.

The image of Rubén putting up that plaque and taking photos as part of his work as a journalist which are present every year, as his photo that is hung and surrounded by flowers and candles.

In April Regina’s photo is displayed, and in July, Rubén’s, here, in the most dangerous state to be a journalist in México.

On July 30, Rubén’s sister Patricia and Alma called for journalists, compañeras and compañeros, civil organizations and representatives of local collectives that he covered as a journalist, as well as representatives from Article 19, an organization that defends freedom of expression, to meet at the place where his photo is hung.

The meeting was called to make clear, once again, that Rubén and the other four victims of the multi-homicide haven’t been forgotten. And to demand truth and justice, yet again. Seven years after the crime, the Attorney General’s Office in México CIty hasn’t offered any clarity.

Rubén, like Nadia, lived in Xalapa. “They traveled the streets of this city so many times,” recalled those present, who held a peaceful march in the city.

Rubén left Xalapa for México City because he was afraid for his life, due to his work as an activist for the rights of journalists, and because of his demands for justice for the journalists killed in Veracruz during the administration of governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa, who is currently in prison.

That’s why his family, with the support of journalists from Veracruz and México, is demanding that his activism be investigated as a potential motive.

According to Article 19, which has provided ongoing support in the case, and which is the family’s legal representative, none of the eight potential lines of investigation have been exhausted by the AG.

In addition, Article 19 has noted that there are indications that there are at least five people involved in planning the multi-homicide, and not three, as the AG’s office claims.

“There are eight different hypotheses about what happened on that day, the 31st of July, 2015, that are meant to lead us to the person who planned it, or the people who did so; regardless, after seven years none of the eight lines of investigation have been exhausted. We’re just as we were on the first day, we’re doing the work to try and get the investigation moving forward for the first time,” said Edgardo Calderón from Article 19.

“A lot has been said about the victims, a lot has been said about what happened and what the motives were, but they are all presumptions, nothing has been proven, that’s why there is a demand that the Attorney General in México City work with the Attorney General in Veracruz, to determine if there are or enough elements to determine whether there are links between the multi-femicide and the homicide, with Rubén Espinosa’s journalism, or Nadia Vera’s activism, or not,” said Calderón. “Soon, the sentence for the third person who carried out the act will come down, but we know there were at least five people involved in the crime. After seven years, the authorities that are investigating still hadn’t realized that there weren’t three people that participated, there were at least five.”

“On their consciousness”

Alma Espinosa, Rubén’s brother, is still in mourning. Justice, she says, is a long way off.

“I hope the killers will never sleep soundly again, they have the deaths of five people on their consciousness, and the pain, and suffering and powerlessness that we feel, we hope they feel it even more and that they never again have peace in their lives,” she said, standing in the same place her brother demanded justice for others who were killed before him.

Alma said some words to her brother. “We want you to know that we will continue to seek justice, that we really miss you, and that we’ll never forget you.”

“There have been no important advances in the investigation and the authorities in Xalapa have made no effort to move the investigation forward; and my question is why,” said Patricia, Rubén’s sister.

Rubén’s sisters reiterated their demand for the Veracruz state and México City AGs to work together to move the case forward and discard lines of investigation, including by looking into the activities Rubén was active in in Veracruz.

This story was originally published by LA MAREA. Read the original here.

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