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Masked man threatens to kill national news presenter in Mexico

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By AP
Police are battling a pandemic of violence in Michoacan state, Mexico.
Police are battling a pandemic of violence in Michoacan state, Mexico.   -   Copyright  Marco Ugarte/AP

A masked man, claiming to represent Mexico’s most powerful drug cartel, has threatened on video to kill a national news presenter, over what he claims is unfair coverage.

The video circulated on Monday showed masked and heavily armed men surrounding a man seated at a small desk who delivered a message he said was from Ruben Oseguera Cervantes, aka “El Mencho,” the leader of the Jalisco New Generation cartel.

It was unclear if the person reading the message was Oseguera himself.

The message complained that Milenio Television, a national cable news channel associated with a major newspaper chain, was favoring so-called self-defense groups that are battling the Jalisco cartel in Michoacan state.

He singled out Mileno anchor Azucena Uresti, threatening to kill her and make her eat her words.

The man alleged that the vigilante groups were actually drug traffickers, the only organisations that could afford the armament those forces had at their disposal.

The message mentioned Hipolito Mora, who organised a self-defense force in Michoacan nearly a decade earlier, but who more recently has distanced himself from such groups, as well as Los Viagras, a criminal group operating in the state.

The Jalisco cartel representative said in the message that he did not want to inhibit freedom of expression, but just wanted the coverage to be even.

Milenio Television said in a statement late on Monday that Uresti had its total support, as did other journalists.

It demanded a rapid investigation that guaranteed Uresti's safety and denied that it had ever favored any group in its coverage.

Presidential spokesman Jesús Ramírez Cuevas said via Twitter that the Mexican government “will take the necessary measures to protect threatened journalists and news outlets.”

Threats against journalists are not empty talk in Mexico. The Committee to Protect Journalists considers Mexico the deadliest country in the Western Hemisphere for journalists.

The Jalisco cartel has also shown itself to have nearly unlimited reach within Mexico. In June 2020, cartel gunmen carried out a brazen attack in Mexico City that left the police chief seriously wounded and killed three others.