LatinNews Daily - 14 March 2022

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MEXICO: Tensions with EU rise over journalist killings

On 11 March, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador shared a letter he had penned to the European Parliament, in which he accused its members of “corruption, lies and hypocrisy” over concerns they had voiced around the treatment of journalists in Mexico.


López Obrador was responding to a resolution that European Parliament members (MEPs) backed on 10 March, which condemned the murders of media workers in Mexico and expressed concerns over López Obrador’s hostile rhetoric towards journalists. The comments come amid other signs of strain in bilateral ties with Europe, as López Obrador continues to criticise Spanish firms operating in Mexico and has mooted a “pause” in relations with Spain.

  • Speaking at his daily press conference, López Obrador read out the letter he had sent to the European Parliament, in which he accuses MEPs of being “very conservative” and having a “colonialist mentality”. He said Mexico was no longer “a land of conquest”, echoing comments he made when US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised concerns over the safety of Mexican journalists in February.
  • Backed by 607 votes in favour and only two against, the European Parliament resolution said that López Obrador used his daily press conferences “to denigrate and intimidate independent journalists” which “generates an atmosphere of relentless unrest towards independent media”. It noted at least 47 journalists had been killed since López Obrador took office in December 2018, with 95% of these cases going unpunished.
  • Eight Mexican media workers have been killed this year, although journalistic work is not believed to be the motive for at least two of these murders. Most recently, on 5 March, the journalist Juan Carlos Muñiz was killed in Fresnillo city, Zacatecas state. Muñiz had covered crime for local online news outlet Testigo Minero.
  • López Obrador also criticised the European Union’s response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying it had been unable to avoid war and that sanctions only “harm citizens” by causing a spike in prices of electricity and petrol.

Looking Ahead: Reactions to López Obrador’s comments are mounting. On 11 March, 19 Mexican NGOs and civil society organisations, including the local branch of international NGO Amnesty International, issued a statement saying they “regretted” the Mexican government’s response to the resolution. The NGOs said the response “weakens alliances and ignores the close cooperation that has been maintained for years with the institutions of the European Union”.

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