Leobardo Vázquez Atzin

Leobardo Vázquez Atzin was a journalist who covered information about his city Gutiérrez Zamora (Veracruz,) general news and also police investigations, such as shootings and other criminal acts.

In addition, he was dedicated to bringing information about corruption to the public. He was shot and killed on the night of 21 March, 2018. Less than two weeks before the shooting, he announced that he had been threatened and presented evidence of the threat, which was received while he was investigating and publishing information about the invasion of an estate in Tecolutla, in which he documented the involvement of personnel from the Veracruz State Water Commission (CEAV,) the Associación de Colonos Ecologistas de Tecolutla (Association of Ecologists Settling in Tecolutla) and a local notary.

“This publication has nothing to hide or be ashamed of. Threats made in hiding – that’s what cowards do,” Vázquez Atzin wrote in Enlace Informativo Regional, the independent page on which he published his texts. His Facebook profile had also been hacked and Leobardo had to change its link. In another message said: “From the trench which social networks have become, I will continue disseminating information. I lament the intolerance of those who govern, but it does not discourage me.”

According to people who knew him, he began his career with Noreste newspaper and later became a reporter for La Opinión de Poza Rica. Blanca Estela, Leobardo’s sister, said in an interview with Notiver news that the family is living through a very painful time, because he was a good man dedicated to his family and his three small daughters. When she remembers her brother, she always thinks of Christmas Eve festivities: “He was a joker, and easy conversationalist, he always made us laugh. He was a good father and a hard worker.”

Blanca also tackled the misinformation that spread in the wake of Leobardo’s death, reaffirming that her brother was a journalist and had been so since age of 27. This contradicts the statement made by the state Attorney General’s Office, which describes the murder as taking place while Leobardo was working at a taco truck. She explained that Leobardo was not rich, and a reporter’s work is poorly paid, so he put a taco stand in the front yard to support his partner. In his spare time he worked the stand, thus providing the income needed to make ends meet. There are still bloodstains where the taco stand once was.

Leobardo’s murder has generated outrage in the community of reporters and communicators. His colleagues remember him as a hard-working man and committed journalist. After mourning for Leobardo at a Papantla funeral home, reporters and photographers demonstrated to demand that the State Attorney General’s Office not criminalize their colleague.


Based on reports by Aristegui News and Notiver

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Date of Killing:21/03/2018

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Journalist/communicator

Organisation:Enlace Informativo Regional

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:Civil and Political Rights

Sector Detail:Abuse of power/corruption

More information:Front Line Defenders

1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).